Have you ever experienced anxiety? Most of us have. Anxiety may be experienced right before a big performance in your school's annual talent show or when you send an important email to your boss. From the racing heart, to the sweating palms, to the feeling of adrenaline rushing through your veins, anxiety can really take a toll on both your mental and physical health. Anxiety is a way the body handles stress. If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, we are here to help you deal with it.
Anxiety is a way in which your body handles stress. There are a few symptoms you can watch out for in order to be able to tell when you are experiencing anxiety. They are:
A feeling of nervousness or restlessness. One main symptom of anxiety is feeling on edge with feelings of fear and worry. An example of these feelings are those nagging feelings you get before presenting a big speech in class or when preparing for an important job interview.
Feeling panicked. You may feel the way you would in risky situations like riding a rollercoaster or zip-lining, even if you are participating in a seemingly less risky activity, like turning in your final assignment.
Experiencing physical symptoms of stress and danger. This can include a racing heart, hyperventilating, headaches, weakness and fatigue, sweating, shaking, and stomach issues or nausea.
Struggling to focus on anything outside of your worries. When you are experiencing anxiety, your worries may become the only thing you find yourself thinking about. You may struggle to concentrate on anything outside of those worries.
Difficulty falling asleep. When you are experiencing anxiety, your mind is racing with your thoughts and worries. These racing thoughts will make it difficult to sleep.
While many of us experience anxiety at one point of our life or another, some people can experience a seemingly never ending cycle of anxiety that seems to worsen more and more as time goes on. When one is experiencing anxiety in this way, it can begin to take a toll on their relationships, daily activities, and overall quality of life. This is when one's anxiety can be considered an anxiety disorder. If you believe that you may be experiencing the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, reach out to a mental health professional. There are a couple of different types of anxiety disorders including:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder: a disorder that is characterised with chronic anxiety that occurs whether the person has a reason to feel anxious or not.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: an anxiety disorder that typically develops when a person experiences a traumatic life event.
Phobia- Related Anxiety Disorders: a fear based anxiety disorder. For example, this can include social anxiety, aerophobia, or claustrophobia.
Panic Disorder: an anxiety disorder that is characterised by seemingly random bouts of panic attacks that lead to physical symptoms such as heart palpitations and hyperventilating.
Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD): an anxiety disorder that is characterised by obsessions and/ or repulsions. For example, someone suffering from OCD may feel the need to wash their hands constantly or chew their food a certain number of times.
Anxiety is tough to deal with. While you should seek the help of a medical professional if your feelings of anxiety are effecting your everyday life or are lasting longer than two weeks, certain mild feelings of anxiety can be dealt with at home. Certain lifestyle changes and activities can help deal with mild anxiety, such as:
Getting some sleep. When you are lacking in sleep, worries will appear to your brain as bigger than they really are, meaning your brain will become more susceptible to anxiety.
Getting your daily exercise in. Exercise relieves tension in the muscles, increases anxiety-fighting hormones in your brain, and helps strengthen the mind's resilience.
Focusing on your breath. Taking deep, slow breaths sends a signal to our body to calm down, helping to relieve anxiety fuelled tension.
Letting go of perfection. When we put too much pressure on ourselves for everything to be perfect, anxiety tends to become a more regular occurrence.
Going with the flow. We cannot control everything. When you learn to accept this and roll with the punches, worries become less frequent.
Figuring out your triggers. Think about what occurred prior to you feeling anxious. Is there a pattern you are beginning to notice? Understanding your triggers is an essential part in helping you deal with anxiety.
Venting to a loved one. Sharing our problems and worries has been proven to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety.
Fuelling your body with nutritious meals. Keeping hydrated and eating nutritious and filling foods have many benefits to your mental health.
Watching your caffeine intake. Caffeine can make you feel jittery, leading to your body feeling similar to when you are in danger. This can trigger physical symptoms of anxiety.
Meditation. Meditation has many mental and physical health benefits, one of which is reducing anxiety. Mindfulness meditation allows you to be present in your body, finding tension, learning your thought patterns, and working through your emotions and feelings.
Limiting alcohol consumption and cigarettes. Alcohol can become a crutch when dealing with anxiety, possibly leading to an addiction. Meanwhile, cigarettes tend to increase heart rate and heighten blood pressure, which are physical symptoms of anxiety and can lead to more feelings of anxiety.
Anxiety is tough to deal with. From the physical symptoms to the mental health issues, it can really take a toll on anybody dealing with it. Know that you are not alone. If you are struggling with your anxiety or have been experiencing feelings of anxiety for more than two weeks, make sure to reach out to a mental health professional right away. They may be able to help you pinpoint what is causing the anxiety, help you work through it, and teach you methods of coping for future instances of anxiety.
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