It is estimated that almost one-fifth of adults in the USA suffer from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is the most common mental illness. Fortunately, it is highly treatable, and there are practical steps you can take to ease the symptoms.
What Is Anxiety? Anxiety is an umbrella phrase that we use to describe feelings of unease, fear, and worry. It is part of our flight or flight response and is a perfectly natural reaction. Without it, our life could be in danger as we would not be able to perceive danger. However, it can become a problem if it begins to limit your life in some way. Common symptoms include:
- Feelings of intense fear and panic
- A general sense of unease
- A feeling of foreboding
- Problems sleeping
- Heart palpitations
- Dry mouth
- Feeling on edge or not being able to sit still
- Headaches and other aches and pains
- Tense muscles
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy
- Panic attacks
How To Tackle Anxiety:
- Seek Help: If you feel that you’re suffering from anxiety, the first step is to seek professional help. Your doctor can refer you to a psychologist or therapist. Alternatively, you can approach a therapist directly. Psychologists help to identify the underlying problems and take steps to fix them. Always seek professional help if you’re unsure or if you feel like you can’t deal with an issue yourself. If you have feelings of suicide or self-harm then emergency help should be sought immediately. Anxiety by its nature can feel insurmountable. However, it is highly treatable, and you will feel better again.
- Identify The Triggers: If you’re feeling anxious a lot of the time, try to identify the triggers. When the feelings arise, notice what is happening in your life. Are you at work? Are you with a particular person? Is it the situation that is stressful? Try to identify the feeling and work out what your fear is. It might not be practical to remove yourself completely from that situation. But you can change the way that you react and think about it. This is something that a therapist can help with.
- Take A Break: It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re overwhelmed by anxiety. Your mind becomes cluttered with thoughts and feelings. Try to take a break from the situation. Step outside for fifteen minutes and try to clear your head. Take some deep breaths and than try to better assess the situation.
- Imagine The Worst: It sounds counterproductive but sometimes imagining the worst-case scenario helps. If you can imagine the worst and figure out how to deal with it, it can take away some of the fear of all of the “what ifs?” in your life.
- Don’t Mask It: When we’re feeling constant fear and worry, it’s natural to turn to a quick fix. This may be smoking, drinking, taking drugs, etc. Though you may feel a short release from the problem, you’re only masking it. Your anxiety won’t go away. It will only come back again later and you’ll have additional problems to deal with.
- Take Care Of Yourself: Find ways to take care of yourself. This could be doing something you really love or getting a massage. It could be as simple as taking time out to read a magazine. Whatever works for you, practice it often. Though it won’t necessarily resolve the problem, it will help you feel more at ease. Research has shown that meditation and yoga can also help anxiety.
Identifying that you suffer from anxiety is the first step. Noticing and being aware of this is part of the process of feeling better. Though we can’t remove our fight or flight response, we can develop strategies to deal with the unwanted effects.
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