Simple Tips for Making Sense of Anxiety and Living Through It

Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health issue1 globally, and almost 1 in 14 are affected globally. Women are more like to get affected than men by anxiety disorders. That’s exactly why making sense of anxiety is imperative.

1. What are Anxiety Disorders and Making Sense of  Anxiety                                     

Being anxious in a stressful situation is nothing but a natural way of responding. What do you mean by making sense of anxiety? To put it simply, it is a feeling of being worried, scared, restless, and nervous.

Feeling anxious depends on what situation is challenging for you. For some, it may be completing an important project, for some having a good table spread for guests, for some a milestone exam or interview, or for some even striking up a conversation for the first time. Someone’s presence may be so intimidating that you might feel anxious to be around that person or talk.

Some people feel anxious if everything is going smoothly in their life as they are so used to struggling and handling difficult situations that when everything is fine, they can’t absorb it and start feeling anxious. Some begin to feel anxious about everything under the sun. Now, how do you function properly in daily life if you are always anxious? 

In today’s world, children and youth, who were once considered carefree and easy-going, are now the most vulnerable to anxiety disorders.2

It is not difficult to know that you feel anxious, but it is difficult to figure out where it stems from. To effectively cope with anxiety, we need to nail the exact trigger for the same.

2. Making Sense of Anxiety

2.1. Body Cues 

Take cues from your body movements. Anxiety is not what is happening in your head, but it is also about what is happening to your body. Sweating, and breathing rapidly are some signs of increasing levels of anxiety.3 Some have headaches, stiff bodies, or even fidgeting are signs of becoming anxious. Notice these changes in your body. They are the alarm system.

2.2. Withdrawal Feeling

 If you are avoiding an event, or task, trying to escape a situation, delaying a thing, or pushing away, it is nothing, but you are anxious.

2.3. Performing

uday mittal bwKtz4YVtmA unsplash 1 scaled
Photo by Uday Mittal on Unsplash

 If performing any task seems daunting and you are messing up uptime, something is making you anxious again. You are not able to concentrate on anything or think of anything else apart from what is bothering you.

2.4. Hot Flashes

 A sudden feeling of warmth in the body leading to sweating sometimes would mean nothing but anxiety. This primarily occurs in panic attacks.

2.5. Difficulty Sleeping

 No matter how tired you have been throughout the day, falling asleep feels difficult. You are twisting & turning in bed; suddenly, you might feel breathless. Then, there is something that happened during the day that keeps you up and makes you anxious.

2.6. Feeling Distressed 

tonik U0wwiY6nRGA unsplash scaled
Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

Something is generally keeping you unhappy, like losing a job, not having enough space in a relationship, some toxic relationships, and you probably are in a place which you don’t like, others’ opinion about you, or just being unable to do what you want to do in life. 

2.7. Unexplained Anger or Irritability

Sometimes you experience irrational anger for no reason, or you are getting irritated by the smallest of things, then in hindsight, you were actually getting anxious about something.

3. Few Physical Signs 

  • Developing Headache

 One of the signs of severe anxiety is headaches like migraines.

  • Rapid Heartbeat

 Your heart starts beating faster when fear makes you anxious. 

m t elgassier cugryvziO M unsplash 2 scaled
Photo by M.T ElGassier on Unsplash
  • Muscle Stiffness 

You tend to tighten and make your body stiff when you begin to feel anxious about something like an exam or just taking an injection. 

  • Moving Restlessly

 You feel like you have brain fog, and you keep moving restlessly.

Once you know the signs of anxiety, you can relate them to what is happening to you, and though you may be feeling miserable, you are at least making sense of anxiety. Dr. Gordon Neufeld said, “We cannot treat something that we do not understand; making sense of anxiety is foundational to its cure. “

 4. Types of Anxiety Disorders

4.1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

nik MrqlyH6J8Yw unsplash scaled
Photo by Nik on Unsplash

You tend to feel anxious about daily life events which interfere with your day-to-day activities. It’s basically excessive worrying that’s difficult to control. You keep thinking about different activities/events that will occur in the future on how they may turn out. 

4.2. Social Anxiety

solen feyissa w3sAsX4G8G8 unsplash scaled
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

 It refers to the apprehension of being humiliated, embarrassed, or criticized in situations like a stage performance, or public speaking. Too many people around can tend to be a hounding experience. People suffering from social anxiety try to avoid such situations.

4.3. Specific Phobias

 Being afraid or nervous of specific things or situations like fear of heights or fear of the dark, or fear of traveling in an airplane comes under specific phobias of anxiety. This means you experience anxiety only under these specific circumstances.

4.4. Panic Disorder

In this type of anxiety, you get panic attacks suddenly. You tend to experience certain physical symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, trembling, sweating, and breathlessness. Within no time, that intense fear or discomfort is at its peak when you have panic disorder.

4.5. Separation Anxiety Disorder

This is primarily found in young children. Some kids may begin to feel anxious when they separate from their parents. This may happen as they don’t feel secure in the absence of their parents and may begin to panic and worry. But this may also develop in adults. Homemakers whose lives revolve around family and children may develop this when children are all grown up and leave home for further studies or work.

5. Other Conditions Affected by Anxiety    

5.1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [OCD]

What is OCD?

These are repetitive thoughts that urge you to behave in a certain way or perform certain actions repeatedly, such as washing hands constantly or cleaning activities and the need to keep things in a certain way.

5.2. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]

 When you experience a stressful event, like losing a loved one, a terrifying accident, disaster, or assault, you repeatedly relive those events. You are unable to cope with them due to which you cannot relax or sleep or focus on anything.

Reading and processing this information can be overwhelming and rather make you more anxious than you already are. So let’s now see how to rise above these feelings.

Anxiety can be treated with few lifestyle changes, and extreme cases may require medications.

6. Some Natural Ways to Cope with Anxiety

6.1. Staying Active

peter conlan LEgwEaBVGMo unsplash scaled
Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash

 Exercising daily and keeping yourself occupied with constructive things really works well to ease anxiety. Most of the time, you begin to feel anxious because you want to do many things in your head, whereas you do nothing. So take small steps toward your wish list.

6.2. No Alcohol

Alcohol does relieve you of anxiety initially; however, you may bounce back feeling more anxious later. So avoid alcohol.

6.3. Sound Sleep

Good Sleep is paramount for good physical and mental health. To inculcate good sleeping habits.

6.4. Healthy Food

dan gold 4 jhDO54BYg unsplash 2 scaled
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Like sleep, healthy food is again extremely important. Stay hydrated and consume fresh fruits and home-cooked meals.

6.5.No Smoking

Smokers first reach out to a cigarette in stressful times; however, just like alcohol, it may only worsen anxiety later.

6.6. Meditation

Meditation helps give direction to all the chaotic thoughts in your mind. Begin with writing down your worries in a journal.

6.7. No Caffeine

Caffeine is extremely harmful if you have a panic disorder as it may give you panic attacks. Caffeine also disrupts sleep. So ditching caffeine may significantly help in eliminating anxiety.

These lifestyle changes help you to have a positive approach to life and make you feel better. The above remedies definitely help ease anxiety, but it is best to take professional help and advice in severe cases. 

7. Treatments for Anxiety Disorders

7.1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT]

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

It’s a therapy used to treat anxiety disorders. It guides you on how to behave in a certain situation and different ways of thinking. It teaches you to have a different approach to a situation.

7.2. Medicines

 Anti-anxiety medicines and anti-depressants are used to treat anxiety; however, this should be done by doctors. 

Making sense of anxiety can lead you to take appropriate action. Effective treatment along with self-help can help people lead an absolutely normal life. Don’t hesitate to seek help and talk about anxiety. Do not let anxiety overpower your life. Intervention at the right time may go a long way in treating anxiety.

Remember, the first step towards recovering is making sense of anxiety and accepting it. Embrace your feelings and help yourself overcome them. It is really never too late for anything. So stop surviving and enjoy living.

8. Conclusion

Anxiety is a natural and common human emotion that serves as a response to perceived threats or challenges. It is a normal part of life and can even be helpful in certain situations as it helps us stay alert and focused. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming or starts interfering with daily life, it may be considered an anxiety disorder and requires attention.

Anxiety can be triggered by various factors, including stress, trauma, genetics, brain chemistry, or environmental factors. It is essential to recognize that anxiety is not a sign of weakness, but rather a complex interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors.

 Common symptoms of anxiety include excessive worry, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, sleep disturbances, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and irritability. Various strategies can help manage anxiety, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation techniques, mindfulness, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional.

 Anxiety, like any mental health condition, can carry a stigma in some societies. It is essential to promote understanding, empathy, and support for individuals experiencing anxiety or any other mental health challenges.

Remember, anxiety is a treatable condition, and seeking help in making sense of anxiety, not weakness. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for guidance and support.


1. Are there any natural remedies for anxiety?

A. Some people find relief from anxiety symptoms through natural remedies such as herbal supplements (like valerian root or chamomile), practicing yoga or meditation, aromatherapy, and spending time in nature. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any natural remedies, as they may not be suitable for everyone.

2. Can children and teenagers experience anxiety?

A. Yes, anxiety is not limited to adults. Children and teenagers can also experience anxiety disorders, and it’s crucial to recognize and address their emotional needs to support their well-being.

3. How can I manage my anxiety on a daily basis?

A. There are several coping strategies you can use to make sense of anxiety, including deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and seeking social support.

Read more

  1. Kelley, Susan DM. “Prevalent mental health disorders in the aging population: Issues of comorbidity and functional disability.” Journal of Rehabilitation 69.2 (2003): 19. ↩︎
  2. Kessler, Ronald C., et al. “Epidemiology of anxiety disorders.” Behavioral neurobiology of anxiety and its treatment (2010): 21-35. ↩︎
  3. Adwas, Almokhtar A., J. M. Jbireal, and Azab Elsayed Azab. “Anxiety: Insights into signs, symptoms, etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment.” East African Scholars Journal of Medical Sciences 2.10 (2019): 580-591. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *