Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health issue 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.
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 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 smooth 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 the youth, who were once considered carefree and easy-going, are now the most vulnerable to anxiety disorders.
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.
Knowing and Making Sense of Anxiety.
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. 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. Withdrawal Feeling
If you are avoiding an event, or task, trying to escape a situation, delaying a thing, pushing away, it is nothing, but you are anxious.
If performing any task seems daunting and you are messing uptime, something is making you anxious again. You are not able to concentrate on anything or think anything else apart from what is bothering you.
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.
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.
6. Feeling Distressed
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.
7. Unexplained Anger or Irritability
Sometimes you experience irrational anger for no reason, or you are getting irritated on the smallest of things, then in hindsight, you were actually getting anxious about something.
Few Physical Signs That Help to Make Sense of Anxiety.
1. Developing Headache
One of the signs of severe anxiety is headaches like migraines.
2. Rapid Heartbeat
Your heart starts beating faster when fear makes you anxious.
3. 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.
4. 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. “
5 Types of Anxiety Disorders
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
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.
2. Social Anxiety
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.
3. Specific Phobias
Being afraid or nervous of specific things or situations like fear of height 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. 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.
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.
Other Conditions Affected by Anxiety
1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [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.
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.
Some Natural Ways to Cope with Anxiety
1. Staying Active
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.
2. No Alcohol
Alcohol does relieve you of anxiety initially; however, you may bounce back feeling more anxious later. So avoid alcohol.
3. Sound Sleep
Good Sleep is paramount for good physical and mental health. To inculcate good sleeping habits.
4. Healthy Food
Like sleep, healthy food is again extremely important. Stay hydrated and consume fresh fruits and home-cooked meals.
Smokers first reach out to a cigarette in stressful times; however, just like alcohol, it may only worsen anxiety later.
Meditation helps give direction to all the chaotic thoughts in your mind. Begin with writing down your worries in a journal.
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.
Treatments for Anxiety Disorders
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT]
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.
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.
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Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.