Let’s begin by saying that anxiety is a normal feeling, it is your body’s natural response to stress, and feeling anxious or restless from time to time means you’re healthy and your brain functions are in good shape. Like with every feeling, it becomes a problem the minute it becomes too extreme. Feeling anxious for no particular reason, prolonged feelings of stress and its effects can be damaging to both your physical and mental health. In this article, we will discuss what is anxiety, the difference between short term and prolonged anxiety symptoms, general anxiety disorder, and ways to attain both short and long-term anxiety relief.
General anxiety disorder
General anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder that involves feelings of fear, dread, unease, increased heart rate, digestive issues, muscular tension, restlessness, insomnia, fatigue and problems concentrating. This common form of inner turmoil can affect anyone regardless of age and/or social status.
Worry and fear are normal responses to stressful situations in life such as worry about your own or your loved one’s health, financial trouble, upcoming test, and various stressful situations. The difference between “normal” worry and anxiety is that normal worry usually lasts a short amount of time and anxiety is excessive, long-term, intrusive, and disruptive to your daily routine. Let’s dive into a few examples of normal worry and fear as well as anxiety and its different disorders.
Normal worry is
- Short term
- Limited to a specific concern or problem
- Doesn’t cause significant distress
- It is manageable
- Doesn’t interfere with daily activities.
Generalized anxiety disorder involves
- Uncontrollable fear and worry
- Intrusive thoughts
- Inability to relax
- Disruption in everyday responsibilities and activities
- Extremely upsetting feelings of dread
- Panic attacks
- Anticipating worse case scenarios regarding all sorts of situations
- Prolonged fear and anxiety (usually more than a few months)
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that can cause significant distress and a general feeling of dis-ease. Here we will discuss several types of anxiety disorders and their most common symptoms.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder repeated and specific behaviors and obsessions which include excessive double-checking of locks and switches or counting, tapping, or other repetitive behaviors.
Phobia is an extreme and irrational fear of certain situations, objects, people, and places and it is usually connected to something specific, unlike general anxiety disorder.
Panic disorder is a short-term, sudden onset of extreme anxiety and panic that involves sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and a feeling that something horrible is going to happen.
Social anxiety or social phobia is an overwhelming fear of various social situations and interactions such as meetings, parties, public speaking, eye contact, dating, or talking to strangers
Separation anxiety is an excessive feeling of distress when being away from home or loved ones. It usually starts in early childhood but is prevalent in adults as well.
Illness anxiety disorder (formerly known as hypochondriasis) is a persistent and excessive worry about your health and it involves excessive attention to health, interpreting anything that happens in the body as a sign of illness or an overwhelming worry that you may become seriously ill.
PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is usually triggered by a trauma or a terrifying event and symptoms include prolonged anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty coping and uncontrollable thoughts.
Anxiety relief methods
There are a lot of treatment options and natural remedies that may help with anxiety and we will discuss a few of them, although we strongly suggest you speak to your doctor or seek therapy such as talking to a psychiatrist, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), behavioral stress management. Read on to learn more about self-help methods and techniques that can help you significantly improve your mental well-being.
Learn stress management and relaxation techniques
Learning stress management is an essential part of dealing with anxiety. Although there are various ways and techniques there is no one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to learn what works for you.
Meditation is a universal and very effective way of learning how to watch your thoughts without attaching to them. There are a lot of guided meditations on Youtube, Spotify or any other streaming service available.
Another great way to relax is doing breathwork or pranayama. Focusing on your breath can significantly lower your cortisol levels, as you’re basically tricking your brain into relaxing by taking slow and deep breaths.
Build a strong support system
Having a group of trusted family members and/or friends is crucial when it comes to your overall mental health. Having even just one friend that is your “ride or die” can be a game-changer in your journey towards mental well-being and endurance.
Getting to know yourself is maybe the single most important thing when dealing with anxiety as anxiety in and off itself is about control (or feeling its lack thereof), therefore getting to know yourself, especially your shadow and your triggers can significantly improve your mental health.
They say that when you’re dealing with intrusive thoughts, you should move your attention to your body, instead of trying to remove intrusive thoughts by more thinking and (over)analyzing. Moving your body in any way you see fit (no pun intended) is a great way to lower your anxiety and improve your overall mood and outlook on life.
I cannot stress this enough – good and nutritious food is extra important when dealing with anxiety as the body is under immense stress and bombarding it with junk food cannot bring anything good. Plant based food full of nutritious veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and probiotics can significantly lower your stress levels.
Natural anxiety supplements
There are a few supplements that have worked wonders for many people with anxiety disorders. They are not meant to treat mental disease but they can significantly lower stress levels and boost energy and mood.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Ashwagandha Root – hands down one of the best supplements for anxiety relief. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb meaning it has the ability to help your body combat stress in a more efficient manner.
Adrenal Health Daily Support – bestselling supplement for lowering stress, improving energy levels by optimizing adrenal gland function
Limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine intake
Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can seem like a could idea when you’re feeling stressed out but long term, they can do more damage than good. Having a healthy body truly is the single most important thing when it comes to having a healthy mind. Take good care of yourself, pamper yourself and love yourself daily. Life’s too short to not be good to yourself.
Get professional help
Getting professional help and talking to a therapist, can be life-changing. Talking to a professional can give you some valuable insight regarding your anxiety as well as who you are as a person, what your fears and triggers are and where they come from. Life is all about perspective and getting that different perspective from someone who is trained to deal with matters such as anxiety disorder can be a game-changer.
Being anxious for prolonged periods of time can severely damage your mental and physical health as well as your social life and financial situation. A lot of people suffer from anxiety and it is not a condition that you should be ashamed of. Getting professional help and taking good care of yourself can save your life and help you deal with stressful situations and intrusive thoughts in an efficient and loving manner. We would love to know your thoughts and reflections on anxiety, therefore if you feel like sharing leave a comment down below.