Data from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America reveals that anxiety disorders top the list of the most common mental illnesses in America, with about 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Even though this issue is highly treatable, only a few seek proper treatment. So if you or your loved ones are experiencing any form of anxiety or stress, it’s important that to talk to someone – be it your friends, family, or a doctor. Here we will discuss everything you need to know about anxiety and learning how to cope with anxiety on a daily basis.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a common human reaction that corresponds to a psychological disorder. It’s usually characterized by fear, especially when anticipating danger. It’s pretty normal to feel anxious at some point in our lives. However, it can be a cause of concern if it becomes chronic. Generalized or chronic anxiety occurs when stress or fear persists and becomes a part of your life. A persistent feeling of insecurity and worry may interfere with your everyday activities. This type of anxiety is usually triggered by regular events, such as problems at work and home that become stressful.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Identifying nervousness and how it manifests in your body may not be easy, but it is essential for understanding how to overcome anxiety. Some people describe it as feeling butterflies in their stomachs. Others may clench their jaws, have nightmares, goosebumps, or bite their fingernails. The symptoms of anxiety disorder may vary from one person to another. However, some of the most common are;
- Impulsive behavior
- Difficulty concentrating
- A decline in intellectual performance
- Inability to plan or have goals
- Irrational fear
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the body
- Digestion problems
Over time, you may start to avoid places you perceive as dangerous or develop certain habits or activities that could worsen the situation. Be aware of these anxiety symptoms and share them with your loved ones so that they can help you learn how to cope with anxiety.
How To Overcome Anxiety
Before resorting to conventional treatments, there are many things you can do to help you overcome anxiety.
Some people get into the habit of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or drug abuse with the hope of overcoming anxiety. However, these may only provide temporary relief as anxiety could rebound once the substance wears off. Additionally, these sources of relief typically only do more harm than good. You should quit smoking and drinking alcohol and also be aware of other stimulants like coffee or energy drinks. If you’re unable to quit, consider finding a support group that may help you.
Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and incorporating workouts into your everyday routine. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. You can start slowly at home by watching workout videos or joining a local gym. You can also start by taking short walks around the neighborhood in your free time. Overtime, you can increase the intensity of your workout activities to increase the benefits that come with it.
Relaxation and Stress Management Techniques
When you start to feeling anxiety rearing its ugly head, it’s important to identify the anxious thoughts so you can then start to calm them. This is a common stress management technique called mindfulness, which involves being aware of your emotions, thoughts, and sensations.
Yoga is also an example of a relaxation technique that can help ease anxiety.
Taking a vacation to a retreat center such as Beckley Retreats or somewhere near you can be an excellent escape, especially when everything around you is overwhelming. In a retreat, you’re likely to find a support group that can walk you through meditation classes and encourage you through your recovery journey. It’s also a great opportunity to adopt a healthy diet that enables your body to stay fully nourished. By connecting to nature, your mind will wander around and forget the things causing anxiety.
A lack of sleep is a major cause of anxiety that can interfere with your daily activities and relationships. It’s essential to get enough sleep for your body and mind to feel rested. Some habits can improve your sleep health, such as:
- Creating and following a consistent sleep schedule
- Ensuring your bedroom is quiet, has a comfortable temperature, and is dark to boost sleep
- Removing all electronic gadgets from your bedroom, including smartphones, television, and computers
- Avoiding caffeine, large meals, and alcohol consumption before bedtime
Improve Your Social Life
If you have an anxiety disorder, being alone can worsen the symptoms. Unfortunately, one of the first things we tend to do is retreat and isolate ourselves. However, being social can improve stress levels in many ways. Firstly, it can trigger hormones that reduce anxiety and boost confidence so that you can cope with anxiety and the things that trigger it. Also, spending time with others releases energy from your body, strengthens your purpose in life, and allows you to connect, share and let go of your worries.
Seek Medical Help
If your anxiety symptoms worsen, contact a physician who can conduct comprehensive tests and recommend appropriate treatment for your anxiety. While medication is not a cure for anxiety disorder, it can help relieve the symptoms you’re experiencing. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medication, including beta-blockers, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines.
These medications can take a while before you start noticing the results. So be sure to trust the process and complete your dosage before deciding if they’re for you. It’s also a trial and error process. Some medications may work for certain people and not for others, and vice versa. Stick with it and continue with your follow-up visits, where your doctor will monitor your progress and recommend a different treatment if needed.
Medications for anxiety can help relieve your symptoms, improve sleep, aid with relaxation, and lower your stress hormones (cortisol) while increasing your calming hormones (serotonin). However, it’s important to combine medication with healing and wellness modalities, so you can fully heal and learn how to cope with anxiety at the core. Therapy is an excellent option and it has proven to be effective in combating different types of anxiety disorders.
During therapy, your therapist will ask you about your fears and assess the situations that trigger your anxiety. This allows the therapist to develop a tailored solution and plan for overcoming anxiety, based on your individual needs.
From mild anxiety to complex situations, a multi-faceted approach can help fight off the symptoms and improve your quality of life. The ultimate goal is to eliminate stress, worry, and anxiety so you can enjoy a more serene life. You should seek help early on, before things start to get out of hand. Your anxiety may also be temporary and could eventually subside on its own. However, do seek help from a healthcare professional if you need assistance taking charge of your mental well-being and learning how to cope with anxiety.