Understanding Anxiety and Dealing with It Effectively
Updated: Oct 20
Anxiety comes out of the blue. Your whole body becomes unsettled. Your mind starts racing towards images of a looming disaster. The feeling has no apparent reason. What is more, you cannot seem to soothe it until it dwindles on its own. Does this mean you have an anxiety disorder?
This article will help you recognize anxiety symptoms. You will understand where they might be coming from. We also give you a few tips on how to cope with anxiety in a healthy way.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety, albeit unpleasant, is a natural feeling. It is designed to warn us about danger. So, we all experience it from time to time. It is normal to feel anxious when you are about to go on a date or speak in front of the public, for example.
However, an anxiety disorder is different. It is overwhelming and hard to control. There is usually no clear trigger for the surge of anxiety. And when there is one, the response is disproportionate to the stressful situation.
In 2020, roughly 13% (approximately 17% of women and 10% of men) of the Canadian adult population was affected by generalized anxiety disorder. Worldwide, anxiety is the most common mental health disturbance.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
· Experiencing excessive, difficult-to-regulate worry
· Feeling on edge and restless
· Getting tired easily
· Difficulties focusing
· Muscle tension
· Sleep disturbances
· Sweating, palpitations, hyperventilation, nausea, tingling of hands or feet
These are emblematic generalized anxiety disorder symptoms. But there are also atypical or less common signs.
Perfectionism could be one of them.
Research also revealed that anxiety sometimes makes you prone to codependent relationships.
A range of unusual bodily sensations and physical symptoms could also reveal that you might be experiencing anxiety. Think about indigestion, ringing in the ears, yawning excessively, trembling, difficulties swallowing, blurred vision, burning sensation, baffling aches, or rashes.
What Causes Anxiety?
There is not a single answer to this question. A range of factors likely intertwines to make someone vulnerable to an anxiety disorder.
Some anxiety symptoms — such as being unable to regulate the emotional response to a stressor — have a strong neurological basis. Childhood trauma, according to research, might also be a risk factor for later anxiety disorder. Also, certain personality traits (in particular, high neuroticism and low extraversion) could predispose a person to anxiety. The same goes for some personality disorders (namely avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders).
How to Deal with Anxiety?
Whichever the cause, dealing with anxiety may feel disheartening at times. However, it is a highly treatable issue. Here are some tips on how to cope with anxiety:
· Let others know what you are going through. Those affected by anxiety often say that they do not feel understood. Your worry may be unclear, making it difficult to explain what you are going through. Still, try to talk to those close to you. Tell them what triggers your anxiety attacks. Explain what they can do to help or, at least, not make things worse. Having social support can make a huge difference in how you cope with anxiety on a day-to-day basis.
· Step away from unhelpful thinking patterns. Cognitive distortions, such as catastrophizing, are trademarks of anxiety. Suppose you are amid a burst of excessive worry. Trying to analyze things might backfire. Your mind will likely rush back to the worst-case scenarios. You might believe they are bound to happen even when they are irrational predictions. Instead of trying to “be reasonable about it”, give your mind a chance to relax. Go for a walk, exercise, or take a swim — and let your thoughts settle down.
· Meditate. Another effective way of dealing with anxiety is meditation, especially mindfulness meditation. A recent review revealed that meditative practices decrease anxiety levels. Regular meditation helps you to develop a better grip on anxiety symptoms.
· Consult a psychiatrist on whether you need medication. Most commonly, anti-depressants, anxiolytics, or beta-blockers are prescribed.
· Reach out to a dedicated team of psychotherapists at The Wise Self Psychotherapy Clinic. According to research, cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used approach to treating anxiety spectrum disorders. Our group utilizes CBT and a range of other evidence-based approaches (such as compassion-focused therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy) to help you heal from anxiety. Psychotherapy can help you regain the joy of living taken away from you by excessive worry. Contact us and start taking control back.