You don’t have to look far to find someone with anxiety, even severe anxiety. It’s becoming shockingly common, more common than it has seemed to be in the past.
There’s a looming deadline and your stomach is doing somersaults and your brain refuses to stop spinning, even for a minute.
It’s only the second week in the month and you have 20 bucks to your name and you’re sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire.
The baby is due any day and you had no idea one could be quite so nervous.
The doctor said you are going to need a hysterectomy and fall apart in a puddle of tears.
Well congratulations! If you have ever been anxious and uptight about any of the above scenarios, you’re normal! While you may feel anxious in moments such as these, they are regular comings and goings of life and it makes sense to feel a little dread now and again. A little healthy anxiety in our cave men ancestors actually helped them survive dangerous or difficult situations.
Anxiety, the kind that requires medical intervention is much different.
It’s been three weeks since you left the house because the thought of people keeps you stuck to the couch.
You have constant thoughts of looming danger.
You wash your hands excessively and avoid touching things in public in an effort to stay healthy.
These examples are disorders of Anxiety. How do you tell the difference between life and an anxiety disorder?
- Nervousness, worry and fear is ongoing
- The feeling of anxiousness is not proportionate to the cause
- Intrusive thoughts that overtake your ability to function normally
- Extreme, or exaggerated negative thoughts.
- Worrying about a future thought
Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders in this country and affects over 40 million adults. Of all those people, only a third actually seek medical attention. Even though it is so common, it is also a disorder that is the most misunderstood.
Medical professionals and scientists who study anxiety all suggest the following ways to cope with your anxiety.
- Learn deep breathing techniques to help you relax and calm down. Deep breathing does wonders to lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Keep your head where your body is. Projecting fear and worry too far into the future will exacerbate your anxiety. Stay mindful, in the moment…Wherever you are, is where you should be.
- Stop and say out loud, something you see, something you hear and something you smell. It may seem like a small thing but helps to keep you anchored to something real, rather than imagined in your mind.
- Don’t self medicate with alcohol, caffeine or recreational drugs. Get plenty of sleep and eat healthy, nutritious food.
- Understand what some of your triggers are. Educating yourself on your condition goes a long way.
- Search out a support network when you are going through difficult times. Being alone can often make things worse.
- Talk to your healthcare provider and discuss your symptoms and treatment options.