How many of you have had sleepless nights, because you just could not stop thinking about a certain situation? How many of you feel disoriented even when the slightest thing goes off track? Anxiety is your body’s natural reaction to stress that leads to “fight-or-flight” response. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” Anxiety is a perfectly normal emotion to have, but when one experiences feelings of the same too often, it leads to anxiety disorders and may have to be looked into.
- Signs of Anxiety Disorder
- Tips to Reduce Anxiety
Signs of Anxiety Disorder
1. Excessive Worrying
Do you find yourself worrying about a situation or a person to an extent where it clouds your concentration? Chances are you might have anxiety disorder. The worrying usually occurs in response to typical, day-to-day situations.
2. Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are a common sign of anxiety disorder that occurs when intense and overwhelming feelings of fear takes over a person. As a result one feels their heart racing, shortness of breath, sweating and having chills. If panic attacks occur frequently and unexpectedly, one might need to consult a therapist.
3. Tense Muscles
Tense muscles is often related to anxiety. This happens when your mind is constantly stressing out and worrying about a solution.
4. Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns are strongly associated with anxiety disorders. Waking up in the middle of the night or having trouble falling asleep were the most commonly reported problems. Improper sleep can cause other physical and mental stress that could also lead to anxiety.
Restlessness is a common symptom of anxiety disorder and is more prevalent in teenagers and kids. It is often described as feeling ‘on the edge’ or ‘having an uncomfortable urge to move around’. Almost 74% of people who have anxiety issues marked restlessness as a common symptom.
Although anxiety is related to hyperactivity, most of them experience fatigue on more days than usual. It’s uncertain whether fatigue is due to other common symptoms of anxiety, such as lack of sleep or muscle tension. It could also be related to hormonal reaction of chronic anxiety.
7. Difficulty Concentrating
When your mind is awry and is surrounded with clouds of thoughts, it becomes hard to concentrate on everyday tasks. Some research shows that anxiety can delay working memory, a type of memory responsible for holding short-term information. This helps clarify the decline in performance one often faces during anxiety.
8. Chronic Indigestion
The stomach is very sensitive to psychological stress. Although anxiety starts in the mind, it can have disruptive side effects on the body. As a consequence of experiencing anxiety on a regular basis, irritable bowel syndrome or chronic indigestion becomes a worrying point. Social and somatic discomfort of persistent digestive problems can make a person feel more anxious.
Tips to Reduce Anxiety
Exercising regularly reduces stress hormones like cortisol and releases endorphins, which are also known as ‘feel good’ hormones. It also improves your sleep quality and pattern which further helps lower anxiety and stress levels. In the long run, exercising makes you feel confident about yourself, which is beneficial in saying goodbye to anxiety disorders.
2. Follow 3-3-3 Rule
The 3-3-3 rule indicates that whenever you feel anxiety taking over you, pause and look around you. Name 3 things you see, 3 things you hear and then move 3 of your body parts. This trick will help you come back to the present and not let thoughts and worry take over your daily activities.
3. Aroma Therapy
Aroma therapy is known to reduce stress and anxiety. Smelling soothing scents in forms of oils, candles or perfume can help you worry less and help you unwind. This sends a signal to your brain and keeps your anxiety disorder in check. Scents like lavender, rose, chamomile, ylang ylang, sandalwood are known for having a calming effect on your brain.
4. Reduce Caffeine Intake
If you are a beverage lover then you should keep your caffeine intake in check. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and chocolate and is often a stimulant that increases anxiety. If caffeine intake is making you jittery, cut back and see the difference. Anything in moderation is never harmful.
5. Write It Down
Find it difficult to express your thoughts and feelings? The best way to deal with overwhelming and intense feelings of fear is to write them down. Penning down feelings have shown a positive impact on people dealing with anxiety disorders as it helps them clear out the mind, hence staying away from thought cloud. Set some time apart in a day and exercise this regularly for better results.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is nothing but practicing the art of staying in the present and being aware of your surroundings. Exercising this on a regular basis, consciously can help you focus better and keep irrational thoughts away. Studies have shown that mindfulness also helps increase self-esteem, which in turn is useful in combating anxiety disorders.
Multiple research shows that meditation can increase the grey matter in the brain, which aids in reducing stress. Meditation helps you take some time out from busy mundane routines and focus on your thoughts. This helps you calm down and generate positive thoughts. Meditating daily can significantly reduce anxiety disorders.