While worry is a normal – and even helpful – emotion, when it tips over into all-consuming anxiety that doesn’t allow you to function normally is when you need to consider that you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
How can you tell if your worry is something more than normal concern? There are a number of lifestyle websites that can guide you through the journey to become more peaceful, but you need to know whether you are suffering from anxiety in the first place.
Do you find yourself:
- Often feeling restless or on edge without cause
- Becoming tired easily
- Struggling to concentrate
- Being easily irritated
- Struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Making lists excessively
- Avoiding situations in case they make you anxious
If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these, you may be suffering from anxiety and should talk to your doctor or a healthcare provider about your concerns.
What can I do if I have anxiety?
If you suffer from anxiety, the balance between maintaining your lifestyle while still respecting your health can be a delicate one. Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed or have been fighting this battle for some time, finding the best way to control your anxiety without letting it control you is the key to a happy, healthy life.
Here are five ways you can maintain that balance:
CBT (or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is a psychological practice that may help you gain control over your worry. CBT can help teach you skills to control your anxiety, as well as allowing you to take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. What this means is that instead of feeling like things are happening to them, CBT helps show people that they are in control of their emotions. CBT may also include relaxation training, a form of progressive muscle relaxation that can help control physical tension.
If your anxiety is debilitating or preventing you from doing the things you enjoy, you may need to consider medication to help curb the symptoms. Some medications like antidepressants can help control symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder.
Knowledge truly is power, and nowhere is that more obvious than with your health. Understanding your anxiety might be one of the key ways you can help combat it. This is especially important for some of the symptoms anxiety can cause. Without understanding the root cause of our symptoms, we may feel helpless and become easily overwhelmed, but with more understanding, these feelings can be kept under control.
Much of anxiety comes down to a fight or flight response that produces a variety of symptoms, such as nausea, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. However, these symptoms are a totally normal response to the adrenaline flooding your body when you are experiencing anxiety.
- Increased breathing results in shortness of breath
- Blood is redirected away from your gut to your muscles causing nausea
- You begin sweating, which cools, causing cold sweat
- Your heart rate increases to match your breathing and you get heart palpitations
Exercising can be a key way you can help cope with your anxiety in a natural, healthy way. Exercise helps focus your mind and lower your stress, which are key ways you can help decrease the general amount of anxiety you are struggling with on a day-to-day basis. Exercise can also help with a bit of exposure therapy, allowing you to feel some of the same symptoms you would during an anxiety attack – but in a safe space.
Not allowing your anxiety to control your life is about knowing when to push back. Anxiety can make our lives seem very small until the only safe place seems to be our homes. Finding small ways to push back on your anxiety is important, whether that’s exposing yourself to more social situations, going outside more, or going to restaurants.
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