How Anxiety Fuels Your Anxiety: Identify symptoms and train your mind not to get in the way of achieving what you want!
Dealing with anxiety can seem like an unending struggle, but keeping hope alive is essential. While positive affirmations and distractions may not always do the trick, identifying anxiety symptoms and getting to the root of the problem is crucial for discovering effective solutions. With the proper techniques, you can prevent fear from taking control and take charge of your mind and emotions. Always remember you can manage your stress and attain inner peace.
What is Anxiety?
Coping with anxiety can be quite a daunting experience, causing physical discomfort, sleep disturbances, and negatively affecting daily life. To enhance one’s quality of life, it’s essential to understand anxiety better and acquire effective management techniques.
Anxiety is often misunderstood, yet it serves a natural purpose as an alert system to potential threats, such as escaping a burning building or crossing the road. However, it can also be triggered by situations that pose no physical danger, like public speaking or asking someone out. It’s normal to feel anxious in such instances, but there are techniques to cope and manage the symptoms.
Learning how to separate real alarms from false alarms is key to managing this disorder anxiety
It’s understandable for your mind and body to respond strongly to a situation that may not be harmful. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, including:
- general anxiety disorder: feeling anxious most of the time, to the extent that anxiety makes it hard to carry out daily activities.
- panic disorder: experiencing recurring panic attacks at unexpected times. A person with panic disorder may live in fear of the next panic attack.
- phobia: excessive fear of a specific object, situation, or activity
- social anxiety disorder: extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations
- obsessive-compulsive disorder: recurring irrational thoughts that lead you to perform specific, repeated behaviours
- separation anxiety disorder: fear of being away from home or loved ones
- illness anxiety disorder: anxiety about your health (formerly called hypochondria)
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): anxiety following a traumatic event
What are the anxiety symptoms?
Anxiety feels different depending on the person experiencing it. Feelings can range from butterflies in your stomach to a racing heart. You might feel out of control like there’s a disconnect between your mind and body.
Other ways people experience, e.g. nightmares, panic attacks, and painful thoughts or memories, you can’t control. You may have a general feeling of fear and worry, or you may fear a specific place or event.
General anxiety symptoms include increased heart rate, rapid breathing, restlessness, trouble concentrating, difficulty falling asleep and about 100 more symptoms, as anxiety presents itself differently from one individual to the other. Here is a link to a self test if you like.
It affects you emotionally, cognitively, and physically.
Most people talk about anxiety as an emotion. But it also affects your brain and your body. Feeling anxious makes you more likely to think about things that fuel your anxiety. You might contemplate bad things that happened in the past, or you may dwell on catastrophic predictions.
Your body will respond accordingly. Your heart rate and your blood pressure might increase. You might begin to breathe faster and break into a sweat. These reactions are meant to prepare you for action (it’s known as the fight-or-flight response).
Knowing how to calm your mind and body when you feel anxious makes it much easier to face anxiety-provoking situations.
What should you do if you’re anxious?
So what can you do if you notice yourself feeling anxious? Start by facing your anxiety, advises psychologist Susan Albers-Bowling, PsyD. Then try these nine ways to calm yourself:
1. Think of yourself as a firefighter when feeling anxious.
Put out the flames of anxiety with some calm breaths. Breathe in and out, deeply and slowly. “When you slow down your breathing, you trick your body into thinking you’re relaxing or going to sleep,” she says. Go out to the fresh air or open the window and breathe. What else relaxes you? Music maybe?
2. Cool down anxious thoughts.
Thoughts like, ‘I can’t stand this; this is awful!’ fuel the fire of anxiety,” says Dr Albers. Instead, think about what you can and cannot change about the situation. Then take steps to change what you can, and work on accepting what you can’t.
3. Get some perspective when feeling anxious.
Anxiety can stem from needless worry about many things that aren’t important in the long run. “Consider how this will impact you in five minutes, five months or five years,” she says.
4. Soothe your system.
Try some yoga stretches, or rub a tennis ball under your foot or behind your back. “Find gentle ways to calm your body,” says Dr Albers. Repeat for a few days to ease off any potential stress building up.
5. Talk it out when feeling anxious.
Research proves that simply naming your feelings can help to calm you down. “This is easier to do when you share your feelings with others,” she notes. Talk to someone you trust.
6. Don’t ignore it.
Anxiety is like a red flag, telling you that something needs attention. “Don’t ignore this sign — contact a professional to help you through it,” says Dr Albers.
7. Rule out other causes.
Sometimes medical issues can mask themselves as anxiety or mimic its symptoms. Don’t forget to get your checkup each year. If in doubt, the best thing is to contact your family doctor to talk about your concerns.
8. Wait it out.
“Sometimes, you just have to let it come and go, like riding a wave,” says Dr Albers. Remember that it will fade and that “This, too, shall pass.” We are not speaking here not to do anything, but we are telling you to accept some part of it and, whenever it happens to, be with it and wait until it slowly but steadily fades away.
9. Be mindful.
You can stay in the moment instead of jumping ahead. To bring yourself back to the present, try this five senses exercise. Hold your fist out, and extend one finger at a time as your name: 1 thing you can taste; 2 things you can smell; 3 things you can touch right now (your skin against the chair, a soft sweater); 4 things you can hear; and five things you can see in the immediate environment.
Take back control of your life and from anxiety!
Anxiety is the most common — yet most undertreated — mental illness worldwide.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates 18% of the population has an anxiety disorder. Yet only 36% of individuals with such a disorder receive treatment. An Australian study also found that the average person with anxiety waits eight years for treatment.
Unfortunately, people with anxiety wait to get help because it is treatable. We all experience stress, but if you feel weighed down, limited, or hijacked by that anxiety, you’ve come to the right place. We are here to help you move through fear and toward an area of health and wellness.
Learn to understand your thoughts and safely deal with what is underneath the fears and overwhelming you. Sometimes it can seem that getting rid of the things we don’t want is a real struggle. The truth is, carrying them around and trying to get on with life is the struggle. Time to lighten the load. It begins here with our ONLINE COACHING PROGRAMS and SERVICES.
Please get in touch with us if 1:1 coaching sessions are a better fit for you and if you prefer an individual approach, personal guidance and focused progress. Click here for details.