Do you have anxiety? … or are you just a little nervous?
How do you know whether your anxiety is serious and needs more attention, or whether it is not that serious, and you are just a little nervous about something?
Do you want to know what you could do to manage your anxiety if you are unable to consult your doctor? I will in the upcoming weeks give you some tips and techniques that do not require medicine or office visits so you can use them whenever the need arises.
Before you do that, let’s define what anxiety. After all, how can you know if you have something when you do not even know what it is right?
Anxiety is a non-medical term that refers to a feeling of fear or worry that often relates to a particular issue or concern. It generally occurs when a person fears that something bad is going to happen. It is sometimes also defined as a feeling of worry and nervousness about something with an uncertain outcome.
You need to understand that anxiety is usually a very normal response to life events that are stressful. These stressful events include things like loss of a spouse, a job interview, a first date, moving from your old home into a new home, changing jobs, marriage, or having financial trouble. Actually, many people experience anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety only becomes a problem when the symptoms of your anxiety become worse or larger than the events that triggered them and start affecting your life. This is because the symptoms in such cases could be signs of more serious problems such as anxiety disorders, depression, or other types of mental health concerns.
So, if your anxiety only causes you to worry about something a little it is a normal response. But if it causes you to do drastic, extreme, or irrational things, then you could have a real problem.
The most extreme example of irrational behavior due to anxiety I have ever come across was in a TV show called Rick and Morty. In one episode, Rick who is a crazy scientist decides to turn himself into a pickle because he is depressed and extremely scared of going for counseling with his family and confronting his feelings. That was his genius way of avoiding all human responsibility, regret and loss of love. So his anxiety had him turn himself into a pickle!
This is an extreme example of anxious behavior, but anxiety does cause many people to act in similar ways though to a lesser degree. H hopefully for you, you won’t have to turn yourself into a pickle because you will learn how to tell whether or not you have anxiety and what to do about it. Anxiety is usually very manageable.
The best way of knowing whether you have anxiety or not is to look out for symptoms of anxiety. Remember that when symptoms of anxiety become excessive and start interfering with your life, it could be a sign that you may have an anxiety disorder. Here is a list of the most common symptoms of anxiety:
- Excessive and Irrational fear and worry
The most common symptom of an anxiety disorder is excessive worrying. The worrying associated with anxiety disorders is disproportionate to the events that trigger it. So if you are worrying more than usual about situations or events that happen, it may be a sign that you have an anxiety disorder. If you experience worry and apprehension on most days over a period of six months, then consult a health professional because it could be a sign that you may have generalized anxiety disorder. The worrying must also be severe and intrusive, making it difficult to concentrate and accomplish daily tasks.
The second symptom of anxiety is restlessness. This usually occurs in children and teenagers. However, it also occurs in adults as well. If you are restless, it is a sign that you might be experiencing anxiety. Where you experience restlessness on several days over a six month period, this may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder as well so you would need to consult a doctor or health professional.
- Having trouble falling asleep and insomnia
Anxiety generally causes sleep problems. A person with anxiety will usually have trouble falling asleep or will usually wake up in the middle of the night. If this is happening to you, then you might be experiencing anxiety.
- Avoiding Social Situations
This entails feeling anxious or fearful about upcoming social situations. In this scenario, anxiety causes you to worry that you may be judged or scrutinized by others. It may also cause you to be fearful of being embarrassed or humiliated in front of others. The anxiety may also cause you to avoid certain social events because of these fears. This feeling is quite close to wanting to turn yourself into a pickle so that you avoid other people but to a lesser degree.
Anxiety also causes irritability. So if you are easily annoyed or irritated, there is a good chance that you are experiencing anxiety, especially if you have the other symptoms of anxiety.
- Difficulty concentrating –Difficulty concentrating especially in daily tasks is a symptom of anxiety that you also need to look out for.
- Sadness– People with anxiety tend to experience sadness as a result of whatever is triggering their anxiety. Sadness is therefore a symptom to look out for as well when determining whether or not you have anxiety.
- Panic Attacks
A panic attack is an attack where you go into a sudden rush of panic. It usually does not have a specific trigger and can happen without anything triggering it. It can be a symptom of panic disorder, which is a diagnosable condition. Panic attacks can happen whether you feel calm or anxious and they involve physical symptoms and feelings of terror so intense that you fear a total loss of control or imminent death. During a panic attack, you are likely to believe that you are going to die. The attack often occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and lasts between a few minutes and an hour, although the negative impact of the attack may continue even afterward. For more details on the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks, see my video titled “What Does Anxiety Feel Like?”
Having discussed the main symptoms of anxiety, here is a quick list of some of the physical symptoms of anxiety.
- Changes in heart rate –This is a common physical symptom of anxiety. Anxiety causes a change in the heart rate from what is normal. Other physical symptoms of anxiety are;
- Dry mouth
- Tension in the head or neck
- Tightness in the throat and difficulty breathing.
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling faint
- A pounding heart
- Stomach upsets
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle tension or twitches
I’m sure by now it is obviously clear that there are so many symptoms to look out for and that it can be very demanding and nerve-wracking to know whether you have anxiety because of its many symptoms. So here are a few easy questions you can use to quickly determine whether you are experiencing anxiety or not:
- Are you constantly worried, tense, or fearful?
- Do you worry or become so anxious that it interferes with your sleep or ability to concentrate?
- Does your anxiety interfere with your daily life at work, school, or with family responsibilities?
- Do you experience repetitive and relentless thoughts that are upsetting and undesirable?
- Do you avoid places and daily situations or activities for the reason that they cause you anxiety?
- Do you experience sudden and unexpected attacks of panic that cause your heart to pound?
- Do you think your life would be awesome if you were a pickle? Okay, I’m kidding on this one.
But if you said yes to at least 3 out of these questions, then there is a very good chance that you have anxiety. However, there is no reason to panic. Mild anxiety can be dealt with by using the following simple self-help remedies:
- Managing stress
Managing stress is an effective way of dealing with anxiety. A lot of anxiety can be caused by high levels of stress. So looking at your responsibilities to determine which ones you can turn down, delegate or give up would be an effective way of dealing with stress.
- Connecting with other people
Loneliness and isolation can trigger or worsen anxiety. On the other hand, talking about your worries face to face with close friends and family often makes things less overwhelming. Also, share your worries and concerns with someone you trust and care about. In addition, you can join a self-help or support group to share your worries and concerns.
- Practicing relaxation techniques
Frequently practicing relaxation techniques such as self-hypnosis, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing can reduce anxiety symptoms. It also makes you more relaxed and balanced emotionally.
- Eating healthy and exercise regularly.
Eating healthy is a good way of lowering the risk of developing an anxiety disorder although it is not enough to treat anxiety. In addition, exercise is a natural stress remedy and anxiety reliever. So exercise every day for at least 30 minutes.
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes
Alcohol and nicotine tend to make anxiety worse. Avoiding alcohol and drugs will yield positive results and reduce anxiety.
- Put a stop to constant worrying
If these self-help techniques don’t substantially reduce your anxiety, then you should quickly visit your doctor or seek professional help. You can also call …. (630-974-1800) to ask any questions you may have regarding anxiety.
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