Do you know what anxiety feels like? Anxiety can manifest in many different forms and it varies from person to person. A friend described her anxiety as an inability to breath and chest tightness. Others may have anxiety symptoms such as muscle achiness, chronic fatigue, dizziness, and accelerated heart rate.
We can experience anxiety almost everyday of our lives. We worry about a speech we have to give in front of an audience, we stress about our deadlines at work and school, and we get scared when we have to face a difficult situation.
Anxiety is our body’s automatic response to danger; it’s like an alarm that goes off every time we feel threatened. According to Shallcross (2009) anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the nation, affecting 40 million adults or 18 percent of the adult population. Some of the well-known anxiety disorders are panic disorder, social disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobia. When we experience anxiety on a daily basis, it can have a negative impact on our relationships and activities, ultimately causing even more anxiety.
Robert L. Leahy, author of Anxiety Free explains that our life-style today is very demanding, which is leading to the increase of anxiety in our society. We have to have the latest gadgets, we are driven by unrealistic ideas about our relationships and appearance and we demand more and more of ourselves. Also, the news from TV and newspapers are bombarding us with messages that say that we are in danger. However, it’s not about what the people or the news say that counts, but it’s about what we think that really counts. Change your perception and you will change the way that you feel.
Here are 5 tips on Coping with Anxiety:
1. Change your life style. Analyze the things in your life that are causing stress and confront them or eliminate them from your life.
2. Change your diet. Having a well balance diet, with the right combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat is important for your overall health. Meat and cheese proteins increase Tryptophan which then releases Seratonin. Seratonin is used in Anti-Depressants to reduce anxiety or depression.
3. Start exercising. You can start by doing a daily 45-minute walk around your neighborhood, or take a yoga class. Exercising is a great outlet for anxiety.
4. Learn to relax. Deep breathing exercises can help alleviate anxiety symptoms. Sometimes when we are anxious, we forget to breath, therefore we may have to retrain ourselves on breathing.
5. Talk to someone you can trust about your problems. Talking can help you release some of the stress and can allow you see things in a new light through someone else’s eyes.
Very often, it's possible to get past an anxiety cycle with the help of friends or family, someone who can help you sort out your problems. If anxiety becomes overwhelming make sure to see a physician or maybe a therapist.
Leahy, R. L. (2008). How Big A Problem Is Anxiety? Psychology Today.
Shallcross, L. (2009). Living An Unease Existence. Counseling Today Online.
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About the Author: Marta Rocha is a Graduate Student Counselor Intern from Webster University. Marta is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Marta Rocha is specialized in the areas of Marriage Counseling, Family Issues, Stress Management, Leadership Training, Anxiety, Depression, Sports Psychology, Grief, and Substance Abuse&Addictions. Marta Rocha has 12 years of experience in sales&marketing, advertising, promotions, management, and professional development. Her professional affiliations are with the American Counseling Association, and the American Association of Christian Counselors.