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Navigating Anxiety: Understanding and Managing Your Symptoms

Updated: May 6

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, feeling anxious can often be considered par for the course. Yet, when does this sensation transform from a normal response to daily stressors into something more pervasive and disruptive—into what we might call an 'anxiety disorder'? This blog seeks to illuminate the nature of anxiety, explore its common symptoms, and offer practical advice for managing and reducing its impact on your life.

man anxious

Do I Have Anxiety?

Identifying anxiety can sometimes be tricky, as it manifests uniquely in everyone. However, it generally involves more than temporary worry or fear. For someone with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not subside and can worsen over time. It can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.

To determine whether what you’re experiencing might indeed be an anxiety disorder, consider how long you’ve felt the symptoms and the intensity of your feelings. Does your worry feel uncontrollable? Do you find yourself anxious about a broad array of topics, situations, or activities? Are your fears and worries out of proportion with the actual threat? Answering 'yes' to any of these questions might suggest the presence of an anxiety disorder.

What Are 5 Symptoms of Anxiety?

  1. Excessive Worrying: One of the most common signs of an anxiety disorder is excessive worrying that is difficult to control. This worrying occurs on more days than not for at least six months and is often about various activities or events.

  2. Feeling Agitated: When anxious, your sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive. This can cause your heartbeat to increase, palms to sweat, and hands to shake. Essentially, your body is gearing up to respond to a threat, even if there isn’t one present.

  3. Restlessness: Often described as feeling 'on edge' or having an 'uncomfortable urge to move,' restlessness is a common symptom of anxiety, particularly noted in children and teens.

  4. Fatigue: While anxiety is typically associated with hyperactivity or arousal, it can also lead to fatigue. This paradox can occur because anxiety is physically and emotionally draining, or because anxiety can cause frequent interruptions to your sleep.

  5. Difficulty Concentrating: Anxiety can lead to trouble focusing or thinking about anything other than the present worry, impacting your ability to work or complete tasks effectively.

How Do I Deal with Anxiety?

Managing anxiety involves several strategies, ranging from lifestyle adjustments to professional therapy:

  1. Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices help centre your mind and reduce the ongoing chatter that fuels anxiety.

  2. Physical Activity: Regular exercise is powerful at reducing symptoms of anxiety. It not only burns off excess energy and tension but also boosts physical and mental energy through the release of endorphins.

  3. Maintain a Balanced Diet: Nutritional imbalances can contribute to emotional instability and heightened anxiety levels. Ensure a balanced diet that includes all food groups.

  4. Adequate Sleep: Anxiety can disrupt sleep, creating a vicious cycle. Focus on improving your sleep routines—aim for 7-9 hours per night, and maintain a regular sleep schedule.

  5. Professional Support: Sometimes, anxiety needs to be treated by a professional. Therapies like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) are highly effective for anxiety. Medications may also be necessary and helpful.

How to Let Go of Anxiety?

Letting go of anxiety involves a commitment to long-term lifestyle and thought pattern changes:

  1. Challenge Anxious Thoughts: Learn to question and challenge your fears. Ask yourself what evidence you have for your anxious thoughts, and critically assess the likelihood of what you fear actually happening.

  2. Limit Exposure to Anxiety Triggers: While avoiding every situation that causes anxiety isn’t practical, limiting your exposure to unnecessary stress can be beneficial.

  3. Practice Deep Breathing: Techniques such as deep breathing can help control the panic and physical symptoms of anxiety when they arise.

  4. Set Aside Worry Time: Allocate a specific time of day to focus on your worries. Outside of this time, make a conscious effort to set them aside and focus on positive or neutral thoughts.

  5. Acceptance: Sometimes, part of reducing anxiety is accepting that you have it. Acceptance can reduce the struggle associated with the condition and encourage a calmer approach to life’s challenges.

anxious woman

In conclusion, Understanding and managing anxiety is a journey that involves learning more about your mental health and adopting strategies to reduce its impact. Whether it’s through professional help, self-help strategies, or lifestyle changes, it’s possible to achieve a calmer, more fulfilling life. Remember, dealing with anxiety isn’t about eliminating it completely but learning how to manage it effectively.

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