What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural feeling of uncertainty and unease. This includes worry or fear that can be mild or severe. This is normal and everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life when encountered with stressful life situations.
When does anxiety become a problem? Anxiety is a problem when it starts to feel overwhelming or unmanageable. Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses that causes a huge impact on your life.
What causes Anxiety?
There can be many causes of anxiety, mainly stemming from environmental factors. These can be stress from school, a job, a relationship and many other individual factors.
Here are some of the other key contributors:
- Genetics: Should a family member or family history records an anxiety disorder, it is more likely that you will also have one yourself.
- Brain Chemistry: Psychologists and neurologists define anxiety and mood disorders as disruptions to hormones and electrical signals in the brain. These are affected by traumatic events and/or genetic factors that can cause alteration of the brain’s structure and activity in causing a reaction.
- Illicit Substance Usage or Withdrawal: While some people approach stress by consuming alcohol or other illicit substances, this may cause them to have increased anxiety levels and risk further complications that may lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Medical factors (Situational): Some side effects of medication or the stress from an existing medical condition can also lead to an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of Anxiety to look out for
Common anxiety symptoms and signs can include the following:
- Feeling tensed, restless, nervous
- Increased/ Rapid heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Having a sense of impending danger and panic
- Difficulty in focusing or thinking about other things besides the current worry
- Difficulty controlling worry
- Having trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Feeling weak or lethargic
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
How to manage Anxiety?
While there is no immediate cure to anxiety, it is highly treatable with the correct and suitable approaches depending on different individuals. Lifestyle changes, natural remedies, therapy and medication can sometimes help in easing anxiety and can be tried in different combinations.
However, it is important to keep in mind that untreated anxiety can get worse and cause more stress. Although symptoms of anxiety can be relieved in the long-term, such relief can be potentially broken due to an in-built tendency toward those mental problems.
Managing anxiety involves many different ways. Here are some self-care tips that can be included into your routine to calm the mind and cut down on stress:
- Exercise: By moving your body, it can ease your feelings of anxiety and boost your sense of well-being. Exercising is an important part for both physical and mental health, so choose a list of enjoyable exercises so you look forward to doing them.
- Take deep breaths: This simple gesture helps your mind and body to relax, while sending a message to your brain telling it that you’re doing alright. To get the most out of it, lie down on a flat surface and put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Take a slow breath in. Make sure it fills your belly enough that you can feel it rise slightly. Hold it for a second, then slowly let it out.
- Get enough sleep: It may sound easy, but it takes both quality and quantity to have a good night’s sleep. Anxiety sometimes tends to mess with your sleep routine, so here are a few suggestions to ensure you catch an average of 8 hours of ZZZs every night:
- Reduce screen time, or make it an effort to leave it around 30 minutes before you go to bed.
- Decrease or cut back on both caffeine and alcohol, as they can increase the intensity of your anxiety. The best is to avoid them if you can.
- Try to stick to a schedule.
- A comfortable bed and a cool room temperature can also go a long way.
- Schedule your worry time: This point might be confusing to some but it is actually recommended by doctors that you plan a time to worry and think about what you fear. 30 minutes can be used to identify what’s bothering you and what you can do about it. You can try to fix your “worry session” at the same time every day and spend it focusing on what are the things that make you anxious.
If you need assistance, we are here for a helping hand
Anxiety can be rather intimidating when faced alone, but it is advisable to get professional help. Come speak to us at WhatsDoc where we have certified healthcare professionals ready to be of assistance. Download our app now and set your appointment!