May is declared as Mental Health Awareness Month, and in honor of that, we wanted to touch base on one of the most under–spoken matters; anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States aged 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
With the current pandemic and lockdown that is affecting us worldwide, those numbers keep rising.
Do you know that feeling of your heart beating faster in response to a stressful situation? Or perhaps, instead, your palms get sweaty when you’re confronted with an overwhelming task or event.
That is anxiety or your body´s natural response to stressful situations.
Anxiety triggers are all the moments or situations that can lead a person to have an anxiety attack. Triggers vary from person to person, however, it is important to identify them so you can learn how to cope at those specific moments.
Most common anxiety triggers include:
- speaking in public.
- a stressful job or work environment
- driving or traveling
- genetics — anxiety could run in your family
- withdrawal from drugs or certain medications
- side effects of certain medications
- phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
- some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
- chronic pain
- having another mental illness such as depression
Identifying triggers can take time and self-reflection, however, is crucial to be aware of them to learn to better manage them.
5 Quick Ways to Cope With Anxiety
If your anxiety is sporadic, the following tips will help you ease it.
Be Aware of Your Thoughts: Negative thinking has the power to raise your anxiety levels and create non-existent troubles in your head. Identifying negative thought patterns is key to stopping them and preventing yourself from having risen anxiety. Try shifting your focus, and remember that up to 85% of things you worry, will never happen.
Take a Break: Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to walk away from the situation. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety.
Practice Meditation/Prayer: While this takes some practice to do successfully, mindful meditation or prayer, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise.
It doesn’t need to be an hour-long session. A minimum of 15 minutes can work wonders for your mental health and your inner peace.
Stay Away From Anxious People: Believe it or not, anxiety is contagious.
According to new studies, anxiety, just like any other viral disease, is contagious. The reason behind this is the fact that the human brain is “wired” to feel empathy towards other’s emotions, which can be the reason why we tend to catch other’s feelings.
So, if you work along with negative/stressed colleagues, chances are that you will end up feeling like them at some point. We understand that you can’t control whom you work with, however, tracking your conversations and limit them when it starts getting intense is a good way to manage it.
Sleep Well – Eat Well: Although it might sound obvious, you are more prone to stress when you haven’t eaten or slept properly. According to a Harvard Study, a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is can help you ease anxiety because complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.
When you eat is also important. Don’t skip meals. Doing so may result in drops in blood sugar that can cause you to feel jittery, which may worsen underlying anxiety.
When Should I Worry About My Anxiety?
If you notice that the previous quick tips haven’t been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and it’s interfering with routine activities and causing physical symptoms.
Panic and anxiety attacks affect about 6 million adults in the U.S. Women are twice as likely as men to develop the condition. Therefore it is important to identify whether or not you are suffering from it.
Signs of an anxiety attack
These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:
- feelings of danger, panic, or dread
- nervousness or restlessness
- rapid heart rate
- trembling or chills
- tiredness or weakness
- gastrointestinal problems
- difficulty focusing
It’s also possible to experience an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously. The quick coping strategies mentioned above may also help with a panic attack.
Symptoms of a panic attack
- fear of dying
- feeling like you’re losing control
- a sense of detachment
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- chest pains or tightness
- feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- numbness or tingling in your extremities
- feeling hot or cold
If you have suffered from a panic attack or an anxiety attack, we highly encourage you to get medical help. With the right medication and orientation, it is possible to recover your inner peace and get back to living a happy life.
Additionally, if you are not sure about your anxiety levels we recommend you taking this ANXIETY TEST to determine your levels.
At Rehealth, we believe that having informed patients is the only way to deliver optimal healthcare. Visit our website to find out more interesting content and be a part of an amazing health integrated community!