Getting a Grip on Anxiety

Anxiety is how your body reacts to stress. Having anxiety when you don’t know what to expect from a situation, like a job interview, is a normal reaction. Being nervous or fearful when giving a presentation is how most people would feel. Anxiety does have its benefits though, it can motivate you to do better or work harder. The most important thing, anxiety is short-lived.

When anxiety lingers, you may have a reason to be concerned. You can recognize that you may have an anxiety disorder when it has a debilitating effect on you. When it causes you to be too fearful or nervous to complete daily tasks or stops you from doing things you enjoy, it’s time to get help. 

Getting Help

When seeking help with anxiety, you should start with your family doctor. Depending on your assessment, you may be referred to a specialist with a psychology degree. Psychologists can help you develop skills to recognize and cope with your specific issues. 

Although medication can help with anxiety disorders, studies have shown that the most effective treatment is behavioral therapy. In addition to learning how to modify behavior, taking care of yourself is just as important. Make sure you live a healthy lifestyle. Stay active, eat a balanced and healthy diet, clear your mind with meditation and get a good night’s sleep. 

Symptoms 

Anxiety disorders have a few tell-tale symptoms, both physical and mental. The most common signs of general anxiety are racing heart, fast breathing, trouble falling asleep/sleeping, restlessness and difficulty concentrating. 

Pay attention to your body. Physical reactions to stress can manifest themselves through stomach pain or excessive sweating when faced with a perceived stressful situation. If your reactions to normal social situations involve consistent physiological reactions, your anxiety is calling the shots and you need to get it under control. 

Anxiety can also disturb your cognitive functions. Trouble concentrating, memory loss and sleeping are all signs of anxiety too. If anxiety is a problem, you’ll notice you have a hard time staying on task at work or concentrating on things you enjoy like a good book or movie. You may notice you’re having a hard time remembering things that happened recently. Trouble sleeping occurs because no matter how silly or irrational, you can’t turn your mind off to certain thoughts and it’s keeping you up at night. 

Procrastination itself isn’t that uncommon. It’s normal to delay doing things you find unpleasant. People tend to do their least favorite tasks last. However, when you’re constantly putting things off until a later time when you think you may be more ready to deal with it, your anxiety is something you need to deal with sooner, rather than later.  

Sometimes anxiety can mask itself as anger. If you constantly feel impatient, edgy and are quick to lash out at others, your irritability can be anxiety as opposed to actual anger. As a coping mechanism, it’s easier to blame someone else than accept your impatience as anxiety you don’t want to acknowledge. Unprovoked anger directed at other people and anxiety are not healthy ways to cope with what’s stressing you out. 

A lot of the symptoms of anxiety are things most people experience daily. The difference between normal, healthy anxiety and the need to get help, is how those symptoms interfere with you living your life. If any of the symptoms are ongoing issues or keep you from living and enjoying life, it’s time to get help from a professional. 

Anxiety doesn’t have to rule your life. Once you recognize you have more than you can deal with, get help. Once you learn healthy ways to keep your anxiety in check, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

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