Anxiety is a fear of the future. Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “How will my interview be?”, “what am I going to do after I complete my education?” or something similar? These are the moments of anxiety in your life. Anxiety isn’t exclusive to some people. Every human feels anxious at some point in life. It is a matter of concern only when you start experiencing it more often than you should. Anxiety becomes vicious only when your daily routine is interrupted because of you being anxious. This is when you need to take needed measures to overcome anxiety and live a normal life. Before talking about the measures to overcome anxiety, let us first take a deeper look at what causes anxiety and where could it lead us if we don’t take proper measures to overcome anxiety.
What Causes Anxiety?
The basic cause of anxiety is the worry. Imagine if you weren’t worried about a situation, you wouldn’t be scared of it occurring in the future. Like, if your interview wouldn’t worry you, you’d not think about it and just give it when it’s time. But that is not how things work. Every human has his own matters of worry and fear. This is why anxiety takes place.
Normal and rational fear is the cause of the normal kind of anxiety that we all experience. When people start overthinking and worrying irrationally and too frequently, that is when anxiety has the potential to turn into a disorder- anxiety disorder. There is a line between normal anxiety and chronic or severe anxiety. Let’s find out if you are suffering from severe or chronic anxiety.
Signs That You Are Suffering From Severe Anxiety
1. Excessive Worrying
Like we have already discussed, worrying is something really normal. Whatever is important to us worries us. But, when we take it to the next level by worrying most of the time about both big and tiny things, it becomes an anxiety disorder. Especially, if your anxiety persists for 6 months, you will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
2. Irrational Fears
A lot of times people don’t exactly worry about everything. They are more specific and there’s one thing that causes extreme worry and fear. For example, you might be afraid of snakes so much that you can’t touch ropes or look at snakes on the television or books without extremely panicking. This is when you have an anxiety-related disorder.
If you are suffering from any of the anxiety disorders, you’d find yourself being nervous most of the time. Being around a lot of people might seem to be challenging and you might feel restless. Anxiety is also accompanied by shivering of the body, shaking of the legs or hands, breathlessness, raised heart rate, increased blood pressure, and fatigue.
We all are unable to sleep when we have something big happening the next day. Anxiety makes us think more and more about what is to happen. This, in turn, prevents us from falling asleep. A person who has frequent cases of anxiety would find it difficult to sleep every night. This is how the person develops insomnia. That’s why insomnia indicates anxiety (besides a number of other disorders).
5. Digestion Related Problems
If you have any digestion related problems, like constipation, cramping, bloating, gas, acidity, etc, there are chances you have chronic anxiety. While it doesn’t necessarily mean you have anxiety, anxiety generally easily affects your digestion. Research proves that for a lot of people anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) occur together.
How To Overcome Anxiety
Most people accept anxiety as a permanent mental state- something they would have to live with. To be honest, the first step to being able to overcome anxiety is to realize for a fact that anxiety is not permanent. It totally depends on how much efforts you try to put in to get rid of it. Two things you have to pack your bags with before setting out for overcoming anxiety are- patience and perseverance. It sure takes time and you have to put consistent results to witness even smallest changes in your thinking and behavior. Anyone who accepts these facts can go ahead and find best tips to overcome anxiety for real.
1. Find Out The Reason
We all know to be able to overcome any problem, we first need to dig enough to find the reason why it occurs. Same goes for anxiety. You first have to think and find out what causes you to be anxious. If you ask a few questions to yourself, you might be able to find out what it is. These are some questions you should ask yourself-
- What worries me the most?
- How long has it been making me anxious for?
- When does it normally occur?
- How do I feel when I think about that reason that makes me anxious?
For example, if it is giving a presentation in front of the entire class that scares or worries you, you have an answer to your first question. The answer to the second question could be 5 months. Then you go on answering the next question- it normally occurs a night before I give a presentation and is most taxing while I am giving the presentation. Now, the most important is the answer to the last question. By answering the final question, you find out your symptoms. Once you do that, you can think of ways to control the symptoms and lessen your anxiety.
There are different types of anxiety disorders. So, when you find out the reason behind you being anxious, you can also have an idea of what kind of anxiety disorder you are dealing with. However, self-diagnosis is not suggested here. You have to definitely go to a psychology before concluding the kind of anxiety disorder you have. Basically, there are 4 basic types of anxiety disorders that are given below-
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the type of anxiety which makes people worried about carrying out everyday tasks. It is the most common type.
Phobias are more specific. When you have an irrational fear of something or some situation, that is called a phobia. In a phobia, you become anxious even thinking about the subject of phobia.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder refers to a fear of being in a social situation or in an unfamiliar setting. When a person with social anxiety disorder comes in contact with a lot of unfamiliar people or place, the person starts showing symptoms of anxiety, like sweating, shaking, being breathless, etc.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is one of the most complicated psychological disorders. This disorder is characterized by an obsessive thought (like being too anxious about bacteria) and as a result, being compelled to carry out a repetitive action to get rid of the anxiety (like washing hands every 5 minutes).
2. Force Yourself To Be Positive
Anxiety always causes a person to think in a negative way. No matter what the question is, if you are anxious about it, you would only come up with a negative answer. In such circumstances, a person easily loses hope, develops low self-esteem, and becomes utterly negative. This is when you have to consistently keep reminding yourself to think positive. This might seem funny and impossible. The truth is- every habit gets formed when you repeat the action over and over. Similarly, when you keep voluntarily thinking positive and good, you will develop a habit of not first counting the negatives and thinking positive mostly.
3. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is the most helpful solution when you are experiencing anxiety at a certain point in time. As soon as you catch yourself feeling anxious, sweating, shaking, becoming breathless, take deep breaths. You will be amazed at how effectively it helps you combat the anxiety that you feel at that time. It makes you get better at making decisions and solving problems than when you were trying while you were anxious. It relaxes your blood pressure and brings back your heart rate to normal. This lets the blood pass to your brain in a healthier way. Just as good as deep breathing is for the then and now, it is also a great idea to make it a habit and set aside about 10 to 20 minutes a day for deep breathing. This helps you relax after a stressful day and maintain a balance between your mind and body.
When we go back to the reason why we become anxious, we know it is excessive worrying and racing thoughts. When you meditate, you are letting all the thoughts that come to your mind- good and bad just let pass. When you meditate, you prevent yourself from voluntarily thinking and adding more meaning and thoughts to your already existing anxiety. Once you start performing meditation, you will gradually learn to detach yourself from the reasons that make you anxious. Once your mind practices the art of detachment, the reasons that once caused you to be anxious would no more matter and that way you overcome anxiety. However, this is a very gradual process and needs you to be very consistent with it.
5. Eat Healthy
The reason why we need to eat healthily and avoid certain foods if we have anxiety is that anxiety and your gut are closely related. The food that we eat have elements that trigger certain hormones in our body. When we say a healthy diet, we mean to avoid foods that have the ability to trigger or worsen our anxiety issues. Some of the foods that you should avoid when you suffer from anxiety are-
- Fried Foods
- Refined and added sugars
- Acidic foods, like pickles, sour cream, eggs, etc.
There are also foods that can help you by reducing anxiety related symptoms and overcome anxiety.
- Fresh fruits
- Magnesium rich foods, like tofu, black beans, etc. or magnesium supplements
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids from flax seeds
6. Self Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy is one of the most effective remedies that let you overcome anxiety in ways that it doesn’t recur for the same reason again. It basically means you expose yourself voluntarily to the situation that scares you or makes you anxious. With repeated exposure, you become used to it and gradually become resistant to anxiety. It helps you overcome anxiety and become confident at the same time. However, don’t make it a sudden explosion of exposure. Instead, start slowly and make use of every situation that lets you face the anxiety-causing situation. For instance, if you are suffering from stage fright, the way to completely overcome anxiety related to it is by making use of every opportunity you get to go on stage. This gives you more experience in what you doubt yourself in. Mostly, explosion therapy is designed by therapists for anxiety problems related to phobias. But it is as helpful for dealing with any sort of anxiety related problem as it is for phobia.
7. Go To a Therapist
If you have been suffering from anxiety for more than 6 months, you have to go to a therapist. Persisting anxiety can take the form of an anxiety disorder and can become difficult to combat by yourself. The primary reason why you go to a therapist is to get it diagnosed accurately. A therapist will be able to tell you the severity of your anxiety issues and frame the right kind of therapy for you. With the help of a therapist, the process of finding out the reason for your anxiety and getting rid of it becomes easier. Plus, it gives a lot of motivation, mental support, and confidence to have someone who is there to help you.
You can also find out if you have anxiety issues by taking an online anxiety test. You can get rid of it if you have enough patience and decide to persevere at it. Getting rid of anxiety is just like getting rid of any addiction. It is the addiction of overthinking that leads to anxiety. Once you figure out ways to stop overthinking, you are on your way to leading an anxiety-free life.