Anxiety is the feeling of worry, apprehension, fear and/or panic in response to situations which seem overwhelming, threatening, unsafe, or uncomfortable. It is your body’s way of telling you that some sort of action is needed in the face of a situation that is perceived to be threatening or dangerous. In certain situations, anxiety can be beneficial. For instance, if you come across a bear chasing you through the woods, it would be an appropriate and possibly life-saving response to experience intense fear prompting you to run away. However, this feeling of apprehension becomes a problem when it interferes with everyday life.
Pathological anxiety occurs when you experience chronic, debilitating anxiety/worry that affects your ability to function in important areas of your life such as work, home, school, and personal relationships. Anxiety may also manifest itself in other physical symptoms including:
- Feeling restless or keyed up
- Difficulty concentrating
- Being easily fatigued
- Feeling irritable
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Gastrointestinal discomfort including nausea and diarrhea
- Heart palpitations
It is important to identify what triggers your anxiety, be it a specific phobia such as the fear of heights, apprehension of being in certain social situations, or even persistent thoughts that you cannot get out of your head. Whatever the cause, anxiety is a treatable illness, with a variety of options available for management.
Various coping techniques include:
- Daily physical activity
- A nutritious, well-balanced diet
- Adequate amount of sleeping
- Support from friends and familyCrea
- ting realistic, attainable goals
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake
- Muscle relaxation, calm breathing
- Do not assume responsibility for events which are outside of your control
There are also several different medications available to help treat anxiety. If you are feeling any of these symptoms of anxiety, please make an appointment with your doctor to talk about it. You are not alone, and anxiety does not have to take over your life.