Living with Anxiety: Everyone feels anxiety at some point in his or her life. Many people feel anxiety right before a big exam or event. Anxiety can be nerve wrecking and may seem scary at first, but it's important to remember that feeling anxious at certain moments in your life is perfectly normal. An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Some people experience anxiety once in a while. For others, anxiety plays a major factor in their everyday lives and have negatively affect their mental health. Those living with anxiety, or some form of anxiety disorder, may experience the following:
Living with Anxiety & How to Control It: Physical Symptoms
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued or loss of energy
- Muscle tension
- Gastrointestinal (GI) problems (digestive or bowel)
- Sleep problems (difficulty staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep) or having trouble sleeping (insomnia)
Living with Anxiety & How to Control It: Psychological Symptoms
- Feeling worthless or restless
- Mood swings
- Feeling angry or irritable
- Depressed mood
- Low self-esteem
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Headaches and chronic pain
- Frequent sadness or crying
- Difficulty controlling the worry
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Feeling nervous or tense
Living with Anxiety & How to Control It: Behavioral Problems
- Social isolation and withdrawing from friends and activities
- Problems functioning at work
- Change in grades, getting into trouble at school, or refusing to go to school
- Change in eating habits
- Substance abuse
- Poor quality of life
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Living with Anxiety & How to Control It: Lifestyle Tips
- Learn about your disorder. Learn what may be causing your anxiety and what treatments might be best for you. Involve those closest to you and ask for their support.
- Socialize. Anxiety can unconsciously make you isolate yourself from friends, family, and activities you once were engaged in. Don’t let anxiety take over your social life.
- Keep physically active. Exercising can reduce stress and may improve your mood. Working out is also a great way to keep your body and mind healthy.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. Anxiety can worsen with the abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs. Find ways to quit or join a support group to help manage substance abuse.
- Quit smoking and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages. Nicotine and caffeine can worsen anxiety. Find ways to cut back and also avoid second-hand smoke.
- Make sleep a priority. Feeling rested can be achieved with a good night’s sleep. Make sure you are getting enough and proper sleep.
- Eat healthy. Eating healthy may be linked to a reduction in anxiety. Add protein and whole grains to your diet.
- Join an anxiety support group. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States. There are numerous support groups, local and online, to help you manage your anxiety.