A lot people live with Anxiety without knowing. I did, for over twenty years. Pain and fear made me feel powerless, and I would often judge myself and put myself down because of how I felt. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t ‘just pull myself together’ and was frustrated with how feelings often held me back.
It’s important to acknowledge that anxious feelings are real and to do something about them. Some people fear that acknowledging feelings of anxiety will make the feelings stronger, but the fact is the opposite is true. Once they are acknowledged there is a lot more we can do to gain control over our lives.
Below is a list to help identify Anxiety. At the end I will give a few tips of what can be done to deal with anxiety on a day-to-day basis.
1. A struggle to focus. Having difficulty concentrating on things that feel important.
2. Can’t seem to get a good night sleep. The body is exhausted, but the mind is restless.
3. Depended on drugs or alcohol to calm down and control mood. Needing these to get through the day.
4. Having very little patience. Getting frustrated or snapping over minor things.
5. Sweating much more than normal, or blushing. Not sure how to make it stop.
6. Realising many fears are not rational. This creates even more worry.
7. Avoiding activities that would have been enjoyed, being afraid embarrassment.
8. Craving sugar and carbohydrates in unusual high amounts. Finding it very challenging to stick with a healthy diet.
9. Moods fluctuating wildly throughout the day. One minute happy and calm, and the next overcome by fear.
10. A fear that friends and loved ones will leave. Yet they have shown no signs of doing so.
11. Engaging in compulsive rituals. Not feeling right if these are not completed.
12. Feeling dizzy or short of breath. Even experiencing chest pains or full-on panic attacks.
13. Lashing out at loved ones. Feeling terrible afterwards, because it felt uncontrollable and not something that was sensible.
14. Experiencing flashbacks. Could involve serious trauma, or small events of being ridiculed.
15. Feeling constantly judged by other people. Worrying of falling short of their expectations.
16. Stomach is not working properly. Experiencing IBS; diarrhea, cramps, flatulence, or indigestion.
17. Extremely tired, all the time. Feeling as if anxiety is sucking the life out of oneself.
18. Suffering from terrible headaches. Manifested because of chronic stress and tension of feeling anxious.
19. Muscles hurting. Not related to illness or exercise – just being in pain.
20. Being a perfectionist. When work is not flawless, feeling like a failure.
21. Feeling overwhelmed. That tasks are impossible complete because they are too many, so there is no point trying.
22. Low self-confidence. An inability to accept compliments and feeling less worthy than others.
23. Anxious about work. Lying awake on Sunday night dreading going to work on Monday morning.
24. Over-analysing. Running things over in your mind, again and again to the point of exhaustion.
25. Getting a dry mouth. Not enough saliva because nervousness, especially in social situations.
The above symptoms can be experienced for a short time by anyone in times of stress, but if they have been present for a prolonged period it would be defined as having Anxiety. All these symptoms may not be present for those suffering Anxiety, but when they are, they are important to acknowledge. Being aware is vital fist step.
Because these symptoms are unpleasant it is common to want to push them away and not think of them. The curious paradox is that the more acceptance we have of anxious feelings, the less they affect us. The opposite is true as well, what we resist persists; when we push down unpleasant feelings they tend to grow in size.
Practicing mindfulness, noticing our feelings, our thoughts and reactions without any judgement, is an effective way to reduce anxiety.
Another effective way to reduce anxiety is regular exercise. Just a brisk walk for 25 minutes a day can greatly increase our level of endorphins and reduce anxiety.
In moments of severe anxiety or panic, a way to effectively calm the mind is to take deep, slow breaths and counting slowly to 10. This drastically reduces stress hormones throughout our entire body.
Above all, have hope. There is a way out of Anxiety and hope for change. There is support available and many professionals willing to help. Many professionals that help with anxiety have been helped themselves. They understand the pain and can offer effective tools to overcome it.
I am here, to answer any questions about Anxiety and offer further advice. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Change: With the Right Help It’s Possible!