Nowadays, anxiety is overwhelmingly present around us. Worrying about our children when they’re away from us always make us anxious. When we needed to submit our report to the boss ‘yesterday,’ we’d get pretty anxious, right? Or when our monthly bills are piling up because we still need a few hours overtime to be able to pay up, that is one hell of a reason to feel anxious.
With countless sources of anxiety, we should learn the habit of coping with it naturally, because the longer the state of anxiety continues, the more we try to find other ways to fight the stress, even to the point of acquiring negative diversions such as food and alcohol addiction which would need more help.
There are other countless reasons for anxiety to arise, and most of them are inevitable. How can we manage our lives with these anxieties tagging along?
Bad versus Good Anxiety
Have you noticed that some types of anxiety motivate you to do better? Like when you’re getting ready for a job interview, you’d get anxious and practice more answers and try to look prettier. That’s a safe kind of anxiety that tends to help you do more. But what about anxiety due to fear of not being harmed, not being able to finish a job on time, or news about the death of a loved one? Now, that’s different. The anxious person wouldn’t possibly know how to respond appropriately to these triggers and this might pose a danger to him or her.
When Does Worry Turn into an Anxiety?
“When we are imbalanced, we develop various types of difficulties, including psychological and/or physical symptoms, and we begin to use ineffective or damaging coping mechanisms.” Jennifer Bradley, Psy.D., HSPP, Clinical Psychologist said.
The body knows when anxiety starts to creep in. You’ll have difficulty sleeping, your eating habits change, and you can’t decide for yourself. You might experience stomach pains, headaches, nausea, and your heart just keeps pounding (see more What to Expect) . That’s when worry becomes a bigger syndrome.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety can be classified into different categories, all of which interfere with life’s daily activities. Let us discuss each one of them here.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder – the most common type of anxiety, GAD is characterized by exaggerated worry and constant mental and physical tension.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)- it is a mental condition wherein the individual feels the urge to do things over and over again. These compulsions are done through rituals or routines, such as constant hand washing, checking of doors and locks, excessive cleaning of toilets, arranging things, and repetitive tapping of the fingers. People with OCD are always afraid of being harmed because of contamination, and they are often tense and worried all the time.
- Panic Disorder-the hallmark of panic disorder is overwhelming fear that happens suddenly and lasts for minutes, a term referred to as a panic attack. People with this type of anxiety are constantly afraid of disaster and manifest strong physical reactions when they are experiencing an attack. Irregular heartbeat and sweating are usual symptoms of a panic attack.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- PTSD develops in an individual who has gone through a frightening event, a life-threatening accident or an untimely demise of a loved one. They often recall this event in their mind and are haunted by it through flashbacks and nightmares. Military personnel who have gone to war are examples of individuals who suffer from PTSD.
- Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder- “I hate being around people.” That is one of most common things that individuals with a social phobia say. They are very self-conscious and are terrified of being humiliated, thus they do not have friends and are often alone, even if deep inside they don’t want to be. When social phobias become excessive, they cause a serious disruption on the individual’s life.
How to Cope with Anxiety Disorders Naturally
You find out you have an anxiety disorder. Now what? Must you go to the doctor and take something for it right away? Or are there natural methods that one can try before choosing medical treatments?
While the latter plays an important role in the recovery of individuals with anxiety disorders, there are some simple and natural ways that you can try to do to help you cope with your mental health condition.
- Learn to control your thoughts. When you think positively, you’re already one step ahead of your illness. Think about happy thoughts and challenge your negative thoughts. Focus on your goal to recover. If a thought doesn’t help you reach that goal, change that thought, or better yet, get rid of that thought. It takes practice, but you’ll get there.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Individuals with anxiety disorders should learn some relaxation routines that they can do anytime and anywhere. This can greatly reduce their anxiety levels, further improving their general well-being. Deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation exercises are two common techniques that they can do by themselves. Other techniques may be found in Bounty.com. “Deep breathing encourages our body’s relaxation response. Other calming and stress-reducing activities include progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, Tai chi and yoga,” says Marla W. Deibler, PsyD.
- Talk it out. A burden shared with someone often becomes lighter. Share your fears with a family member, a friend, or a therapist. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can also play an important role in alleviating or eliminating the effects of anxiety. It doesn’t only deal with talking to a therapist about your fears and problems but finding the best solutions as well.
- Deal with the fear. This is probably a very difficult thing to do, but you may want to try it out. According to Kristine Tye, MA, LMFT, “Anxiety can direct you to see that something about a situation is too important to ignore.” Just slowly expose yourself to the thing that scares you. If you’re afraid of people, attend big parties. If you hate dark places, get accustomed to one a few minutes of your day. Just take a deep breath and face the problem. Take a risk. Be happy.