Chances are if you’re not a psychologist or an individual dealing with anxiety, then the only information you have on the disorder is what you’ve seen portrayed in the media.
Most media portrayals of mental illnesses are overly stereotypical, casting a character with anxiety as a person who is either dangerous, incompetent, or weak, which couldn’t be further than the truth.
A large percentage of the population suffers from a type of mental illness, whether it’s anxiety or depression.
Spreading awareness and acknowledging your disorder is the first step in learning how to overcome it.
What Is an Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a normal emotion, just like happiness and anger.
When you feel anxious, it’s just the brains’ way of reacting to stress and alerting you of any potential danger, sort of like a fight or flight response.
Occasionally feeling anxious is perfectly normal, but having an anxiety disorder can negatively affect job performance, school work, and personal relationships.
Anxiety disorders cause overwhelming fear and anxiety, making people want to avoid any social situations, such as a family gathering, to evade triggering their symptoms.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with its own set of fears.
Generalized anxiety disorder involves a person feeling excessive, unrealistic worry with little to no reason, which interferes with how they accomplish daily activities.
A social anxiety disorder is best described as social phobia.
A person would feel overly self-conscious and discomforted about being in social situations, believing that they will do something that will humiliate or embarrass them.
Most people with this type of disorder will try to avoid social interaction or endure it with incredible amounts of stress.
A panic disorder is another type of anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurring and unexpected episodes of intense fear. Many people who experience panic attacks also endure physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
What Are Anxiety Attacks
Similar to panic attacks, anxiety attacks are sudden and intense feelings of fear.
However, unlike panic attacks, which can happen without any previous triggers, anxiety attacks are mostly related to a specific event or situation.
These episodes occur suddenly and without warning but last no longer than 30 minutes. During this time, the person may experience terror so severe that they may feel like they’re about to lose complete control.
In addition to the emotional distress that people experience during anxiety attacks, there are physical symptoms as well, some of them being felt so severely that the individual feels like they’re having a heart attack.
Some of the physical symptoms include:
- Chest pain and heart palpitations
- Choking sensations and trouble breathing
- Nausea or stomach cramps
- Hot flashes or chills
Of course, each person’s experiences are different, some experiencing one or two symptoms while others suffer more severe symptoms for longer periods.
How to Cope With Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety is a stress reaction, whether it’s stress about a social event or falling behind on your work.
Learning how to cope and deal with stress will greatly decrease the amount of anxiety a person feels daily.
To begin your journey on managing your stress, start by taking a break from everything. Although this may be challenging, it’s important to prioritize your mental health above all else.
Create a healthy schedule that includes having time for yourself away from things that may trigger your anxiety. This time away can be used to do activities you enjoy, which can act as a temporary break from the outside world.
Make sure you’re eating healthy and exercising since well-nourished bodies are able to cope better in stressful situations.
After being under constant worry, your body will be exhausted, so having a proper sleep schedule in place will help your body tolerate stress easier.
Practicing meditation or other relaxation techniques can greatly help manage anxiety in stressful situations. Breathing exercises are also known to be able to calm people down when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
Talk to a Counselor
Negative and overwhelming thoughts make it hard to make positive changes in your life, but that doesn’t mean it’s unachievable.
Many people don’t feel comfortable asking friends and family for help, which is why our therapists and counselors at Waystone Psychology are here.
Although self-help coping strategies can be incredibly effective, if your constant worrying, stress, and fear are not decreasing, it’s best to seek professional help.
Our counselors are here to help you cope with your anxiety and come up with techniques that will help you better manage any profound thoughts and feelings.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our counselors and how they can help you start your journey.