We all know that stress can kill, but did you know that anxiety can do just as much damage? Have you ever experienced shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat to the point that you can feel the palpitations coming out of your chest and feel them in your ears as well? You may have thought you were having a heart attack when you were having an anxiety attack all along. If you suffer from anxiety disorders, these symptoms sound all too familiar, and the first step to overcoming them is learning to manage them.
Anxiety is characterized as extreme reactions to fearful situations. When someone follows you into a dark alley, those anxious feelings of a racing heartbeat and sweaty palms give way to heightened senses and a rush of adrenalin that can save your life. This is the fight or flight syndrome.
In the case of frequent anxiety, the fearful feelings are dread of a particular situation and not the situation itself. For instance, getting caught in traffic can cause an anxiety attack over what might happen when you get to work late. Starting a new job can bring on anxiety attacks. The fear of the unknown can easily bring on an attack, and many individuals suffer from it these days.
Although we may experience panic or anxiety in small ways, they are considered normal, like the fight or flight example. We may begin to feel panicky in new situations, but the feelings or symptoms stop when all is well, and the fear subsides. However, for someone with chronic anxiety, this is not the case. Every situation that brings on these symptoms is not life-threatening. More than likely, it is an extremely stressful situation that has brought on the anxiety to deal with it. Unchecked anxiety of this type can lead to depression.
If you suffer from anxiety attacks on occasion or a more frequent anxiety disorder, there are steps you can take to keep your anxiety under control, below are just a few:
- Seek professional help – Self-diagnosis of any physical or mental condition is unwise and can be dangerous. A professional psychologist can help you understand your anxiety and prescribe medication or other effective techniques.
- Sleep – this is essential for the body to heal and repair itself. Most individuals need 6 to 8 hours of sleep. If you feel tired after sleeping, chances are you did not reach the necessary REM stage for your body to feel completely rested. Be sure to follow a routine each night to train your body to start to unwind so you can get the necessary sleep.
- Daily or consistent exercise – exercise is needed to keep the body functioning at its optimum level. Oxygen is needed for the brain, which will help increase the focus needed to solve problems when they should arise.
- Relax and meditate – finding a form of relaxation is necessary for the body to unwind. Yoga is an exercise that involves quieting the mind and controlling your breathing. Simple mediation, such as taking 5 minutes to clear your mind every day, can work wonders in the fight against anxiety.
- Avoid alcohol – You may think that a glass of wine is relaxing your tension, but alcohol is a depressant. Intense situations, you could rely too heavily on it and gain another problem in the process.
There is no need to suffer this terrible condition in silence. Anxiety can come into your life at any time; it’s normal. However, when the anxiety becomes frequent, you could be at risk for more serious conditions. If you feel your anxiety is starting to take over your life or increasingly causing you problems, seek professional help immediately.