What is Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders involve excessive and irrational fear or worry that can interfere with daily life.

These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.

 

What does anxiety feel like/symptoms?

Anxiety can manifest in various ways, both emotionally and physiologically. The experiences of anxiety can vary from person to person, here are some common emotional and physiological sensations associated with anxiety:

Emotional sensations of anxiety:

  • Excessive worry or fear: Feeling overwhelmed by persistent, irrational worries or experiencing a sense of impending doom.
  • Restlessness: Difficulty staying still or feeling a sense of unease or agitation.
  • Irritability: Being easily provoked, having a short temper, or feeling on edge.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Finding it challenging to focus or experiencing a sense of mental fog.
  • Racing thoughts: Thoughts may feel rapid, intrusive, or difficult to control.
  • Sense of dread: Feeling a deep-seated sense of fear or apprehension without a specific cause.

 

Physiological sensations of anxiety:

  • Increased heart rate: Feeling your heart pounding or racing.
  • Shortness of breath: Experiencing difficulty breathing or a sensation of breathlessness.
  • Chest tightness: Feeling a constriction or pressure in the chest area.
  • Sweating: Experiencing excessive sweating, even in non-strenuous situations.
  • Muscle tension: Feeling muscle tightness, often in the neck, shoulders, or jaw.
  • Upset stomach: Nausea, stomach discomfort, or butterflies in the stomach.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or lacking energy due to the physical and emotional strain of anxiety.

How to reduce symptoms of anxiety

Reducing symptoms of anxiety can be a multifaceted process, and different techniques work for different individuals. Here are some strategies that may help:

  • Deep breathing exercises: Practice deep, slow breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This can help activate the body’s relaxation response.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Systematically tense and then relax each muscle group in your body to release tension and promote relaxation. Exercise regularly: Engage in physical activities that you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, or yoga, as exercise can help reduce anxiety symptoms and promote a sense of well-being.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: Identify and challenge negative or irrational thoughts contributing to your anxiety. Replace them with more realistic and positive thoughts.
  • Practice mindfulness or meditation: Engage in activities that promote present-moment awareness, such as meditation or mindfulness exercises, to help calm the mind and reduce anxiety.
  • Establish a routine: Create a structured daily routine to provide a sense of stability and reduce uncertainty, which can contribute to anxiety.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Limit or avoid their consumption, particularly when feeling anxious.
  • Get adequate sleep: Prioritize good sleep hygiene by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Seek support: Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional for support. Talking about your feelings and concerns can help alleviate anxiety.
  • Consider therapy or counseling: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other forms of therapy can provide effective strategies for managing anxiety and addressing its underlying causes.