In a nutshell anxiety is fear on steroids! We’ve all experienced anxiety, and just like other emotions, it can either serve or cripple us. For example, helpful anxiety keeps us from danger. Our powerful brain perceives what is happening and sends signals to prepare our body with hormones such as adrenaline. Unhelpful anxiety is the fear of being hurt or being made to suffer loss, embarrassment and pain. So, whether the threat is real or perceived, our brain is triggered just the same.
Some symptoms of a person experiencing anxiety are hyper-alertness, irritability, being on edge and over-dependent. They may have difficulty sleeping, talk a lot and have poor memory and concentration. Some psychical symptoms can include nausea, butterflies, excessive perspiration, muscle tension headaches, hyperventilation, sighing, high blood pressure and fainting episodes, just to name a few. The causes of anxiety are complex however the major ones are childhood or current traumas, the fear of failure, poverty, ill-health and death.
If general anxiety is a part of life, then how do we navigate it?
- Speak with your GP about your anxiety. Together you can discuss your options and develop an anxiety management plan.
- Proper nutrition is essential to manage anxiety and to maintain general health. Medical research is becoming clear that our diet affects our mental and physical well-being.
- Get moving by engaging in physical exercise and activities
- Journaling can be helpful to create awareness and understand certain triggers. This can be done daily or weekly.
- A registered counsellor who can offer Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which looks at thought patterns and how those thought patterns affect one’s behaviour. The counselling plan may also include relaxation training.
On a finishing note, if you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety, there are options available. It may be daunting to speak out, but I wonder if it’s worth it in the long run.