It’s Not All In Your Head
One of the problems people have with physical symptoms of anxiety is that they tend to expect that anxiety symptoms should just be thoughts and emotions, not physical sensations. They often believe that if they have a physical symptom, it means they have a physical problem. Nothing could be further from the truth! Your mind and your body are linked together in so many ways that it doesn’t really make much sense to think of them as separate structures.
If you watch someone eat a lemon, you’ll probably find yourself salivating if you read a scary book you might find your heart racing if I asked you not to yawn while you read this, you’d probably find yourself yawning, or struggling to suppress a yawn if you see an attractive member of the opposite sex across the room, your body will respond even if that person is completely unavailable to you and so on.
Don’t be confused by that old saw “it’s all in your head”. Anxiety symptoms will be experienced throughout your body as well.
Take A Mental Step Back
Anxiety tends to be focused on the future, so instead, try to focus on the present. Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, suggests that you ask yourself what is happening and what, if anything, needs to be done right now. If nothing needs to be done now, make a conscious decision to revisit the situation later in the day, when you are calmer.
What Are Anxiety Symptoms
An emotion like fear, or high anxiety, is usually pretty obvious. You don’t need me to tell you when you’re afraid.
What you might not notice are the other anxiety symptoms that build your emotions of fear and chronic anxiety. You might not even think of them as anxiety symptoms.
The important symptoms to notice are:
Thoughts: what you think
Physical sensations: what you feel
Behaviors: what you do
The first step in responding to a moment of high anxiety is to recognize and identify these symptoms. You might get so caught up in the feeling of fear that you don’t notice its different parts. If so, you can work on becoming more aware of these symptoms.
Or, you might be aware of them, but want to ignore them, in the hope that what you don’t notice won’t bother you. If this is the case, you have been tricked into using distraction. You may have even been encouraged to do this by a well meaning therapist or friend, or perhaps you read it in a book. It’s unfortunate, but you have probably been misled. Avoiding or distracting from your chronic anxiety symptoms will usually lead you to more, not less, trouble.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these symptom types. After that, I’ll have some suggestions about how to structure your response to anxiety.
Also Check: How To Overcome Overwhelming Anxiety
What Is An Anxiety Attack
Anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks, are episodes of intense panic or fear. They usually occur suddenly and without warning. Sometimes theres an obvious triggergetting stuck in an elevator, for example, or thinking about the big speech you have to givebut in other cases, the attacks come out of the blue.
Anxiety attacks usually peak within 10 minutes, and they rarely last more than 30 minutes. But during that short time, you may experience terror so severe that you feel as if youre about to die or totally lose control. The physical symptoms are themselves so frightening that many people think theyre having a heart attack. After an anxiety attack is over, you may worry about having another one, particularly in a public place where help isnt available or you cant easily escape.
Learn Strategies To Immediately Deal With Symptoms
Educate yourself by learning strategies to immediately deal with anxiety symptoms. The National Institute of Anxiety and Stress has just made available free information that can help you reduce anxiety symptoms quickly, easily, and effectively.
This free information contains audio and workbook exercises that show you:
- how to stop intense anxiety using a simple three-step formula
- how to deal with anxiety symptoms quickly
- what to do when youre having a panic attack
Read Also: How Long Does It Take For Anxiety To Go Away
Symptoms Of High Cortisol Levels
According to research done by the Genetics Learning Science Center, the long-term danger of having high cortisol is that it activates the fight-or-flight response, which temporarily shuts down normal reproductive, digestive and immune functions. The body targets these systems for shutdown because it doesnt need them for immediate survival.
Sensory nerve cells pass the perception of a threat, or stress, from the environment to the hypothalamus in the brain. This signals the pituitary and primary adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. If this cycle goes on for too long, someone becomes more susceptible to all sorts of illnesses, infections and hormonal problems.
Some clues that may signal youre living with high cortisol levels include:
- weight gain, especially around the abdomen/stomach
- a puffy, flushed face
- higher susceptibility to infections
Talk To Someone Who Gets It
If your feelings of anxiety are making it hard to function, you should speak to a health professional. But talking to friends can also help. I have friends who have an anxiety disorder too. When Im feeling really bad, I send them a message telling them how Im feeling.
They might have a new hack I can try, or they can point out something that might have acted as a trigger. But sometimes its just nice to vent to someone who knows how it feels to be in my shoes.
Don’t Miss: How To Help A 5 Year Old With Separation Anxiety
S To Get Your Cortisol Levels Under Control & Turn Down The Stress
Do you find yourself overly stressed, tired and even notice weight gain despite not changing your diet or workout frequency? Your cortisol levels may be out of whack. More specifically, they may be too high.
Cortisol is often called the primary stress hormone because its one of the main hormones we release when were under any sort of pressure and our evolutionary-based fight or flight response kicks into gear. Although most think of cortisol as a bad thing such as contributing to acne, weight gain or high blood pressure theres actually a lot more to cortisol levels than just our stress response and its unwanted symptoms. We need it to live.
While producing cortisol is a necessity for life and helps keep us motivated, awake and responsive to our environment, maintaining abnormally high circulating cortisol levels can become dangerous and contribute to long-term problems. Long-term use of corticosteroids and chronic stress are two of the biggest contributors to high cortisol. Chronic, high cortisol production is tied to symptoms and ailments including weight gain, anxiety, sleep disorders, hormonal imbalances and fertility problems, in addition to many other problems.
The good news is there are many natural ways to get your cortisol levels in check. For instance, adaptogen herbs are known to lower cortisol, and thats just the tip of the iceberg. Read on for more ways to lower high cortisol levels naturally.
Practicing Relaxation And Mindfulness
One of the best ways to control catastrophic thinking and other symptoms of anxiety is to start practicing relaxation and mindfulness. Just as high levels of anxiety can impact the function of the brain, so can meditation. Through meditation, you can become more mindful of your thought patterns and when they are becoming unhealthy. Other skills that come from meditation include breaking negative thought patterns, improving control of random thoughts, and decreasing the tendency to worry. Meditation as a form of practicing relaxation and mindfulness can also help with depression. It releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is believed to be essential for feelings of happiness.
Reveal another helpful remedy for anxiety and depression now.
Read Also: How To Get Over Relationship Anxiety
How To Deal With Anxiety
Treatments for anxiety include prescription drugs, counseling, meditation and exercise. Experts recommend a combination of these modalities. Experiencing some anxiety when facing difficult decisions or life changes is normal, but when that anxiety interferes with daily life it becomes a disorder.
Board-certified physicians medically review Drugwatch content to ensure its accuracy and quality.
Drugwatch partners with Physicians Review Network Inc. to enlist specialists. PRN is a nationally recognized leader in providing independent medical reviews.
Reviewer specialties include internal medicine, gastroenterology, oncology, orthopedic surgery and psychiatry.
About 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. This makes anxiety disorders the most common mental illness in America.
Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of anxiety that go beyond worrying about everyday things like problems at work or school or dealing with life changes. People with anxiety disorders may have constant, uncontrollable fear that interferes with their lives.
Breathing and meditation techniques can manage anxiety and panic attacks when practiced regularly.
Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness, according to The American Institute of Stress.
Strategies For Coping With High
The good news for high-functioning anxiety sufferers is that things can be turned around in a hurry. By making some changes in the way they think and behave, they can soon bridge the gap that separates them from a healthier, more satisfying lifestyle.
To help control their anxiety and restore their freedom and peace of mind, people with high-functioning anxiety should:
You May Like: What Anxiety Disorder Do I Have
Focus On The Positive By Having Students Keep A Gratitude Journal
The brain is incapable of producing anxious thoughts while it is producing positive thoughts stemming from gratitude. If you can trigger a positive train of thought, you can sometimes derail the anxiety. I knew a teacher who had his fifth graders keep gratitude journals, and every day they would record at least one thing they were thankful for. When his students seemed overwhelmed by negativity or mired in anxiety, hed encourage them to reread their journals.
What To Do When Your Anxiety Becomes Debilitating
Anxiety is an intrinsic human emotion that everyone experiences occasionally even people who are usually calm, cool, and collected know what its like to feel anxious, nervous, or worried in stressful or unpredictable situations that take them out of their comfort zone.
But for about 40 million adults in the United States, anxiety isnt just another routine emotion, its a deep-seated, overpowering disorder that causes distress and interferes with life.
Here at EXIS Recovery, we know just how disruptive uncontrolled anxiety can be: It can steal your sense of control, undermine your confidence, trigger intense physical symptoms, and deplete your energy. Luckily, you can reclaim your life from debilitating anxiety heres how.
Don’t Miss: What Causes Anxiety Panic Attacks
Responding To Physical Sensations
How can you best respond to these kind of symptoms? First, have them evaluated by your physician, once, if you have not already done so. If the results indicate that you dont have any physical disorder causing them, thats usually an indication that they are anxiety symptoms. If there is something clearly ambiguous about the results which indicates the need for a second opinion, then get one. But be wary of embarking on a long search for a physical explanation in the absence of any suchevidence. It’s easy to waste a lot of time and money, hoping to find a physical problem that isn’t there.
Be aware that if your physician finds no physical cause for your symptoms, he or she will likely offer you some form of medication for anxiety. Physicians don’t do this because this is the best method. They do this because they generally don’t have much training in mental health, and rely on the tools they know best, medications. See the article, First Steps for information about treatment options.
Again, train yourself to respond NOT:
1. Notice you have a sensation
2. Observe and review the sensation
3. Then take whatever action you deem beneficial
Give Yourself The Gift Of A Healthy Lifestyle
Engage in physical activity regularly. Do what you enjoy walk, swim, ride a bike or jog to get your muscles going. Letting go of the tension in your body will help you feel better.
Relaxing for short periods during your workday, at night and on weekends may help lower your blood pressure. Another great stress-buster is to get regular physical activity.
You May Like: How Can You Help Someone With Social Anxiety
Make These Foods A Part Of Your Anti
You might be surprised to learn that specific foods have been shown to reduce anxiety.
- In mice, diets low in magnesium were found to increase anxiety-related behaviors. Foods naturally rich in magnesium may, therefore, help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety.
- Other foods, including fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids. A study completed on medical students in 2011 was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety. . Prior to the study, omega-3 fatty acids had been linked to improving depression only.
- A study in the journal Psychiatry Research suggested a link between probiotic foods and a lowering of social anxiety. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir was linked with fewer symptoms.
- Asparagus, known widely to be a healthy vegetable. Based on research, the Chinese government approved the use of an asparagus extract as a natural functional food and beverage ingredient due to its anti-anxiety properties.
- Foods rich in B vitamins, such as avocado and almonds
- These “feel good” foods spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. They are a safe and easy first step in managing anxiety.