What Is An Anxiety Disorder
If your symptoms of anxiety meet a certain criteria, your GP may diagnose you with an anxiety disorder. Some common anxiety disorders include:
- generalised anxiety disorder feeling anxious or worried most of the time
- panic disorder having regular panic attacks, often for no apparent reason
- post-traumatic stress disorder having anxiety problems after experiencing a very stressful or frightening event
- social anxiety disorder a fear or dread of social situations
- obsessive compulsive disorder having recurring unpleasant thoughts and performing certain routines to relieve anxiety
- phobias an overwhelming fear of a specific object, place, situation or feeling
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health problems. Up to 1 in 20 people in the UK have generalised anxiety disorder.
Recommended Books And Workbooks
- Self-Therapy Workbook: An Exercise Book For The IFS Process â Weissâ own workbook that outlines the IFS process in a step-by-step manner. Useful for therapists and individuals alike, it gives written exercises and sample answers, too.
- Illustrated Workbook for Self-Therapy for Your Inner Critic: Transforming Self-Criticism into Self-Confidence by Bonnie Weiss â an illustrated, comprehensive and easy-to-use set of IFS-based exercises for self-therapy. Simple and straightforward yet powerfully presented, itâs suitable for teens as well as adults.
- Self-Therapy For Your Inner Critic â by Earley and Weiss, both. More in-depth information on the Inner Critic, the different types, and how we can harness our Inner Champion to counteract attacks from the former.
- Self-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy by Jay Earley. Complex-seeming IFS concepts made simple and clear, as well as help sheets that you can use in your own self-therapy.
Who Is At Risk For Depression And Anxiety
Everyone is at risk of experiencing depression or anxiety at some point in their lives, but studies show that women and adults under the age of 35 are more likely to experience anxiety than other groups. The proportion of adults who experienced any symptoms of depression was highest among those ages 18 to 29.
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Try Some Aerobic Activity
During periods of anxiety, your body is filled with adrenaline. Putting that adrenaline toward aerobic activity can be a great way to improve your anxiety. Exercise has numerous advantages for controlling your anxiety symptoms:
- Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms.
- Exercise tires your muscles, reducing excess energy and tension.
- Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which can improve overall mood.
- Exercise is linked to healthier breathing.
- Exercise is a healthy distraction.
Aerobic activity, like light jogging or even fast walking, can be extremely effective at reducing the severity of your anxiety symptoms, as well as the anxiety itself.
Get A Handle On Stress
Stress can drive up levels of a brain chemical called cortisol, which has been found to be higher in folks with depression. There are lots of strategies for coping with stress, such as time management, meditation, and biofeedback training.
Some stress-relieving activities that you might want to incorporate into your daily life include:
- Deep breathing: A few minutes to slow your breathing and focus your attention on your body in the moment can help you get a better handle on your worries.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity is a great way to blow off steam.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: This process involves intentionally tightening muscles throughout the body, holding that tension for several counts, and then releasing that tension until the muscles are completely relaxed. With regular practice, you may be able to learn how to intentionally relax your body fairly quickly whenever you are feeling tense.
Learning to manage your stress takes time and practice. Talk to your doctor or therapist about other strategies you might try to minimize the stress and your response to it.
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Self Help For General Anxiety
There are many different ways to try to address your anxiety. The following are some of the most effective techniques for treating your generalized anxiety disorders. After we review these strategies, we’ll take a look at other self-help techniques for panic disorder, which often requires very different solutions than other forms of anxiety.
Learn How To Manage Your Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it’s often because your mind tends to spiral into negative thoughts – often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety.
For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include:
A Question Checklist
When you feel anxious, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you’ll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:
- Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
- What evidence is there that something is wrong?
- Is there a chance I’m blowing this out of proportion?
Affirmations not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include:
- I’m okay. This is just anxiety and I will get passed this .
- I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
- My anxiety won’t control me.
Getting Used to Physical Symptoms
The latter is known as “exposure therapy” and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers.
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Get A Handle On Your Household Chores
Depression can make it difficult to complete household chores, such as doing the dishes or paying bills.
But a pile of paperwork, the stack of dirty dishes, and floor covered in dirty clothes will only magnify your feelings of worthlessness.
Take control of your daily chores. Start small and work on one project at a time. Getting up and moving can help you start to feel better in itself. But, seeing your progress in the home can be key to helping you feel better.
Develop A Healthy Sleep Routine
Sleep has a huge effect on our physical and emotional health. Its likely that your previous sleep routine has gotten out of whack, which may affect everything from being able to go to school or work, to having the energy to see your friends. Get some tips to help you get into a sleeping routine.
We know it can be tough to take on any of these tips when youre feeling really bad. When it comes to self-help, strategies for feeling better are very individual different things work for different people. Not everyone will want to start doing yoga, for example, so keep trying different ideas if the first thing you try doesnt help.
Remember: it takes time to get better. Doing something for five minutes every day might feel useless at the time, but you could find that a few weeks later, your mood has improved a bit. Baby steps. Youve taken the first step in coming here, now keep it up.
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Try A Book Or An Online Course
When you’re diagnosed with GAD, your GP may recommend self-help treatments. They may do this before you have more intensive psychological therapy or medication.
Self-help treatment usually involves working from a book or computer programme.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a type of psychological treatment that can help you understand your condition. You will understand how your problems, thoughts, feelings and behaviour affect each other. This will help manage anxiety by changing negative or unhelpful thoughts and behaviour.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety can affect both your body and mind.
The effect on your mind can include:
- a feeling of dread or fearing the worst
- feeling on edge or panicky
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling detached from yourself or the world around you
Physical feelings can include:
- wobbly legs or pins and needles in your hands and feet
- shortness of breath or hyperventilating
- heart palpitations
- needing the toilet more or less often
- panic attacks
Anxiety can also affect your behaviour. You may withdraw from friends and family, feel unable to go to work, or avoid certain places. While avoiding situations can give you short-term relief, the anxiety often returns the next time youre in the situation. Avoiding it only reinforces the feeling of danger and never gives you a chance to find out whether your fears are true or not.
Some people with anxiety may appear to be fine on the outside while still having some of the symptoms listed above. You may have developed ways of hiding your anxiety so that other people dont notice it.
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Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating.
Procrastination may harm your productivity and leave you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
A study in 140 medical students in China linked procrastination to increased stress levels. The study also associated procrastination and delayed stress reactions with more negative parenting styles, including punishment and rejection .
If you find yourself procrastinating regularly, it may be helpful to get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time. Switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful in itself.
If you find yourself regularly procrastinating, staying on top of your to-do list may help ward off related stress.
Aromatherapy And Essential Oils
Essential oils, the extract from plants, have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety. Essential oils activate certain areas of your brain and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. They have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and improve sleep.
Recommended use includes diffusing, inhalation, or topical treatment which can aid with anxiety symptoms. When diffusing an essential oil or essential oil blend you will need an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with the desired scent. Inhalation is used by deeply smelling the essential oil straight from the bottle or by applying a drop or two of the oil on something such as a diffuser pad or lava bead that is connected to a bracelet, necklace, or even keychain. You can also place a drop or two of essential oil into your hands, rub them together, then cup your hands and take a few deep inhalations to get the desired effect.
You should be sure that the essential oils you use are pure oils and not mixed with chemicals. Some good brands to use include: Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy, Young Living, Doterra. You can do your own research to find a brand that will best work for you and your budget. Remember that a bottle of essential oil will last a long time since you typically use only a few drops at a time.
Essential oils that are great for treating anxiety include:
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Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety
For people with anxiety disorders, the anxiety is often persistent and can get worse over time. The symptoms may interfere with their daily life.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
- Excessive fear and worry
Three Ways To Beat Stress
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S To Realistic Thinking
Know what youre thinking or telling yourself. Most of us are not used to paying attention to the way we think, even though we are constantly affected by our thoughts. Paying attention to your thoughts can help you keep track of the kind of thoughts you typically have.
Once youre more aware of your thoughts, try to identify the thoughts that make you feel bad, and determine if theyre problematic thoughts that need to be challenged. For example, if you feel sad thinking about your grandmother whos been battling cancer, this thought doesnt need to be challenged because its absolutely normal to feel sad when thinking about a loved one suffering. But, if you feel sad after a friend cancels your lunch plans and you begin to think theres obviously something seriously wrong with you and no one likes you, this is problematic because this thought is extreme and not based on reality.
Pay attention to the shift in your emotion, no matter how small. When you notice yourself getting more upset or distressed, ask yourself, What am I telling myself right now? or What is making me feel upset?
Finally, after challenging a negative thought and evaluating it more objectively, try to come up with an alternative thought that is more balanced and realistic. Doing this can help lower your distress. In addition to coming up with realistic statements, try to come up with some quick and easy-to-remember coping statements and positive self-statements .
Focus On What You Can Change
Many times anxiety stems from fearing things that havent even happened and may never occur. For example, even though everything is okay, you may still worry about potential issues, such as losing your job, becoming ill, or the safety of your loved ones.
Life can be unpredictable and no matter how hard you try, you cant always control what happens. However, you can decide how you are going to deal with the unknown. You can turn your anxiety into a source of strength by letting go of fear and focusing on gratitude.
Replace your fears by changing your attitude about them. For example, stop fearing to lose your job and instead focus on how grateful you are to have a job. Come to work determined to do your best. Instead of fearing for your loved one’s safety, spend time with them, or express your appreciation of them. With a little practice, you can learn to pick up a more positive outlook.
At times, anxiety may actually be caused by a real circumstance in your life. Perhaps youre in a situation where it is realistic to be worried about losing your job due to high company layoffs or talks of downsizing.
In this situation, taking action may be the answer to reducing your anxiety. For example, you may need to update your resume and start job searching.
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Home Remedies: Anxiety And Stress
Stress is something that just about everyone knows well and experiences often. It’s that feeling of pressure, typically a result of too much to do and too little time to do it in. In a busy life, stress is almost unavoidable. Stress is caused by events that are positive new job, vacation or marriage as well as negative job loss, divorce or death in the family. Stress is not the event itself but rather, your psychological or physical reaction to the event.
Anxiety is a tense feeling that often accompanies stress. It’s typically directed toward the future toward something that may happen soon. Some Anxiety can motivate you or help yo respond to danger. However, if you have ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities and makes it hard to enjoy life, then anxiety can be a problem.
Lifestyle and home remedies:
Art and music therapy can be helpful. You can use drawing, painting, clay and sculpture to express you inner thought and emotions when talking about them is difficult. The creation and interpretations of art is thought to therapeutic. Listening to or playing music even during medical procedures a]has also been shown to have relaxing and calming effects.
To cope with an anxiety disorder, here are things to consider:
There’s no way to predict for certain what will cause someone to develop an anxiety disorder, but you can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms if you’re anxious:
Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers
Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.
When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you cant limit it like if its due to a stressful work environment that you cant currently change using other coping techniques may help.
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Try Supplements Or Change Your Diet
However, it can take a few months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If youre taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor as there can be adverse reactions.