How Do I Know If I Need Help
Fear and anxiety can affect all of us every now and then. It is only when it is severe and long-lasting that doctors class it as a mental health problem. If you feel anxious all the time for several weeks, or if it feels like your fears are taking over your life, then its a good idea to ask your doctor for help, or try one of the websites or numbers listed at the back of this booklet. The same is true if a phobia is causing problems in your daily life, or if you are experiencing panic attacks.
Types Of Anxiety Disorder
As noted above, anxiety can range from mild to severe and can come and go over time. For some anxious thoughts may feel like a relatively minor issue or may present as troublesome, frustrating, or annoying. Or it may feel completely overwhelming and a real detriment to your daily life.
You may have anxiety over one specific thing or a more general kind of anxiety that extends into many facets of your life. For some people, anxiety causes them to focus more inward, others become less introverted and cope by distracting themselves with more extroverted behaviors. However, introverts tend to experience more anxiety, possibly because they may be more in tune with their inner life and anxiety level.
For many people, anxiety is relatively manageable, but others feel ruled or limited by it. How we cope with our anxiety has a big role in how impactful it becomes. For some, anxiety tips over from typical nervousness or apprehension into more profound anxiety disorders. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 43% of people with anxiety have mild cases, 33% have moderate anxiety, and almost 23% have a severe prognosis.
How Anxiety Overwhelms The Mind
We’ll get into the actual feelings of being overwhelmed in a moment, but what’s perhaps most telling about anxiety is that it actually overwhelms the brain in ways you may not even realize.
Your brain has limited resources – chemicals that it uses to send messages from one part of the brain to the other. During periods of intense anxiety, the brain is so overwhelmed that it moves those resources to the areas of the body that it thinks need it most. For example, one of the reasons that some people need to urinate when they are scared is because the chemicals in your brain move away from the part of the mind that controls urination and towards other parts of the brain that control fight or flight.
At its most chemical level, anxiety even affects the way neurotransmitters and hormones are produced, possibly leading to changes in the way you think and feel. When we talk about anxiety feeling overwhelming, it should be remembered that it’s not just the way you feel. Anxiety really does have many overwhelming qualities, and can genuinely overwhelm your mind in many ways.
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Take A Deep Breath And Change Your Posture
When youre stressed, certain things happen to your body. You start to breath more shallow, you hunch over, you immediately tense up, and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more.
To counter this, straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting I got this!
Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?
What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder
This condition mostly happens to children or teens, who may worry about being away from their parents. Children with separation anxiety disorder may fear that their parents will be hurt in some way or not come back as promised. It happens a lot in preschoolers. But older children and adults who experience a stressful event may have separation anxiety disorder as well.
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How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated
An anxiety disorder is like any other health problem that requires treatment. You cant will it away. Its not a matter of self-discipline or attitude. Researchers have made a lot of progress in the last few decades in treating mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider will tailor a treatment plan that works for you. Your plan may combine medication and psychotherapy.
Coping With Anxiety To Live A Better Life
You dont have to live with constant, crippling anxiety. Yes, this is a chronic condition that may resolve only to return years later, but anxiety disorder is manageable. It responds well to professional residential treatment for anxiety disorders and good coping mechanisms.
Life can be betterit can even be great againif you seek the help you need and learn to manage anxiety. You learn to stop anxiety attacks before they get out of control, to change your life to minimize stress and anxiety, and to make healthy lifestyle choices that promote good mental health.
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How Do I Know If My Child Has An Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety-related problems in children share four common features. The anxiety:
- Is typically a fear or fixation that interferes with the ability to enjoy life, get through the day or complete tasks.
- Is puzzling to both the child and parents.
- Does not improve after logical explanations to address the worries.
- Is treatable.
What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have an anxiety disorder, ask your provider:
- Whats the best treatment for me?
- Do I need medication? What type?
- How long should I take medication?
- What type of psychotherapy will work best?
- What else can I do to manage my symptoms?
- What other conditions am I at risk for?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An anxiety disorder can make it difficult to get through your day. Anxiety disorder symptoms include feelings of nervousness, panic and fear. You may also have physical symptoms such as sweating and a rapid heartbeat. But you dont need to live like this. Several effective anxiety disorder treatments are available. Talk to your healthcare provider to figure out your diagnosis and the best treatment plan. Often, treatment combines medications and therapy. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, together with CBT, can help you feel your best.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
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Turn Towards Physical Sensations
When you’re emotionally overwhelmed, it’s easy to start ruminating on negative thoughts and self-talk.
“In an emotional crisis, it’s important to try to catch yourself from going down this wormhole because it will only make you feel worse. You can do this by bringing your attention to your body and what emotions you are actually feeling,” says Guy.To check-in with your body, Guy recommends following these steps:
“A bonus is that by noticing the sensations and tension in the body, you are also practicing mindfulness which can help calm you down when distressed by helping you focus on the present moment,” says Guy.
What Makes You Feel Overwhelmed
Before you can fix something, you need to know what causes it to break in the first place. You cant heal an overwhelmed situation by simply getting rid of the symptom. If you want to get rid of feeling overwhelming, you must fix the cause.
There are a couple of reasons why you feel overwhelmed, below are some of them
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Techniques To Reduce Unwanted Thoughts
Remember, all anxiety disorders can have unwanted thoughts. Those with social phobia often imagine disasters before and during social events. Those with PTSD often flashback to the event that caused them stress. Those with panic disorder are constantly thinking about their health, etc. All of these are types of unwanted thoughts, and affect those with all types of anxiety.
There are interesting and effective strategies that can reduce the frequency of your unwanted thoughts. They include:
How Do I Stop Anxiety
What helps one person rein in their anxiety may not work for another. Its important to try a variety of techniques until you find the right ones for you. However, the important part is seeing that while some of your anxiety may be hardwired or conditioned into your brain, you also have agency over your anxious thoughts and reactions. And you can make changes to control, lesson, or fight your anxiety.
Also, note that rarely will these techniques work instantaneously or perfectly. Overcoming anxiety is a learning process and will take effort and commitment. So, remember to give yourself grace and time while you learn and practice these strategies.
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What Causes Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:
- Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
- Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.
How Does Psychotherapy Treat Anxiety Disorders
Psychotherapy, or counseling, helps you deal with your emotional response to the illness. A mental health provider talks through strategies to help you better understand and manage the disorder. Approaches include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common type of psychotherapy used with anxiety disorders. CBT for anxiety teaches you to recognize thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings. You then work on changing them.
- Exposure therapy focuses on dealing with the fears behind the anxiety disorder. It helps you engage with activities or situations you may have been avoiding. Your provider may also use relaxation exercises and imagery with exposure therapy.
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Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing down whats making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.
These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder when theyre in a bind too!
However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldnt be the only kind of treatment you employ. Youll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.
Dont Overlook The Signs Of Feeling Overwhelmed At Work
When Sarah was hired as property manager of a real estate investment firm, she was thrilled. And for a while, the busy workload made her feel invigorated and important. But after about two years, the demanding residents, unreasonable board members, and a barely under control work schedule turned her dream job into a job she had become to dread. And just like a rubber band thats pulled too tightly, she snapped.
She realizes now that there had been signs all along indicating that she was becoming overwhelmed at work. For instance, trouble sleeping, pounding headaches, and unhealthy eating habits she had developedall clear signs of her inability to understand and reduce the stress in her life.
When individuals dont have the appropriate coping skills for their everyday stress, or the pressure they are under daily becomes too much to bear for their usual coping mechanisms, they are at risk of becoming overloaded. But all is not lost because the good news is, it doesnt have to be like that.
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Why Wont My Fear Go Away And Leave Me Feeling Normal Again
Fear may be a one-off feeling when you are faced with something unfamiliar.
But it can also be an everyday, long-lasting problem even if you cant put your finger on why. Some people feel a constant sense of anxiety all the time, without any particular trigger.
There are plenty of triggers for fear in everyday life, and you cant always work out exactly why you are frightened or how likely you are to be harmed. Even if you can see how out of proportion a fear is, the emotional part of your brain keeps sending danger signals to your body.
Sometimes you need mental and physical ways of tackling fear.
Public Events Or Performances
Public speaking, talking in front of your boss, performing in a competition, or even just reading aloud is a common trigger of anxiety. If your job or hobbies require this, your doctor or therapist can work with you to learn ways to be more comfortable in these settings.
Also, positive reinforcements from friends and colleagues can help you feel more comfortable and confident.
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More On How To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
Everyone assumes that being more productive is simply about getting more done in less time. If you are a productive person, you definitely accomplish more in months than many people do in years. This is why so many strive to learn how to be productive.
However, productivity is more of a way of being. You could be doing less, and, at the same time, be more productive. What do you think of when you think about being more productive in your life?
On your search for being more productive, you are likely to come across a wealth of information on different tools, techniques, and tips to employ. Most of the time, it may seem like common sense however, common sense is definitely not common practice, and this is why many individuals struggle to increase their productivity.
Most of what you will read will improve your results, but another contributing factor is that some of the suggestions just dont seem to resonate with people or cannot be easily applied.
I am not going to tell you where you can buy a magic pill to take away any effort you need to make to achieve what you want, but I am going to share with you 4 tiny tweaks that really work as you learn how to be productive.
It is not only about applying the best practices but also applying yourself more and in different ways.