Things To Do If You Feel Anxious
Everyone goes through periods of feeling anxious and worried. After all, its a normal human experience. And whether youre dealing with occasional bouts of anxiety or trying to manage excessive worries, doubts, and fears, having tools to help you calm your mind and body can reduce the intensity and duration of these feelings.
Here are nine strategies that can relax your mind, ease your anxiety, and help you regain control of your thoughts so that you can feel better.
When To Seek Professional Help
While self-help coping strategies can be very effective, if your worries, fears, or anxiety attacks have become so great that theyre causing extreme distress or disrupting your daily routine, its important to seek professional help.
If youre experiencing a lot of physical symptoms, you should start by getting a medical checkup. Your doctor can check to make sure that your anxiety isnt caused by a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, hypoglycemia, or asthma. Since certain drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, your doctor will also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs youre taking.
If your physician rules out a medical cause, the next step is to consult with a therapist who has experience treating anxiety disorders. The therapist will work with you to determine the cause and type of your disorder and devise a course of treatment.
Consider What Your Anxiety Is Telling You
Feeling anxious isnt always a bad thing. In fact, anxious thoughts could be your bodys way of giving you valuable information. The next time you feel worry, fear, stress, or overwhelming thoughts of dread, stop, and take a deep breath. Instead of defaulting to this is my anxiety talking, reframe how you view the situation and ask yourself if your body is trying to tell you something. Do you need to slow down? Maybe youre getting sick, and your body is responding with stress. Or maybe, there is a real threat, and you need to take action.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Sleep Anxiety
How Gad Is Treated
GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can help ease your symptoms. These include:
- psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy
- medication such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
There are also many things you can do yourself to help reduce your anxiety, such as going on a self-help course, exercising regularly, stopping smoking and cutting down on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink.
With treatment, many people are able to control their levels of anxiety. However, some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods where your symptoms worsen.
If these initial treatments do not help, you will usually be offered either a more intensive psychological treatment or medication. These are described below.
When Should I Go To The Emergency Room For An Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can resemble symptoms of a heart attack or another health emergency. If youre experiencing an anxiety attack for the first time, or youre concerned in any way about your health, call 911 or head to the nearest ER. A healthcare provider will check you for serious or life-threatening conditions.
If youre having an anxiety attack and unsure whether you should head to an ER or not, its better to go. Healthcare professionals can make sure youre OK and give you any necessary treatment.
Also Check: How To Conquer Social Anxiety
Stress Is Not Anxiety Or Depression
Stress is not the same as anxiety or depression but for some people, being stressed for a long time can lead to anxiety or depression, and it can affect a persons physical health, particularly cardiovascular health.
When we talk about being stressed, it usually means were upset or tense about something thats happening in our lives. Stress is a normal part of daily life. Its a natural physical and mental response that is designed to help people cope effectively with emergencies.
Some stress can be a good thing. It can help us get motivated to get things done, but health problems from stress happen when it is regular and doesnt let up.
Who Is This Anxiety Quiz For
Below is a list of questions designed for people who are experiencing anxiety-inducing thoughts. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder . If youd like to learn more about anxiety read Psycoms guide, Tell Me All I Need to Know about Anxiety.
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
You May Like: How To Deal With Health Anxiety
How To Help Teens With Anxiety
Teenagers may have many reasons to be anxious. Tests, college visits, and first dates all pop up in these important years. But teenagers who feel anxious or experience symptoms of anxiety frequently may have an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of anxiety in teenagers may include nervousness, shyness, isolationist behaviors, and avoidance. Likewise, anxiety in teens may lead to unusual behaviors. They may act out, perform poorly in school, skip social events, and even engage in substance or alcohol use.
For some teens, depression may accompany anxiety. Diagnosing both conditions is important so that treatment can address the underlying issues and help relieve symptoms.
The most common treatments for anxiety in teenagers are talk therapy and medication. These treatments also help address depression symptoms.
Tip #: Choose A Family Member You Can Trust
This sounds obvious, but think about who you will talk to first. Are you closest to a sibling, to a parent, or to a grandparent? You know which family members you have conflicts with, and which ones are more accepting and open-minded. Talk to the person who you have seen respond to vulnerable people with compassion and acceptance before in the past. If they already have these nurturing skills, they are most likely to respond with kindness.
Recommended Reading: How High Can Anxiety Raise Blood Pressure
How To Describe Mild Anxiety
Mild anxiety is anxiety that is manageable without any additional techniques. By “manageable,” we’re not saying that it goes away easily. We’re saying that you can still get through your day without panicking, you can enjoy a social life, and you can even find hobbies and activities fun. You may even think positively about the future.
Mild anxiety tends to be when you have irritating symptoms that don’t seem to go away, but that otherwise doesn’t control you. For example:
- You have constant worries but you can generally ignore them.
- You may feel nervous, nauseated, shaky, or sweat, but you aren’t debilitated by these symptoms.
- You don’t have panic attacks or become overwhelmed by your anxiety to the point where you start to fear the anxiety itself.
Mild anxiety is not unlike moderate anxiety, except that it tends to never or rarely reach that point of becoming truly overwhelming. It’s more of a hassle that you simply cannot seem to control, and one that occasionally has spurts of severity that remind you that it’s something you need to deal with.
Many anxiety disorders can be mild as well. Panic attacks are rarely mild, but mild obsessive-compulsive disorder exists, as does mild generalized anxiety disorder and mild phobias. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a bit trickier, and mild social anxiety is actually fairly common and rarely considered a significant disorder.
Anxiety Attack Symptoms Include:
- Feeling of losing control or going crazy.
- Heart palpitations or chest pain.
- Feeling like youre going to pass out.
- Trouble breathing or choking sensation.
- Nausea or stomach cramps.
- Feeling detached or unreal.
Its important to seek help if youre starting to avoid certain situations because youre afraid of having a panic attack. The truth is that panic attacks are highly treatable. In fact, many people are panic free within just 5 to 8 treatment sessions.
Recommended Reading: Are You Born With Anxiety
Tip #: Choose A Time Thats Convenient For Them Too
If someone approaches us for help when our own needs are not fully met, we may not have the emotional strength to give them what they are asking for. Remember that your family member has their own responsibilities and needs to attend to as well. It is best, if you can, to approach them when they are calm and collected, not stressed out after work or coping with a crisis of their own. However, keep in mind, too, that no time is going to be the perfect timeyour needs are as important as anyone elses. Its important to recognize the difference between being considerate and simply procrastinating to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation. Give them space and time for now if they need it, but make sure not to put off your conversation indefinitely.
Begin Your Recovery Journey.
How To Tell If An Attack Is Anxiety Or Something Else
The biggest question people have is whether or not they suffered from an anxiety attack or something more physically serious, like a heart attack.
Unfortunately, the symptoms are so close to each other that the only way to tell is to talk to a doctor. The important thing to realize is that anxiety attacks are quite common, and heart attacks/serious health issues in those that are younger and are generally in good health are less common. There are a few differences as well:
- Although both may cause vomiting, heart attacks are more likely to lead to vomiting.
- Chest pains during heart attacks tend to radiate more throughout the shoulder.
- Anxiety attacks are more likely to have a âpeakâ at about 10 minutes.
It is always a good idea to speak with your doctor at least once.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Test Anxiety
What Makes You Afraid
Lots of things make us feel afraid. Being afraid of some things like fires can keep you safe. Fearing failure can make you try to do well so that you wont fail, but it can also stop you doing well if the feeling is too strong.
What youre afraid of and how you act when youre afraid of something can vary per person. Just knowing what makes you afraid and why can be the first step to sorting out problems with fear.
How can we manage and reduce stress? Our free downloadable pocket guide offers you 101 tips: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-stress.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Social Anxiety Diagnosis
In order to be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, you must have been experiencing the symptoms outlined in the DSM-5 for at least 6 months or more. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria also require ruling out other mental disorders such as panic disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder. It may therefore take multiple sessions with a mental health professional before they can confidently make a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder.
Recommended Reading: Does Topamax Help With Anxiety
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.
What Are Anxiety Disorders
We all have feelings of anxiety, worry and fear sometimes. These can be normal responses to certain situations. For example, you might worry about a job interview, or about paying a bill on time. These feelings can give you an awareness of risks and what you need to do in a difficult or dangerous situation. This reaction is known as fight or flight.
Your brain responds to a threat or danger by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Even if the danger is not real, these hormones cause the physical symptoms of anxiety. Once the threatening situation has stopped, your body will usually return to normal.
But if you have an anxiety disorder these feelings of fear and danger can be ongoing and interrupt your daily routine long after the threat has gone. They can make you feel as though things are worse than they actually are.
Everyones experience of anxiety disorders is different. Not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms.
Mental symptoms of anxiety can include:
- racing thoughts,
Anxiety can lead to depression if left untreated.
You May Like: How To Stop Shortness Of Breath Anxiety
The Link Between Anxiety Symptoms And Depression
Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse , its important to seek treatment for both conditions.
How To Help Children With Anxiety
Anxiety in children is natural and common. In fact, one in eight children will experience anxiety. As children grow up and learn from their parents, friends, and caretakers, they typically develop the skills to calm themselves and cope with feelings of anxiety.
But, anxiety in children can also become chronic and persistent, developing into an anxiety disorder. Uncontrolled anxiety may begin to interfere with daily activities, and children may avoid interacting with their peers or family members.
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder might include:
You May Like: How To Cure Cat Separation Anxiety
Schedule A Worry Break
It may sound counterintuitive when looking at strategies to help you find relief from anxiety, but allowing yourself a short worry break each day can free up your energy to focus on the task at hand. How you set this up depends on your routine. One way is to schedule a chunk of time later in the day, maybe 15 minutes after dinner, to go through your worries for the day.
Earlier in the day, you can write down any worries or anxieties that creep into your mind. Then, give yourself permission to deal with them later. This allows you to go about your day while still acknowledging that something is bothering you.
Later, when you go over the worry list, make sure to set a timer. Review what you wrote, identify any thoughts that are still causing anxiety, and cross off those that dont seem important anymore. Allow yourself a few minutes to sit with each concern.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated
You can check what treatment and care is recommended for anxiety disorders on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website.
NICE produce guidelines for how health professionals should treat certain conditions. NICE only provide guidelines for:
- Generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder,
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder ,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder , and
- Social anxiety disorder.
The NHS does not have to follow these recommendations. But they should have a good reason for not following them.
We have described some of the treatments for anxiety disorders below. The treatments you will be offered depend upon the type of anxiety disorder you are experiencing.
You can find more information about treatments for:
Monitoring your symptomsSome anxiety disorders, such as generalised anxiety disorder may get better by itself with no treatment at all. Or after education and advice from your doctor. Your doctor will monitor your symptoms to see if they improve. And they will talk to you about medications that you can get without a prescription. These are sometimes called over-the-counter medications.
Individual non-facilitated self helpThis involves working from a book or a computer program. You will be supported by a trained professional
Individual guided self-helpYou should:
Your learning should:
Also Check: How To Manage Depression And Anxiety