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What Does Anxiety Feel Like Mentally

How Does It Differ From Other Meditation Styles

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All meditation styles and practices overlap and build on each other. Their basic foundation is the same: to bring the practitioner insight and introspection.

There is no right or wrong way to meditate, however, the various types of meditation can enhance particular qualities. Based on your personality and needs, one type of meditation may be more useful to you than the other. The 9 types of meditation are:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Loving kindness meditation
  • Visualization meditation

Focused meditation, specifically, is the practice of focusing on one single object for the duration of the practice. How this differs from other meditation styles is that it gives the practitioner something tangible to do: focus. Its almost like giving your mind an action to performlisten to this sound, repeat these words, watch this flame, etc. This is also one of the reasons why this particular meditation style is great for beginners!

One of the biggest challenges in any meditation practice is that the mind gets carried away and we lose ourselves to random thoughts. This obstacle is actually a style of meditation in and of itself called Vipassana. However, in focused meditation, we give the mind something to do so that its not simply left to its own devices. This type of meditation is beneficial for beginners and for practitioners who prefer some structure and guidance to their meditations.

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 Is Anxiety Treated

Anxiety is a serious mental illness that can have dire consequences if left untreated. Although there is no cure for anxiety at the moment, certain treatments can help manage the symptoms.

The treatment options vary depending on the disorder and severity. They include counseling, psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Severe cases of anxiety may require a combination of two or more treatment options or the use of non-traditional treatments like ketamine therapy.

Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder so they can help identify which type of treatment might work best for you.

Read Also: How To Overcome Performance Anxiety

Things Can Feel Great One Day And Terrible The Next

All anxiety disorders exist on a spectrum, and people fall anywhere from experiencing very mild symptoms to utterly debilitating ones. That means symptoms ebb and flow. Typically, specific triggers cause some symptoms to escalate.

For example, if someone struggles with social anxiety disorder, the anticipation of an upcoming presentation may cause their anxiety to skyrocket. Someone with post-traumatic stress disorder may feel unsafe for an entire day after experiencing a spontaneous flashback.

Unfortunately, you cannot predict how anxiety manifests. That is because triggers evolve. Subsequently, many other factors can all impact your anxiety.

How Can I Get Help If I Think I Have An Anxiety Disorder

What anxiety feels and looks like

You should make an appointment to talk with your GP if you are worried about your symptoms. Or they are causing problems in your day to day life.

Your doctor will look at different things when deciding on your treatment such as the following.

  • Your diagnosis and symptoms.
  • Any other conditions you have.
  • Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence .

Talking therapiesThe NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme has made psychological therapy more available on the NHS. IAPT services mainly provide support for low to moderate anxiety and depression.

The service can be run by the local NHS Trust or a non-NHS agency, like a charity who work with the local Trust.

IAPT should be available in your area. You can often self-refer or ask your GP to refer you.

To find your local the IAPT service you can search online here:

You can also ask your GP or PALS service for details of local IAPT services.

You can get more information about:

  • GP: What to expect from your GP by clicking here.
  • Medication. Choice and managing problems by clicking here.
  • Talking therapies by clicking here.

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How To Explain What Anxiety Feels Like

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in America. However, many people struggle to identify how their anxiety truly makes them feel. That is because anxiety- like all mental illnesses- is complex. It affects everyone differently, and the symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person.

Furthermore, some people do not quite understand how anxiety works. They may assume you are overreacting with your feelings or symptoms. They might also believe that you can just get over how you feel through willpower.

But if you struggle with anxiety, you know that you cannot just get over your thoughts. You also know that these thoughts may not always be rational or even helpful. Let us break down how to describe what anxiety feels like.

Who Can Diagnose Anxiety Disorders

If your provider finds no signs of physical illness, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. These mental health professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They may use specially designed interview and assessment tools to figure out if you have an anxiety disorder. Typically, the provider bases a diagnosis on:

  • Your reported symptoms, including how intense they are and how long they last.
  • Discussion of how the symptoms interfere with your daily life.
  • The providers observation of your attitude and behavior.

Providers also consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM-5. Its the standard reference manual for diagnosing mental illnesses.

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The Relationship Between Anxiety And Depression

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While anxiety is generally considered a high-energy state and depression a low-energy state, anxiety and depression are more closely related than you might think. A person with depression often experiences a lot of anxiety, possibly even to the extent of having panic attacks.1

Anxiety disorders involve more than common nervousness and worry. They can cause terrifying fear about things other people wouldnt think twice about. Many people with anxiety disorders fully comprehend that their thoughts are irrational. But they still cant stop them. Feelings of losing inner control haunt them. This angst is one of the entry ways for depression.2

Theres No Clear Cause Of Panic Attacks

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Not every person who struggles with anxiety also has panic attacks, but there can be a genetic predisposition to them. People with anxiety disorders and mood disorders are at a higher risk, and panic attacks do tend to run in families.

Panic attacks are also associated with major life transitions , severe stress , and certain medical conditions. Panic attacks can be triggered by stimulant use, including caffeine, and withdrawal from medication.

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How I Cope With Panic Attacks From Chronic Anxiety

I have found that one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with chronic anxiety is coping with panic attacks. Even though Ive learned how to lessen the effects of panic attacks over time, I can still be unexpectedly blindsided by one.

To make matters worse, sometimes I anticipate having a panic attack, which causes you guessed it more anxiety. It can sometimes then become a vicious anxiety-inducing cycle. That is why it has become so important for me to be aware of what panic attacks feel like and what I can do about it.

What a Panic Attack Feels Like to Me

When I experience a panic attack, it feels like my body is slammed by an onslaught of anxiety symptoms in full force, all at once. I immediately experience a rapid heartbeat I suddenly have a hard time breathing I feel light-headed, nauseous, and I begin to tremble. I also feel a tremendous amount of fear, and often there is no logical reason for this. Sometimes, the momentary panic is so intense that I experience tunnel vision and cant focus. It is truly a terrible feeling that I find not only mentally hard to deal with, but physically hard to deal with as well.

Like You Are Never Able To Sleep Enough

The sufferer of anxiety often suffer from insomnia from anxiety. You are unable to stop your worst thought from running in your mind, and your body is responding with the fight-or-flight mechanisms.

Anxiety can strike with so much force it leaves your thoughts scattered in all directions. The worst part, when you lose out on sleep, the devastating effect compounds upon your health.

Use meditation as a shield against these running thoughts. Let your mind be at peace, and trust that you are safe.

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Are Stress And Anxiety The Same Thing

When it comes to the variety of emotions we feel every day, we often use stress and anxiety interchangeably. But, the two are actually distinct.

“Stress is very common, and we all deal with it in our day-to-day lives. It’s what we feel when a deadline is looming or in anticipation of an important event or occasion,” explains Dr. Sawal.

While the feeling of being stressed may be unpleasant, there are some short-term benefits to it. Stress comes with physiological changes that can help you overcome challenges and meet your goals such as increased concentration and enhanced reaction time.

“Anxiety, on the other hand, is when stress or worry become so excessive or so persistent that it negatively affects your daily life, as well as your ability to cope with the everyday stressors,” says Dr. Sawal. “Similar to stress, anyone can experience anxiety. But, unlike stress, there are no advantages to anxiety.”

In fact, Dr. Sawal adds that left unaddressed, anxiety can impact not only your everyday life but your overall health and well-being.

What Kind Of Anxiety Disorder Do You Have

What Does Anxiety Feel Like? Mentally and Physically

As with every health issue, an accurate diagnosis is essential. A few common anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: A pattern of excessive worry about a variety of issues on most days for at least six months, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, a hammering heart, or dizziness.
  • Social anxiety disorder: Feeling significant anxiety in social situations or when called on to perform in front of others, such as in public speaking.
  • Phobias: A particular animal, insect, object, or situation causes substantial anxiety.
  • Panic disorder: Panic attacks are sudden, intense episodes of heart-banging fear, breathlessness, and dread. Its the feeling youd have if you just missed being hit by a Mack truck but for people with panic disorder there is no Mack truck, says Dr. Beresin.

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What Are The Treatments For Anxiety Disorders

The main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy , medicines, or both:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is often used to treat anxiety disorders. CBT teaches you different ways of thinking and behaving. It can help you change how you react to the things that cause you to feel fear and anxiety. It may include exposure therapy. This focuses on having you confront your fears so that you will be able to do the things that you had been avoiding.
  • Medicines to treat anxiety disorders include anti-anxiety medicines and certain antidepressants. Some types of medicines may work better for specific types of anxiety disorders. You should work closely with your health care provider to identify which medicine is best for you. You may need to try more than one medicine before you can find the right one.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

What Are The Standard Treatments For Anxiety Symptoms

Despite the impact that an anxiety disorder can have on your life, its a treatable condition, especially with the right combination of medication, therapy, or both. Remember, your treatment journey should start with a conversation between you and a mental health professional you trust. You have input and control over what you ultimately decide to do to treat your anxiety.

Therapy is often one of the first treatment options considered when you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. According to Dr. Gold, therapy plays a significant role in the recovery of anxiety disorders because it can help address the most significant component of anxietythe mental component. A lot of anxiety is mental, she explains, so therapy is definitely the gold standard.

As the American Psychological Association explains, there are a handful of different therapy approaches that can be considered when treating an anxiety disorder. However, one of the most widely used types of therapy for anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy . CBT can help you recognize and change the way you view or react to certain thoughts, which can in turn help you change the feelings and behaviors related to your anxiety.

Medication also plays a huge role in the recovery of anxiety disorders because it can help decrease both the short-term and long-term symptoms of anxiety.

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Practice Mindfulness And Meditation Techniques

When practiced regularly, mindfulness and meditation are great tools to help ease your anxiety attacks. Make it a habit to set aside some time to listen in and tune in to your body.

This way, when you do start experiencing the symptoms of an attack, you’ll be more equipped to overcome them.

Related: Top Ten Natural Remedies for Anxiety

You Avoid Things Because Of Your Fears

[World Mental Health Day] What does an anxiety attack feel like?

We all avoid things we fear or dislike: you could go your whole life without roller coasters or cilantro or horror movies. But they dont really affect your life. Anxieties start to strip away the things that do. You may dread getting a medical test because of what you could learn, says Albano. But if youre avoiding going to your doctor at all because of it, thats a problem.

People with an airplane phobia may, similarly, limit their travel to only places they can drive. People with big dreams may sometimes settle for smaller ones because their anxiety holds them back. I know people who went to law school and wanted to pursue a career in criminal law but were afraid to be in front of a courtroom, says Albano. So they push documents in a law firm instead.

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What Does Anxiety Feel Like To Me

What is anxiety like? Ive suffered from anxiety and panic attacks since my early teens, though at the time I wasnt aware that that is what they were. Think about it.. How does anxiety feel to a 15 year old when everything is so stressful to begin with? With that said, what does stress feel like? It was only when I was 21 and went through a particularly stressful period that my general anxiety as well as overwhelming panic came to the surface, and I started having panic attacks at night almost every night.

Looking back on that time, as well as at a handful of events that have triggered significant anxiety since then, Ive come up with two lists: What does anxiety feel like mentally? and What does anxiety feel like physically?

Mentally, anxiety feels like

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