Everyone experiences anxiety. However, when feelings of intense fear and distress are overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday things, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in general population.
Symptoms Of Anxiety
Just like with any mental illness, people with anxiety disorders experience symptoms differently. But for most people, anxiety changes how they function in day-to-day life.
People can experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Feelings of apprehension or dread
Feeling tense and jumpy
Restlessness or irritabilityADVERTISEMENT
Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breathADVERTISEMENT
Sweating, tremors and twitchesADVERTISEMENT
Headaches, fatigue and insomnia
Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhoea
How To Beat Anxiety
Occasional or reactive anxiety when one is going through a stressful period can affect anybody. Being aware that what is troubling one is the result of a chemical process triggered by an increase in stress hormones and is not going to have a long-lasting effect can allay fear and guilt associated with anxiety.
1. Anxiety follows a curve where there is a steep rise in symptoms followed by flattening or plateau and then a decline phase. What it means is that when one waits through anxious phase, it gradually stops increasing and then it comes down. So be patient.
2. If you feel breathless when anxious, you may start hyperventilating. Try to slow down your breathing or breath in a paper bag.
3. Physical exercise reduces anxiety, going in an open area or walking around is useful.
4. Distract by indulging in an activity that you generally enjoy, like singing, dancing, watering plants etc. Soft music has a soothing effect.
5. Talk to someone who you are comfortable with. You may not necessarily want to talk about what's making you anxious, just start a conversation.
6. If anxiety persists and distraction does not work, ask yourself what is making you anxious. In most cases, while anxiety may be triggered by an event, there is nothing significant which makes one worried. If you can answer what, then ask why you are anxious, is it really that troublesome or you are just reacting due to a habit.
7. Physical touch reduces anxiety, hug someone or something you are comfortable with, it can be your parent, sibling, spouse, friend, pet, a soft toy or your own self if there is no one around.
8. Positive autosuggestion is helpful in stopping the escalation of anxiety due to the fear it creates. Instead of saying, "oh, I am anxious ", say to yourself that, "it's only anxiety, I am fine".
9. Accept anxiety as a symptom of a disorder and not a deliberate event. Nobody likes to be anxious but once you acknowledge that it's anxiety and has no immediate life-threatening problems, you can deal with it better.
10. For recurring anxiety episodes, take professional help. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment are important to reduce dysfunction associated with anxiety disorders and improve quality of life.
About the author: Dr. Jyoti Kapoor is a Senior Consultant, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Gurugram, Haryana
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.