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This Is The Real Life People With Anxiety Experience Every Day

This Is The Real Life People With Anxiety Experience Every Day

Anxiety is normal. Any time we are facing a stressful situation that carries with it the possibility of failure or a negative outcome, we all feel a little anxious. In fact, anxiety is a helpful and useful emotion. It alerts us of danger, keeps us out of harms way, ensures that we are properly prepared for challenges and spurs us to take action.

However, for people with anxiety issues or disorders, anxiety is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, overwhelming  and can become debilitating. It is an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, and it can interfere with daily activities.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders.

What is Anxiety and what are it’s causes?

Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry. Mild anxiety is tepid, unsettling, and is usually short lived. Severe anxiety can be extremely disabling and is considered a problem when symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to sleep or function normally.

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Simply put, people with anxiety have reactions and feelings disproportion with what would be normally expected in that situation.

The exact cause of anxiety is unknown and can be caused by a host of factors including:

  • Environment
  • Medical issues
  • Genetics
  • Brain chemistry
  • Substance abuse
  • A combination of any of the above symptoms

More often than not anxiety is triggered by external circumstances, but it is possible that people with anxiety can enhance feelings of anxiousness with “negative self-talk.” And, while the exact cause of this disorder cannot be pinpointed, scientist do know that it is not the result of personal weakness, a character flaw, or poor upbringing, which is the case with other mental disorders.

Daily life for people with anxiety

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    Photo Credit: darcyadelaide via Flickr

    It can appear that people with anxiety lead normal and worry free lives but the reality is they face daily struggles that may not be apparent to others.

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    People with anxiety can feel incredibly isolated, lonely, and afraid. The only escape from the grip of anxiousness is during sleep and even then, true rest evades the sufferer many nights. The anxious mind is so clouded that it can barely distinguish reality from the perceived reality created in the mind.

    Here is a glimpse of just some of the pain people with anxiety disorders endure

    Worry and fear are persistent and relentless

    There is no break from the feelings of fear and worry. As these feelings linger, they grow and then morph into hoplessness and depression. The constant thoughts seep into your mind invading your thoughts and chasing away any type of peace. Once it’s claws are locked into the mind, it doesn’t let go. It dictates your thoughts and haunts your dreams.

    Anxiety manifests itself physically as well as mentally

    Along with the mental and emotional torment, people with anxiety can experience a host of physical symptoms including:

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    • Burning skin
    • Trembling
    • Churning stomach
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Headache
    • Backache
    • Heart palpitations
    • Numbness or “pins and needles” in arms, hands or legs
    • Sweating/flushing

    Because each body is chemically unique, the type, intensity, duration, and frequency of anxiety symptoms will vary from person to person. For example, one person may experience just one or two mild symptoms, whereas another person may experience all of the symptoms and with greater severity.

    The inability to differentiate between a stressful and harmless environment

    Eventually the brains of people with anxiety can not distinguish between true stress and harmless situations. The brain adapts and becomes used to the continuous agitated state produced by anxiousness and process all situations the same way. Everything becomes stressful.

    Those who deal with anxiety frequently develop depression

    As if living under the constant mental strain of an anxious mind isn’t enough, people with anxiety frequently develop and battle depression. The isolation and hopelessness that develops and clutters the mind consumed with constant stress can easily turn into depression.

    Many people with anxiety disorders understand that their thoughts are irrational, but they still can’t stop them

    This is by far one of the most difficult aspects associated with battling anxiety.

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    Sally R. Connolly, LCSW, a therapist at Couples Counseling of Louisville in Kentucky told Everyday Health:

     “It’s a cycle. When you get anxious, you tend to have this pervasive thinking about some worry or some problem and you feel bad about it. Then you feel like you’ve failed, and you move to depression.”

    You try to correct these thoughts and feelings but anxiety is a tough beast to tame. It is a silent monster, sabotaging your mind and no matter how hard you fight, it does not let go.

    Getting Help

    Anxiety disorders are treatable. The exact treatment approach depends on the type of disorder. One or a combination of the following therapies may be used for most anxiety disorders:

    • Medication: Certain drugs can be used to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders such as antidepressants and other anxiety-reducing drugs.
    • Psychotherapy: This is a type of counseling that addresses the emotional aspects of mental illness. It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their disorder.
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This is a particular type of psychotherapy in which the person learns to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings.
    • Dietary and lifestyle changes
    • Relaxation therapy

    People with anxiety can live a full and productive life if they seek help.

    Featured photo credit: Sander van der Wel via commons.wikimedia.org

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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