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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 March 25, 2020

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

    So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

    1. Exercise

    It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

    2. Drink in Moderation

    I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

    3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

    Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

    4. Watch Less Television

    A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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    Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

    5. Eat Less Red Meat

    Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

    If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

    6. Don’t Smoke

    This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

    7. Socialize

    Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

    8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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    9. Be Optimistic

    Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

    10. Own a Pet

    Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

    11. Drink Coffee

    Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

    12. Eat Less

    Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

    13. Meditate

    Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

    Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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    How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

    14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

    15. Laugh Often

    Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

    16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

    Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

    17. Cook Your Own Food

    When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

    Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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    18. Eat Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

    19. Floss

    Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

    20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

    Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

    Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

    21. Have Sex

    Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

    More Health Tips

    Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

    Reference

    [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
    [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
    [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
    [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
    [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
    [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
    [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
    [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
    [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
    [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
    [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
    [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
    [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
    [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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