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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

5 Types of Anxiety and How to Deal with Them

5 Types of Anxiety and How to Deal with Them

Anxiety can really chip away at our happiness if we don’t learn how to be and cope with it.

There’re so many different types of anxiety that can show up and steal perfectly enjoyable moments from our lives. It’s a beast of an emotion that can range from mildly uncomfortable to utterly crippling. In the simplest of terms, Anxiety is Worry. To which degree that we stress and worry is what increases or decreases our anxiety.

Anxiety seems to be the new buzz word given our fast moving society and need to always be one step ahead of the game. As a therapist, it’s a common symptom that brings many clients into my office.

As always, when we gain more knowledge about a topic, it becomes less scary. When something becomes less intimidating, we’re able to battle it with more confidence and success. This forces the beast (anxiety) to lose its power in order for us to allow it to pass and be gone.

With that said, I’ll point out 5 different types of anxiety, discuss what they look like and how to deal with them. After all, the trick is to No thy enemy, right?

1. Generalized Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety is one of the more common types of anxiety. In a nutshell, generalized anxiety is described as having an excessive and exaggerated sense of worry about everyday life events for no obvious reasons.

When it comes down to it, stress is stress, regardless of whether the worry is factually legit or not. Events can be benign and simple, yet cause us a ton of angst.

Generalized anxiety has the ability to lower the quality of our life as it grows and becomes louder. A little worry here or there, can be typical, although when worry turns to stress and daily rumination about all the things that could go wrong is standard, this type of anxiety can start quickly over taking our lives.

2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

People with obsessive compulsive disorder can have obsessive thoughts and urges or compulsive, repetitive behaviors. Some individuals diagnosed have both obsessions and compulsions.

With OCD, your thoughts and actions feel uncontrollable, therefore you feel unable to function normally, which greatly effects everything in your life. Work, school, relationships, you name it, suffers because of the fixated need and want to do the compulsive behavior or obsession.

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Obsessive thoughts can range from the need for things to be in a particular order to a fear of hurting one self. Compulsive habits can be anything from repeatedly washing hands to checking if the lights are turned off several times more than necessary. These “ritualistic” behaviors are unique to the person and can effect anyone who loves them.

As it sounds, this disorder tends to be more obvious since the behaviors or thoughts encourage a person to do behaviors in ways that go out of the realm of what is deemed “normal.”

3. Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety is when the thought or actual interacting with other people causes irrational anxiety. The irrational fears can show up in a variety of ways; worrying about how the interaction is going to go, if judgement will occur, fear of embarrassment and concern around saying something “wrong” or “foolish.”

Social anxiety is very isolating which further perpetuates the unhealthy cycle of keeping to one’s self and strengthening delusional fears due to isolation.

4. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Defined by WebMD,[1]

“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened.”

Also known as, PTSD, is a disorder that causes feelings of intense fear or helplessness within the individual.

The grey area with this anxiety disorder is that trauma is relative. Meaning, what’s traumatic to one person might not be traumatic to another. Unexpected tragedies like deaths, losses, natural disasters are events that our society tends to view as “traumatic.”

Although when PTSD comes from such things as our exposure to abusive intimate relationships or experiences in which we uniquely felt traumatized, the warning signs can go under the radar (be unacknowledged) or be misdiagnosed.

Some common symptoms of PTSD are shock, anger, nervousness and fear. Ruminating about the trauma, flash backs, nightmares and a loss of concentration and inability to function well can also appear. Usually symptoms show up within 3 months of the specific traumatic incident.

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5. Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is when you avoid places or situations that you anticipate will cause you panic by triggering feelings of being trapped, helpless or embarrassed.

The anxiety is caused by fear that there’s no easy way to escape from the situation that’s triggering your panic. Agoraphobia symptoms center around the fear of leaving home, which creates worry of being exposed to crowds, enclosed spaces and, essentially, any environment that provokes anxiety within the person.

When your fear is so overwhelming that you become unable to leave your home this results in a lack of functioning, loss of quality of life and can lead to isolation and depression.

How to Cope with Anxiety

With whatever type of anxiety you’re dealing with, please know that there’re things that you can start doing for yourself right now to help alleviate the symptoms your experiencing.

I once heard high anxiety cleverly described as being “trapped within your own self imposed prison.” The good news with this is that you hold the key to your own prison cell, my friend.

With commitment and attention, you can find relief of symptoms, and, ultimately more overall peace.

Here are some tips on how to do so:

1. Question It and Dumb It Down

A go-to technique for me when a client is struggling with anxiety, is to start chipping away at the beast by questioning it and dumbing it down.

For example, I always go right to the jugular and ask what the fear is about.

The truth is, the chances of our biggest fear happening is slim to none. Usually too, when someone is struggling with high anxiety, they need some assistance getting their scale of stress assessment back on track, which is where “dumbing it down” comes into play.

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When we have anxiety, our scale of what’s a big deal tends to be out of wack. Meaning, we start stressing over things that are relatively “normal” aspects of life. You see this with road rage or, generally, anytime the level of reaction within a person doesn’t align with the actual event.

I find that once I put words to the fears of my clients who are battling anxiety, the emotion often looses it’s power and doesn’t seem as bad.

2. Breathe Babe

Learning ways to calm and clear your mind by practicing self soothing techniques is a key to our overall health and level of happiness.

We were all born knowing how to breath naturally from our bellies (diaphragm.) As we grow and are exposed to life’s pressures, we can begin to breath from our chest, which is defined as shallow breathing. This type of breathing is linked to individuals with anxiety.

Think hyperventilation, which is a psychosomatic response to stress and panic. Learning and practicing breathing techniques that are geared toward slowing your breathing will calm your system down.

Practices such as yoga and meditation are great skills to hone in order to practice helpful breathing techniques.

3. Move That Body

Tapping into your physicality and moving your body regularly is a must, but it can be a saving grace when it comes to those of us who struggle with anxiety.

Releasing natural endorphins through exercise can help boost your mood which will help fight off those nagging feelings of worry.

4. Face Your Fear

With whatever you’re dealing with in life, nothing will completely go away until you directly and purposefully confront it.

When you’re able to muster up the courage to challenge the irrational worries that you have, they will lessen or even completely disappear.

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You see the truth of anything that you’re brave enough to face directly. This holds true with sitting and coping with our anxiety. It’s common to want to escape the wraths of anxiety by constantly being so busy and pushing the emotion away. Although this may quiet it for some time, eventually it will resurface, as anything will that’s not dealt with completely.

Remember friends, the only way to get through something is to to go directly through it. There’s no short cuts when it comes to coping with anxiety or life, if you’re living it truthfully.

Here’re some tips to help you face your fear: 13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

5. Watch Your Alcohol and Caffeine Intake

Our bodies are similar to gas tanks. What we put into our system absolutely effects its preformance.

If you struggle with anxiety, be mindful of your alcohol and caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant that will rev up your system and is known to increase your anxiety. A withdrawal side effect of alcohol is increased anxiety.

Most importantly, increasing your body/mind connection by becoming more aware of how you uniquely feel when you put certain substances and foods in your body is essential to your overall health.

Final Thoughts

I know that if you’re currently in the grips of anxiety’s strong hold, it can feel like it will never lessen. Please know it can and please know that it will with commitment to doing the positive self care to combat it.

Once you start to look at your habits, your self talk and your self care patterns, you can start to get a handle on it. With more tools in your back pocket to confront anxiety and put it in its place, you will feel relief and an overall higher quality of life.

More Articles About Anxiety

Featured photo credit: Ernest Brillo via unsplash.com

Reference

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Kim Egel

Kim Egel is a licensed therapist whose private practice is centered around the concepts of the mind, body & soul connection.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

How to Cope With the Stages of Grief and Heal After Loss

How to Cope With the Stages of Grief and Heal After Loss

The death of a loved one is, unfortunately, something most of us have experienced or will experience at some point in our lives, but grief and loss are not felt only when someone passes away. You may move through the stages of grief quickly or slowly, and you may even find yourself moving back to a stage you thought you had passed. People grieve differently, and there is no correct way to grieve in any situation.

A close friend or family member moving away, a divorce or breakup, loss of a job, as well as a number of other life experiences can cause feelings of grief or loss. Coping with loss is one of the most stressful and difficult things we have to deal with in life, but it is an experience everyone can relate to.

The Stages of Grief

The five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—are related to the common emotions we go through when we experience loss. This grief model was identified by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969[1].

However, because everyone is different, there is no “standard” way to react to grief and loss.[2]

Some people will wear their emotions on their sleeves and be outwardly emotional. Others will experience their grief more internally, and may not cry. You should try not to judge how a person experiences grief, as each person will experience it differently.

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Stages of grief

    Stage 1: Denial

    The feeling of shock when you first find out about a loss can lead to thinking, “This isn’t real.” This is a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion and a defense mechanism for your mind.[3]

    Stage 2: Anger

    Feelings of frustration and helplessness take hold during this stage. Thoughts like “It’s not fair” can be common. Even being angry at your loved one who died for “leaving you behind” is natural. This anger can spill over into your close relationships, and you can find yourself getting angry at those around you for no apparent reason.

    Stage 3: Bargaining

    During this stage, you are constantly thinking about what you could have done to prevent the loss. Thoughts of “What if…” and “If only…” replay in the mind. You might also try to bargain with a higher power in hopes of reversing the loss.

    Stage 4: Depression

    This stage brings the deep sadness you feel as you realize the loss is irreversible. You think about how your life will be affected by the loss. Crying, loss of appetite, feelings of loneliness, and unusual sleeping patterns are all signs of depression.

    Stage 5: Acceptance

    You accept the loss, and although you’re still sad, you slowly start to move on with your life and settle in to your new reality.

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    The stages of grief don’t have to be in this order, and you might not experience all stages. There is also no set time period for grieving, and some people take longer to heal than others.

    How to Heal From Grief and Loss

    When you’re experiencing those heartbreaking feelings and the stages of grief, it’s hard to believe that you’ll eventually heal, but you really will. Here are some ways to help the healing process:

    1. Confront the Painful Emotions

    Try not to bottle up your emotions. Allow yourself to express how you feel. It’s a healthy part of the grieving process.[4]

    If you’re not ready to get together with friends and family to talk about how you’re feeling, you can work with your emotions through mindful meditation, which can help create space for you to take a look at what you’re feeling and why.

    2. Talk About It

    When you’re ready and have entered the final stages of grief, talking to someone about the way you are feeling can be very helpful in starting the healing process. Often, people want to isolate themselves while grieving, but being around friends and family can help. Talking can also help you to confront your emotions if you have been unable to.

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    3. Keep up With Your Routine

    Loss can make you feel like your world has been turned upside down. As you move through the stages of grief, getting through your daily routine may feel more difficult, which can cause you to put self-care to the side. Keeping up with your routine can help bring back some normality and ensure you are showing yourself love and consideration.

    4. Take Care of Yourself

    When you are grieving and depressed, simple things like eating become an afterthought, and sleeping may become difficult. Taking care of yourself and your health will help with the healing process.

    While you may not do everything you were doing before your loss, try to do one act of self-care each day. It can be taking a long bath, going for a walk, making a nice meal, or even practicing a hobby once you feel ready. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated; it just needs to be something that makes you feel good.

    5. Don’t Make Any Major Decisions

    Grief clouds the ability to make sound decisions.[5] Try to postpone making any big decisions for a while or get guidance from close friends or family if you can’t put it off.

    Grief may also make you feel like making major changes to your life, such as quitting a job or ending a relationship. Try to remember that now is not the best time to make these changes, and hold off further consideration until you have moved through all of the stages of grief.

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    The Bottom Line

    It is important to heal after a loss so that you can get on with life. There is no set time period for grieving, but if you feel that your grief isn’t getting better, and you are unable to accept the loss, it might be time to seek advice from a mental health professional.

    In the meantime, accept that now is a difficult time, but that it will get better. Time will inevitably help and make the pain less powerful. One day, you will wake up and realize the pain is simply a small echo in the back of your mind and that you have successfully moved through each of the stages of grief. It’s time to get back to your life.

    More on Dealing With the Stages of Grief

    Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

    Reference

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