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Published on January 15, 2021

Feeling Anxious For No Reason? 6 Ways To Cope With

Feeling Anxious For No Reason? 6 Ways To Cope With

Have you ever heard the saying, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself?”[1]  Simply put, it essentially suggests that if you spend all of your time worrying about how bad things are going to be in the future, you could easily end up stuck in the past. Not to mention the fact that you won’t be able to enjoy the present if you’re living your life consumed by fear and feeling anxious for no reason.

Anxiety itself can come from a variety of stressors, such as medical conditions, relationship issues, and money matters. By definition, anxiety generally refers to “an intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear that is out of proportion to normally occurring situations that we experience. Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety include insomnia, racing thoughts, poor concentration, irritability, restlessness, palpitations, trembling, nausea, and sweating.”[2]

Similar to your favorite video game, obstacles in life tend to get a lot more challenging the further along you go, increasing your level of stress as you reach each milestone or complete each mission. No one is immune to experiencing stress.

If you’re alive, you’re going to feel some form of stress at one point or another in your life, it’s inevitable. And as most of us already know by now, having too much stress in our lives can lead directly to severe anxiety.

So now, let’s take a look at some anxiety-busting strategies to help you cope more effectively with the severe and debilitating experience of feeling anxious for no reason.

1. Set Realistic Goals

Although you may be able to accomplish anything that you put your mind to—such as losing weight, improving your relationships, or making more money—carefully consider the level of stress involved in whatever it is that you intend to do.

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Become a student of your surroundings. Learn as much about the people, places, and things in your life as possible. Whether your dream is to bring the world closer together by creating a brand new social media platform or to open up a cool corner cafe in your own hometown, you’re going to have to be able to cope with some form of stress to make whatever you decide to do in your life a success.

With that said, set goals that are challenging but attainable with hard work and determination.

2. Set Firm Boundaries

Map out your emotional territory. From the very beginning of history, conflict has been an inherent part of the human experience. The more conflict, the more stress, and the more stress, the more anxiety, and so on.

Besides learning how to strengthen your body and soul, you can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety by taking better care of your mind. When you set firm boundaries with others, you give yourself the emotional space to process the value of relationships on your terms.

Let the people that surround you know exactly what you are willing to do and how far you are willing to go. Ultimately, this will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by setting realistic and manageable expectations with others.

3. Set Priorities

Choose your emotional battles wisely. Not every stressful situation necessarily leads to debilitating symptoms of anxiety. Rather than trying to tackle the most profound obstacles in your way all at once, reverse triage the situation by chipping away at smaller issues first.

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Consider taking on challenges that you feel you can manage effectively with the least amount of effort. Get the momentum going as you lead with your strengths. And then, as you begin to break through each obstacle in your way, take a personal inventory of your accomplishments. Take note of all the progress that you were able to make along the way, as well as how you were able to muster up the courage and internal fortitude to keep moving forward even in your most difficult and precarious moments.

This should help you build a greater sense of self-confidence as you reflect on your own achievements. Similar to the lion in the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, the more aware you are of your own ability to handle stressful situations and overcome adversity, the less anxious you will ultimately feel.

4. Pace Yourself

When you’re feeling anxious for no reason, one of the best things to do is to pace yourself. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The key to longevity in whatever you do is setting a manageable pace to avoid burning out before you make it to the finish line.

So, try not to get ahead of yourself as you work your way up and through the gauntlet of impending issues that we will all ultimately face along the way in life. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your own personal empire, no matter how entrepreneurial or emotionally fuel-efficient you may be.

Rather than trying to accomplish all of your goals as fast as possible, you may be better off striving to reach attainable milestones on your journey. Whether you’re dealing with problems at work or home, do as much as you can to address and resolve your issues without getting yourself stressed out and overwhelmed.

And if you just can’t get a handle on the situation, know when to say when. You just may need to step away from the battle for a moment or two, so that you can ultimately return to the front and fight the good fight another day emotionally re-energized.

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5. Talk to Someone

You can’t see the forest from the road. That is unless you’re able to somehow see above the treeline. Many of us experience tunnel vision when we’re dealing with something that we perceive to be a major problem in our lives. We find ourselves consumed with the circumstances that surround whatever it is that’s bothering us while losing sight of many of the other important things in our lives.

From my personal experience, I know how hard it can be to open up about your feelings, especially if you live a fast-paced life with little downtime to reflect or come from a family where no one was ever encouraged to express their feelings. Nevertheless, as a professional mental health interventionist and licensed psychotherapist, I have been a sounding board for countless people in crisis.

Research strongly suggests that taking the time to talk through your greatest fears with the right person can help you break through even some of the most seemingly impenetrable walls of anxiety that you have ever experienced.[3] Talk therapy works if you work it. I strongly suggest that you explore why you feel the way that you do and where those feelings are coming from.

In other words, if you want to change the fruit, you have to start at the root. The more you open up to another person about the things that make you feel anxious, the less likely those things will negatively impact your life moving forward.

6. Breathe

Have you ever worried about something so much that you actually ended up feeling physically sick, emotionally drained, even gasping for air? I know that I have. Sometimes, we may feel anxious for no reason.

If you haven’t realized it by now, life is like a perpetual obstacle course. It’s full of ups and downs, plenty of unexpected twists and turns, a bunch of hurdles, and even a few trap doors along the way. However, rather than being the first to arrive at an actual finish line, you may want to focus your attention on simply being able to make it through to the other side successfully, accomplishing as much as you can in your life-time with as much peace of mind as possible.

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Holding your breath until you get what you want might work a few times when you’re a child but not at all when you’re an adult with responsibilities like paying your bills and maintaining healthy relationships with others. With that said, at one point or another, you are going to have to come up for air to help clear your mind and replenish the oxygen in your lungs. Similar to pre-flight instructions, if there’s a problem in the air, you have to put your oxygen mask on first.

Conclusion

In conclusion, no matter how cool, calm, and collected you may appear to be at one point or another in your life, you are going to experience stress in one form or another. Too much stress can ultimately lead to a variety of debilitating symptoms of anxiety, which in turn, negatively impacts your quality of life.

Now, more than ever, as we all learn how to adapt to our post-pandemic new-normal world, many of us are experiencing symptoms of anxiety no matter how hard we try to manage the level of stress in our lives. By learning how to effectively cope with anxiety, we can ultimately break right on through it so that we can live an even more productive and fulfilling life.

Nevertheless, perhaps the most common-sense strategy to reduce experiencing symptoms of anxiety is to avoid putting yourself in highly stressful situations in the first place if possible.

Read These If You’re Feeling Anxious for No Reason

Featured photo credit: Tiago Bandeira via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Teaching History: The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself
[2] Mayo Clinic: Anxiety Disorders
[3] Mental Health Foundation: Talking therapies

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Evan Jarschauer

Professional Mental Health Interventionist & Licensed Psychotherapist

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Published on May 25, 2021

How To Recognize the Most Common Types of Mental Illness

How To Recognize the Most Common Types of Mental Illness

Have you ever had chills, a stuffy nose, a sore throat, a cough, or perhaps even a fever? More than likely you must have experienced at least some of these symptoms at one time or another in your life. You knew that you were sick, perhaps with a common cold, maybe the flu, or possibly a viral infection of some sort.

Either way, no matter what the diagnosis might have been at the time, you didn’t feel well, and therefore, you probably took some form of action to help alleviate the symptoms so that you could feel better, perhaps some medicine, followed up with maybe a little chicken noodle soup, a glass of orange juice, and some bed rest. Nevertheless, when it comes to seeking treatment for symptoms of mental illness, there seems to be a big difference between the way that we look at healing the body and the mind.

First of all, there are some common stigmas associated with mental illness. People, in general, seem to have a hard time admitting that they are having a problem with their mental health.[1]

We all want our social media profiles to look amazing, filled with images of exotic vacations, fancy food, the latest fashion, and of course, plenty of smiling faces taken at just the right angle. There is an almost instinctive aversion to sharing our true feelings or emotionally opening up to others, especially when we are going through a difficult time in our lives. Perhaps it has something to do with the fear of being emotionally vulnerable, open, and completely honest about our true inner feelings—perhaps we just don’t want to be a burden.

Additionally, throughout history, many people with mental illness have been ostracized and subjugated as outcasts. As a result, some may choose to avoid seeking help as long as possible to elude being ridiculed by others or presumably looked down upon in some way. Furthermore, rather than scheduling an appointment to meet with a board-certified psychiatrist, many people find themselves self-medicating with mood-altering substances, such as drugs and alcohol to try and cope with their symptoms.[2]

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We all want to have a sound mind and body with the ability to function independently without having to depend on anyone—or, for that matter, anything else for help. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing symptoms of mental illness, you may just have to find the will and the way to reach out for help before the symptoms become unmanageable.

Lastly, although we may all have the ability to gain insight into any given situation, it’s almost impossible to maintain a completely objective point of view when it comes to identifying the depth and dimension of any of our own symptoms of mental illness given the fact that our perception of the problem may in fact be clouded by the very nature of the underlying illness itself. In other words, even though symptoms of mental illness may be present, you may be suffering from a disorder that actually impairs your ability to see them.

As a professional dual-diagnosis interventionist and a licensed psychotherapist with over two decades of experience working with people all over the world battling symptoms of mental illness and substance abuse—combined with my own personal insight into the subject, perhaps now more than ever—I am confident that you will appreciate learning how to recognize a variety of symptoms associated with some of the most common types of mental illness.

1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by persistent flashbacks and nightmares associated with previously experienced or witnessed life-threatening or traumatic events.[3] The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform normal daily activities and fulfill personal responsibilities.

Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder:

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  • recurrent and unwanted memories of an event
  • flashbacks to the event in “real-time”
  • nightmares involving the trauma
  • a physical reaction to an event that triggers traumatic memories
  • avoiding conversation related to the traumatic event
  • active avoidance of people, places, and things that trigger thoughts of the event
  • a sense of hopelessness
  • memory loss related to traumatic events
  • detached relationships
  • lack of interest in normal daily activities
  • feeling constantly guarded
  • feeling as if in constant danger
  • poor concentration
  • irritability
  • being easily startled
  • insomnia
  • substance abuse
  • engaging in dangerous behaviors

2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by persistent unwanted thoughts followed by urges to act on those thoughts repeatedly.[4] The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform normal daily activities and fulfill personal responsibilities.

Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder:

  • anxiety when an item is not in order or its correct position
  • recurrent and frequent doubt if doors have been locked
  • recurrent and frequent doubt if electronic devices and appliances have been turned off
  • recurrent and frequent fear of contamination by disease or poison
  • avoidance of social engagements with fear of touching others.
  • hand-washing
  • counting
  • checking
  • repetition of statements
  • positioning of items in strict order

3. Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder is a mood disorder characterized by a persistent depressed mood that impairs the ability to function. The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform normal daily activities and fulfill personal responsibilities.

Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder:

  • overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • lack of interest or pleasure in activities normally enjoyed
  • overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • sleep disturbances such as both insomnia and oversleep
  • overwhelming feelings of restlessness and irritability
  • lack of concentration
  • lack of appetite as well as overeating
  • thoughts of suicide

4. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder that may be characterized by uncontrollable mood swings ranging from severe depression to extreme mania. The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform normal daily activities and fulfill personal responsibilities.

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Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder:

  • easily distracted
  • racing thoughts
  • exaggerated euphoric sense of self-confidence
  • easily agitated
  • hyperverbal
  • markedly increased level of activity
  • overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • lack of interest or pleasure in activities normally enjoyed
  • overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • sleep disturbances such as both insomnia and oversleep
  • overwhelming feelings of restlessness and irritability
  • lack of concentration
  • lack of appetite as well as overeating
  • thoughts of suicide

5. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a thought disorder characterized by a breakdown between beliefs, emotions, and behaviors caused by delusions and hallucinations.[5]  The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform normal daily activities and fulfill personal responsibilities.

Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder:

  • delusions with false beliefs
  • hallucinations with a false sensory perception
  • disorganized thought with a meaningless unintelligible pattern of communication
  • disorganized behavior with catatonic appearance, bizarre posture, excessive agitation
  • flat affect
  • lack of eye contact
  • poor personal hygiene

6. Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat and excessive exercise. The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform normal daily activities and fulfill personal responsibilities.

Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder:

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  • extreme loss of weight
  • emaciated appearance
  • eroded teeth
  • thinning hair
  • dizziness
  • swollen extremities
  • dehydration
  • arrhythmia
  • irritated skin on knuckles
  • extreme food restriction
  • excessive exercise
  • self-induced vomiting
  • excessive fear of gaining weight
  • use of layered clothing to cover up body imperfections

7. Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight due to a distorted body image where large amounts of food are consumed and then purged. The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform normal daily activities and fulfill personal responsibilities.

Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder:

  • self-induced vomiting
  • consuming abnormally large amounts of food with the intent to purge
  • the constant fear of gaining weight
  • excessive exercising
  • excessive use of laxatives and diuretics to lose weight
  • food restriction
  • shame and guilt

Final Thoughts

From bipolar disorder to bulimia, major depression to dysthymia, there is a mental health diagnosis to fit any combination of symptoms that you may be experiencing. There are also a variety of corresponding self-assessment tests circulating all over the internet for you to choose from.

However, if you are looking for a proper diagnosis, I strongly suggest that you make an appointment to meet with a well-trained mental health professional in your community for more comprehensive and conclusive findings. Similar to cancer, early detection and treatment may significantly improve the prognosis for recovery.[6] And like I said, it’s impossible to be completely objective when it comes to self-diagnosing the condition of your own mental health or that of a loved one.

Furthermore, although the corner pharmacy may have plenty of over-the-counter medications that claim to help you fall asleep faster and even stay asleep longer, at the end of the day, no medication can actually resolve the underlying issues that have been negatively impacting your ability to sleep in the first place.

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Just like in business—and in the immortal words of Thomas A. Edison—“there is no substitute for hard work.” So, try to set aside as much time as you can to work on improving your mental health. After all, you are your most influential advocate, and your mind is your greatest asset.

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Featured photo credit: Sydney Sims via unsplash.com

Reference

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