Anxiety

Anxiety

It’s quite normal to feel anxious from time to time, in fact if you didn’t feel a little flutter of nervousness or fear in nerve-wracking situations, it would be strange. But what about when you feel consistently anxious, even when there’s no imminent threat or reason? Usually, anxiety goes away when the situation causing it ends, but when your anxiety is tied up in nebulous threats like the diminishing ozone layer, the world economy or local crime, the situation doesn’t end and you’re stuck with an overriding sense of unease. There are degrees of anxiety – from a mild feeling of uneasiness to extreme panic.

FROM HERE TO THERE

There are a number of factors that can influence whether or not you experience levels of anxiety that negatively affect your life. If you have a family history of anxiety, you could be more susceptible; a chemical imbalance in your brain could be a cause; some life experiences (such as abuse, bullying, work stress or conflict) can trigger anxiety-riddled thought patterns; people who are shy or have low self-esteem are more susceptible to anxiety; perfectionists are also at more risk; and people who have an avoidant personality are less likely to learn coping mechanisms for stressful situations.

Anxious thoughts can lead to generalised anxiety disorder; a specific phobia (such as fear of spiders, or flying); panic disorder; obsessive compulsive disorder; and social anxiety disorder. Post-traumatic stress is also included in the anxiety disorder mix, but is triggered by a traumatic event only.

PERSISTENT

The Canadian Anxiety Centre says there are over 100 possible symptoms that you can experience – it’s down to your individual peculiarities, personality and circumstance. Many of the symptoms could be linked to other conditions; for example, muscle soreness and weakness coupled with fatigue could be construed as the onset of a bout of flu.

Possible signs of anxiety include such variety of symptoms, from back pain, stiffness, spasms, tension or pressure, exhaustion, dizziness and trembling or heart palpitations, to fear of losing your mind, nightmares or feeling under pressure constantly.

The myriad symptoms and almost endless permutations make for difficult diagnoses; however, if you’re unsure what’s making you feel queasy and uneasy, seek professional help and take steps to ease the anxiety.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

Although medication is sometimes a necessary evil, it’s best to attempt more natural and sustainable approaches before reaching for a packet of pills. Cognitive behaviour therapy is preferable to taking medication such as anti-anxiety pills (which can lead to dependence or addiction) or antidepressants, which come with their own set of undesirable side effects. This type of therapy centres on your thought patterns – identifying and understanding what triggers a spiral of negative thought that may lead to anxiety. Once thought patterns are identified, then the therapy moves toward finding ways to change your anxiety-related behaviour (such as avoidance or restlessness).
You can also make lifestyle changes, such as the usual healthy admonitions of eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, as well as cutting down on caffeine and alcohol intake. Additionally, learn how to manage your time effectively and remember to include downtime in your daily schedule. Certain supplements or natural anti-anxiety medications can assist in managing your spiral into over-anxiety – see protocol below..


RECOMMENDED PROTOCOL

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