What Is Anxiety? The Fact And The Fiction

Anxiety is something almost everyone will struggle with on occasion, even if only in times of high stress or life change. Globally over 260 million people suffer from anxiety—which means that you are not alone. Unfortunately, only one in three people explore treatment options for their anxiousness. This isn’t just because they are uncomfortable asking for help but often because they accept their response as a logical symptom of stress. Here are some a few useful facts and misconceptions about anxiety.  

Fact: Anxiety Manifests In Many Different Ways 

Anxiety manifests in three primary categories which can be either short-term or chronic:  

  1. Physical anxiety could include panic attacks, feeling constantly on edge, restlessness, hot or cold flashes, butterflies in your stomach, trembling, tics, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue after a good night’s sleep, inability to sleep, excessive scratching, nail biting, or picking at hair or skin, and more.
  2. Psychological anxiety could be mistaken as being a worry wart, excessive fear, constantly mapping out everything that could go wrong, an overall negative mindset, or obsessive thinking about things you cannot control—such as money, health, work, and family.  
  3. Behavioral anxiety could include physically avoiding people, places, or situations, phobias, excessive sleeping, participating in high-risk behaviors, becoming overly attached to a friend, family member or love interest, or refusal to leave a place of comfort—like never wanting to leave your house.   

Fiction: Depression And Anxiety Are The Same Thing 

Without a doubt, depression and anxiety can go hand in hand with about 50 percent of those with depression also struggling with anxiety. However, anxiety and depression are not the same mental health condition. This is why it is important to identify the root cause of your stress so that you can seek out the proper treatment options.   

Fact: Not All Anxiety Is An Ongoing Disorder 

Just because you are feeling anxious does not mean that you have an anxiety disorder, but circumstantial anxiety instead. For example, if you are uncomfortable speaking in public you may be anxious the week or two before your presentation—but your stress and anxiety will disappear once you’ve delivered your speech. Or maybe you are comfortable in small group settings but get stressed during parties, festivals, concerts, sporting events, at the airport, or when in other large crowds. Caffeine can trigger anxiety, as well as dieting, skipping meals, not getting a good night’s sleep, financial stress, prescription medications, being diagnosed with a health condition, and other stressors can trigger short-term anxiety. For anxiety to be classified as a disorder it would need to have an ongoing and daily negative impact on your life. This could include frequent panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, PTSD, phobias, social anxiety that impacts daily life, and obsessive worry.   

Fiction: Anxiety Is Difficult To Treat 

Whether short-term or chronic it may feel like your anxiety is insurmountable and as though easing your symptoms will take a large and long investment in time and energy. If your symptoms are chronic you may need to adopt an ongoing treatment plan, but easing your symptoms isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. The key is in learning the tools that work for you, and no—prescription medications aren’t your only option—but may be part of your treatment plan. Anxiety can be triggered by a variety of causes, including genetics, brain chemistry, and traumatic life events. Regardless of the trigger you can ease your stress with natural treatment options such as: 

  • Meditation—click here now for your free guided meditation 
  • Regular exercise 
  • Aromatherapy 
  • Massage therapy 
  • Journaling 
  • Talk therapy 
  • Pet therapy 
  • Time spent in nature 
  • Dietary changes 
  • And more 

Fact: Untreated Anxiety Disorders Can Escalate 

Circumstantial anxiety may continue to flare up in times of stress or when you are presented with your specific trigger. It is important to turn to the tools that work for you to ease these symptoms, but circumstantial anxiety is not likely to escalate. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder your symptoms may feel like a daily norm, something you have learned to live with. However, if your disorder goes untreated it is likely to grow more severe with time. This escalation will not only impact you—but have a negative impact on your friends, family, and often your career. The sooner you learn the tools that work for you the lesser your odds of your disorder escalating into something more disruptive.  

If you want to find out more or need a little more guidance on how to manage anxiety why not check out my book -  Your Life Your Way.  It's packed with practical advice, ideas, and exercises to help you live the life you deserve!

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