Anxiety is a common struggle for many people. The good news is that mental health is finally becoming part of the broader well-being conversation among medical professionals and the public–which helps eliminate the stigma of mental health struggles and allows us to find ways to treat it and cope with it.
If you struggle with anxiety, know that you are not alone. In fact, let’s take a look at some statistics that demonstrate how prevalent anxiety is in our world:
Before you can understand how to calm your mind from anxiety, you first need a solid grasp on what anxiety is.
Anxiety is the mind and body’s response to something that worries or unsettles you, causing an overall feeling of tension and worry. It’s a common emotion, and many people experience anxiety during particularly stressful moments in life, such as helping a loved one with a serious illness. These stressful moments are called “triggers” and are what prompts an anxious response.
However, anxiety can intensify and become a constant part of someone’s mind in all that they do, making it difficult to go about their daily activities. Typically when anxiety reaches this point, a person has developed an anxiety disorder.
Let’s talk about some of the common triggers, symptoms, disorders, and questions to help you figure out how to manage anxiety.
From a big presentation at work to a mounting pile of laundry at home, everybody experiences stress to some degree. So, what makes stress different from anxiety?
Stress is a response to something uncomfortable, such as a busy schedule or upcoming deadline. It is usually short-lived and goes away after the trigger has passed.
Anxiety is a response to stress and is more persistent and ongoing. The cause of anxiety is also a bit more difficult to pinpoint. While you might feel stress about your busy week ahead, anxiety could show up as an intense fear of attending a work meeting or cause you to feel nauseous while you’re in meetings for weeks. An anxious reaction is a bit more severe and long-term than stress.
So many things can trigger an anxious response and it largely depends on each individual. Some common triggers include:
If you’re dealing with anxiety (particularly a severe form that hinders your daily life), it’s natural to wonder why things that seem so easy to other people are so difficult for you.
The truth is that some people are more prone to anxious thoughts than others. Both genetics and life experiences can affect anxiety. Additionally, there may be current factors in your life (like some of the triggers above) that are contributing to building up your anxiety.
Crippling anxiety is when potentially high-functioning anxiety and its symptoms heighten. Someone with crippling anxiety will have anxiety present most of the time and experience symptoms so strong that they may be unable to do day-to-day tasks. As Talkspace shares, there are several common symptoms of crippling anxiety:
As Talkspace continues, if someone experiences crippling anxiety, it’s possible that they have an anxiety disorder. That could include one of the following:
Debilitating anxiety is one step past crippling anxiety. While your crippling anxiety might be constant and overwhelming, you still may be able to do some of your day-to-day tasks.
Once your anxiety reaches a point where you start to break down and are unable to think of anything else, you have reached the point of debilitating anxiety. For example, a panic attack is when anxiety becomes debilitating.
If you’re feeling a panic attack coming on or are experiencing any of the symptoms of crippling anxiety listed above, there are a few techniques that will help you figure out how to reduce anxiety and quickly calm yourself in the moment.
If you feel you may have an anxiety disorder or that your anxiety is uncontrollable, consider taking steps to figure out how to deal with anxiety and improve your mental health in the long-term. Below are some steps you can take to start treating your anxiety:
Any of the above steps should help you understand how to calm down anxiety. However, everyone may have different techniques and practices that better reduce or stop anxiety. The first step to take with uncontrollable anxiety is to seek professional help. A counselor or doctor can recommend the best strategies to help you regain control of your anxiety and find a way to manage it in your life.
The good news is anxiety is very treatable if you seek help, and many people notice an improvement in their anxiety after a few sessions with a trained professional.
Regardless of whether you experience anxiety yourself, it’s probable that you know someone else who struggles with it. If you notice a friend, family member, or coworker showing any of the symptoms listed above, consider these strategies to support them:
If you or someone you know is considering suicide or having suicidal thoughts, consult this list of international suicide hotlines. You can speak to someone immediately and receive the help you need.
Anxiety is a common emotion and many people struggle with an anxiety disorder that can negatively affect daily life.
There are techniques you can implement to calm your anxiety, but seeking help from a professional is the most effective and beneficial way to treat and manage ongoing anxiety.
If you know someone who is struggling with mental health, you can help by listening, sharing mental health resources, and encouraging your loved one to consult a professional for any advice.
Because, while stress and even anxiety can be somewhat normal parts of our daily lives, they shouldn’t be persistent emotions that hold you back from being your happiest and healthiest self.
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