How common is the problem of anxiety? It is more common than you think. Currently it is affecting more than 40 million people in the U.S., with ages 18 and above. One in every10 people develops this mental state once in their lifetime.
If an uncertain fear or some other phobia lingers your mind all the time, then you might be experiencing a state of anxiety. No matter how much you try, you fail to get rid of the dreadful feeling. The situation is more like being caught up in a loop of negative thoughts.
As far as statistics are concerned women are more prone to develop this mental illness compared to men. The chances of developing the disease are more in childhood and early adulthood. Anxiety disorder can be genetically inherited; life events, personality and brain chemistry are also responsible for causing this disorder.
One thing good about this disorder is that it is highly treatable. However, only one-third of the population suffering from anxiety gets medical assistance.
If you think you are having an anxiety problem look for the following symptoms:
- Uncontrollable fearful thoughts
- Sweating of hands and feet
- Dry mouth
- Muscle tension
- Numbness of hands and feet
- Problem in sleeping
- Backache or headache
- Breathing problem
- Lack of energy
Timely treatment can help you get rid of the problem once and for all. Here are some of the tips you can follow that will help you take control of your anxiety problem.
Be Present Oriented
Negative thoughts related to your future can trigger anxiety. Get rid of future oriented thoughts and focus on your present. Also try to stay away from the traumatic thoughts of the past because there is nothing you can do to change them.
It is a good idea to set realistic goals for your future but your main focus should be how to make your present better. This will help you get rid of the fears and insecurity regarding your future.
There is no doubt about it that medications can help you get rid of anxiety disorder. Most of the times medical professionals would prescribe benzodiazepines to treat anxiety. The most commonly used drug is Diazepam (valium) and in severe cases of anxiety and depression SSRIs are recommended, also known as “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors”.
If you want to deal your anxiety disorder with drugless methods then psychotherapy is a good option, in which mental health professionals help people to get out of the stressful situations by talking to them.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one such therapy which is very effective for treating anxiety problems, by analyzing your potential fears which you believe that can trigger your anxiety and by changing your thinking patterns regarding those fears. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you to substitute negative thoughts with positive ones.
Meditation and deep breathing techniques are very helpful in getting rid of anxiety and other stressful situations. All you have to do is sit on the floor with your legs crossed and keep your eyes closed. Now take deep breaths, fixing your attention on the inhalation and exhalation process. Try to keep your mind free of thoughts; your entire concentration should be on the breathing process. You can follow this routine for 10 to 15 minutes once a day.
Keep Yourself Busy
When you are idle, stressful thoughts can stick to mind and disturb you. Try to stay relaxed and get engaged in activities you enjoy such as games, gardening, reading and other activity.
Yoga and other physical exercises can help a great deal to cope with anxiety disorders. Even a simple walk is equally effective. Regular walks can help release endorphins which help to get rid of stress. Physical exercise of 15 to 50 minutes for 5 days in a week is enough to give you beneficial results.
Make healthy choices of food that help you maintain your physical health. Conditions like anxiety can make your body feel weak so it is important that you eat nutrients that give your body energy such as carbohydrates and proteins. Omega-3 fatty acids are very helpful in maintaining brain and heart health; you can find them in walnuts, fish and soy products. Do not take in too much of refined sugar and processed foods.
Limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks and quit smoking.
Discourage Self-centered Thoughts
The more you will think about yourself the more you will fall victim to anxiety. Try to focus on others rather than yourself, think about ways to make other people happy, be helpful and sympathetic. This will not only make others happy but would also provide you with self-satisfaction and would keep the anxiety away.
Socializing is one of the best ways you can get rid of anxiety. Discuss your problem with friends who you think can give you good solutions to your problems. Share a good laugh with your friends and try to engage in social activities to keep yourself busy. This will give you a less chance to think about your anxiety.
Make Lifestyle Changes
To live an anxiety free life, make changes to your routine. Practice healthy habits that can benefit your physical as well as mental health. Go to bed early and wake up early. Having a routine can help you get away from problems like stress and anxiety.
If you are not satisfied with your job, find a new one. Sometimes changing the residence can also be helpful. Try to stay away from all the factors that can cause stress, as it is one of the major triggers of anxiety.
Image Courtesy: Flickr, Porsche Brosseau