What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of inner turmoil, an unpleasant sense of dread over anticipated events. It is a feeling of uneasiness and worries, usually generalised as an overreaction to a situation that may subjectively seem menacing. While fear is a response to an immediate threat, Anxiety involves the expectation of a future threat.
Anxiety is of two kinds, ‘state’ and ‘trait’. State anxiety is a momentary issue whereas trait anxiety is the perpetual state of being anxious. It involves worrying about future events, anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterised by feelings of anxiety and fear.
The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are considered to be responsible for anxiety and mood disorders.The neurotransmitters take charge of the regulating various bodily functions. Serotonin is a hormone that directly affects sleep, mood, appetite and other regulatory functions. Experts believe that reduced levels of this important hormone contribute to depression and anxiety.
Dopamine is also an important chemical that is very important for the body and the brain. It regulates how the body reacts to different emotions. It influences a person’s energy levels, attention and other movements. Neurotransmitter dopamine adds to the symptoms of anxiety. It is known to cause anxiety disorders.
Anxiety may be genetic. Studies have shown that most people with anxiety disorders are up to 8 times more likely to have a first-degree relative suffering from a similar condition.
Anxiety affects behavior in various ways. Sometimes it hampers the overall personality of a person. The behavioral effects of anxiety can be withdrawal from circumstances that have instigated anxiety or negative feelings previously. Other effects are change in habit, variation in food intake, distorted sleeping cycle, and increased motor tension (such as foot tapping).
The emotional effects of anxiety are many. Most common effects are feels of dread or apprehension, overthinking, feeling tensed, restlessness, irritability, empty mindedness and waiting for signs of danger. The thoughts about suspected threats, like fear of death, counts as a cognitive effect of anxiety. You might fear that your heart might come out piercing your chest or the headaches are due to some tumor.
Triggers and Tips to Overcome Anxiety
Anxiety triggers can be different for every person, but a lot of triggers are common among people with these conditions. Many people find out that they have different triggers. However, for some people, anxiety attacks occur for no reason at all.
To solve the problem, it’s important crucial to discover the triggers that you may have. Finding out your triggers in the first place is the only way to overcome anxiety.
- Medications and supplements – There are hormone-based medicines or over-the-counter supplements that help in creating a balance in the body. By maintaining the hormonal balance, the episodes of anxiety can reduce. Sometimes, a regular cup of coffee might be a trigger. Any food or drink with caffeine in it can be an unexpected source of the trigger. Your trigger could be something you are consuming on a daily basis. Make a list of everything you eat or drink, consult your doctor to find the item you must forbid.
- Caffeine – Some people literally cannot function without their morning cup of coffee, which is harmful for a person with anxiety. A study suggests that people with panic disorders and social anxiety disorders are exclusively sensitive to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine.
- Skipping Meals–Nutrition plays a crucial role in the proper the functioning of the body. Skipping meals is a strict ‘NO’ for people with anxiety. Missing meals makes the blood sugar levels drop down and leads to trembling hands and a roaring tummy. Low blood pressure tends to trigger anxiety. Eat wholesome meals that provide the necessary nutrients. If it is difficult to manage three meals a day, healthy foods are the perfect way to avoid feelings of nervousness, low blood sugar levels, and anxiety. Also, avoid junk food. Don’t forget, food highly affects your mood.
After the identification of the cause, the next phase is taking the necessary steps to overcome anxiety.
- Practice 4/7/8 Breathing – Practice this easy breathing technique to calm your nerves when panicking. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat a few times to relax your body and mind.
- Ground Yourself –First list five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This takes your mind away from the stress and helps you calm down.
- H.A.L.T Your Anxiety – H.A.L.T stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. Whenever you feel like you’re on the edge of panic, run down the checklist and take action to fix one of the possible four causes.
- Get on a Sleep Schedule – Maintain a proper sleep schedule, avoid staying up late at nights and get a good and long night sleep to recharge yourself after a tiring day. Waking up early and doing some light exercise and yoga might also benefit.
If the steps mentioned above do not help relieve the problem, it’s the right time to consider a doctor. Sometimes anxiety is beyond home-remedies and self-help tips. It requires appropriate medical consultation and therapy; or sometimes medication(if necessary). Mental illness is like any other medical illness, and it’s okay to seek help when your anxiety goes out of control.