What is Anxiety?
Since Covid, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed have affected many in our society. Mental Health Disorders are not only limited to young people, but they can affect anyone at any time of their life with varying degrees of severity. Some people may have anxiety disorder while others may have depression, OCD, ADHD, and so on.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or unease that is caused by anticipation or fear of future events that could cause pain or harm in the future. Anxiety disorder happens when these feelings happen often and continue for over 6 months with difficulty functioning in day-to-day life because of it.
Physical and Emotional Symptoms of Anxiety
The first step in identifying anxiety is recognizing that you are experiencing it. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Muscle tension
- Low energy levels
- Chills or hot flashes
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to concentrate on anything for long periods of time without feeling restless or cranky.
- Difficulty sleeping, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep due to racing thoughts or other uncomfortable feelings in your body.
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities that you used to enjoy such as hobbies
Signs of Stress
In the age of social media and connectedness, it is easy to feel the immense pressure to be perfect. There are a number of signs that someone may be suffering from stress, it includes:
- Feeling overwhelmed by tasks, even if they are things you enjoy doing
- Feeling like someone is watching you or monitoring your actions too closely
- Physical symptoms such as aches or pains with no physical cause, frequent headaches, indigestion, difficulty sleeping or breathing properly
- Racing thoughts
- Being easily startled
- Being unable to focus on simple tasks for more than a few minutes at a time
- Unusual irritability and anger for little to no reason at all
Signs of Depression
Signs of depression include an unhappy mood or feeling sad for days on end, a noticeable loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, changes in sleeping and eating habits (either too much or too little), low energy and motivation levels throughout the day (sometimes leading to thoughts of suicide), and the inability to concentrate on tasks at work or home. Sometimes these symptoms are also accompanied by irritability and anger outbursts.
The first thing to do if you suspect that you have depression, stress, or anxiety is to talk to a professional who can help diagnose your mental health disorder.
If people are not feeling well physically, they should try to see what’s going on in their life that might be causing it. Asking for help from trusted friends and family is also an option.
How to Address Mental Health Issues in a Healthy Way
Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability in the world. It is estimated that one in four adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
Mental health problems should not be neglected because they can have a negative, long-term impact on both your health and overall quality of life.
There are many ways to manage your mental illness, either together or separately, which include treatments such as acupuncture, herbs, counseling, lifestyle changes, self-care practices, and medication.
Meditation practice is also an incredible tool for reducing stress by looking inward for solutions.
Watch this video for a guided meditation for anxiety and stress, and you can also set aside 5 minutes each day to practice breathing meditation to increase your focus, open your mind, and achieve your desired goals.
- Beck, A. T. & Emery, G. (1985). Anxiety disorders and phobias: A cognitive perspective. New York: Basic Books.
- Barlow, D. H. (2002). Anxiety and its disorders: The nature and treatment of anxiety and panic (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
- Chorpita, B. F., & Barlow, D. H. (1998). The development of anxiety: The role of control in the early environment. Psychological Bulletin.
- Derakshan, N. & Eysenck, M. W. (2009). Anxiety, processing efficiency, and cognitive performance: New developments from attentional control theory. European Psychologist.