The first case of anxiety disorder was diagnosed as far back as 1869. George Miller described ‘neurasthenia’ with signs like ‘hysteria’ and ‘neuralgic pain’. Later, Pierre Janet said that manifestations of anxiety could be triggered by subconscious pre-fixed ideas. Today, roughly 275 million people across the world suffer are diagnosed with anxiety.
The most common causes are panic and stress, phobia, use of illicit drugs and lack of adequate oxygen in certain circumstances, such as high altitudes. It could also be a symptom of a medical condition. You might experience:
- Nervousness and restlessness
- Pounding heartbeat for a long time
- Sweaty palms and nail-biting
- Trembling and trouble focusing
Anxiety can be part of your genetic makeup. But the good news is that there are some effective ways to cope with it and reduce its impact on your life. Take a look at a few professional and natural ways to manage anxiety.
Talk to a therapist
Multiple forms of anxiety exist, such as generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each one requires a different management approach. So, it is crucial to consult a professional. The sessions will include a specific behavioral approach that targets symptoms, while insight therapy can help understand the root of the anxiety. Relapse prevention techniques can also be suggested to avoid it from reoccurring. Schedule your appointment as early as possible. Delays can worsen the symptoms and lead to insomnia or even impact cognitive functioning.
Identify your triggers
Every individual has specific trigger points. For example, challenged beliefs, insecurities, being excluded, disapproval and criticism can make you anxious. So, try to figure the specific situation that tend to generate a strong emotional response. Listen to your body, stop and step back to consider what happened, try to dig a bit more into the situation and trace the roots. Your frame of mind and current mood will determine your reaction to certain events and memories.
Watch your meals
There are multiple items we eat daily that can trigger anxiety symptoms. Sugar, in particular, can leave you highly energized till the blood sugar levels drop rapidly. This will release both cortisol and adrenaline into your blood stream, causing anxiety. Food additives, fried foods and a high dose of caffeine can also leave you feeling distressed. So, consume these in moderation. Add lots of fatty fish like salmon, as well as eggs, nuts, yoghurt and pumpkin seeds to your daily diet.
Practise positive thinking
Not everyone is born an optimist. But try to see the good in every situation. Inspire yourself through music, poetry or nature. Accept the negatives and embrace them as opportunities to learn and grow. These will help your mind calm down and induce peace. Besides reducing anxiety, a positive attitude comes with a plethora of health benefits. These include lower rates of depression, better psychological health and stronger coping skills.
Anyone living with anxiety can lead a productive and happy life through consistent management. Further, sleep well, exercise regularly and try not to be embarrassed by your fears. Keep consulting an experienced therapist to guide you through your journey.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg. He tweets @dennisr_howell.
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