Everyone feels anxious every now and then. There will always be situations that make life a little uncomfortable for a short period of time – anything out of the usual routine can cause a small element of worry to creep in, even if it’s a positive event or situation and something to look forward to. Our minds are pre-set to look for the negative and to search out ways to escape from unfamiliar situations if need be; it’s only natural.
However, some people suffer from anxiety or stress which means their natural instinct to be cautious becomes a much more life affecting the problem. Anxiety can become such a force that it takes over everything, causing misery and sometimes even leading to depression.
Since stress and anxiety can come in many different forms including panic attacks, social anxiety, and a variety of phobias, it can be difficult to tell when you are suffering from anxiety. The following signs should point you in the right direction and, if you recognize yourself in any of them, you may need to think about finding ways to manage your stress and anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the broadest version of this illness. It means that sufferers worry about everything from the biggest problems to the smallest of irritations. GAD is not a short-term issue but is actually something that goes on for many months at a time. A diagnosis can be made after six months. The anxiety, in this case, will become so bad that it completely interferes with day to day life by causing emotional distress, fatigue, perhaps even weight fluctuations and energy drops too.
Self-medication is never the answer when it comes to something like anxiety so seeking professional medical advice is the best thing you can do to get your life back together. In terms of ensuring you are relaxed and properly unwind, involve yourself in activities that help you to calm down and de-stress. This may be spending time with friends, going for long walks on your own, or perhaps alternative recreational methods. If that is something that interests you, you can get more information here.
Being unable to get to sleep, or being unable to stay asleep, can be associated with anxiety. Of course, if you have something important to do the next day such as a job interview or giving a speech, for example, sleep might be hard to come by. However, if you’re still finding it difficult, and you’re still tossing and turning even when you don’t have anything special to do the next day, you could be suffering from further stresses or potentially anxiety.
Lying awake feeling agitated and concerned about either a specific issue (financial problems, relationship doubts, even something that you did or said that day that you keep replaying in your mind) or about nothing that you can pinpoint other than a sense of doom or dread, can be a big problem partly because this signals anxiety and also because lack of sleep can potentially lead to further health problems, and may detract from a healthy lifestyle. Not getting enough sleep will not help in the prevention of other illnesses too including heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes or type 2 diabetes.
Try and find ways to unwind and maybe listen to music, as this may help to get you to sleep. Reading before bed is another idea that can help wind your body down ready to get some rest.
Sometimes anxiety isn’t generalized as it is with GAD. Sometimes it is extremely specific and focused on one particular fear. It could be anything such as crowds, heights, animals, clowns, or even the color blue – anything at all. It doesn’t have to have a reason behind it (hence the word ‘irrational’) and where it comes from can be a complete mystery, but the fact that it is there could signal anxiety.
This is especially true if the fear becomes completely overwhelming and disruptive to everyday life. If the fear and the way you live your life around it is utterly disproportionate to the risk involved, then it is a phobia, which is classified as a type of anxiety disorder.
Phobias don’t have to be something you think of all the time – this is not like a generalized anxiety disorder. Instead, phobias can be hidden or even go unnoticed for years at a time until something happens to trigger them. You might, for example, have a fear of flying, but because you never go on a plane, it’s not something you really think about until your child asks to go on vacation somewhere and a flight will be involved. If you potentially think you could have an irrational fear, there are many ways to seek help, such as talking to loved ones or professionals.
Have you never noticed that your muscles are constantly tensed? You may even have lived with it for so long in such a persistent state that you don’t notice it anymore.
Muscle tension can cause a restless night’s sleep (or, more usually, more than one night) and even cause injury as with muscles are always tense they don’t allow for as much flexibility as the body really needs. One way to combat the symptom of muscle tension is to work out regularly. This will help to loosen the muscles and make things a lot more comfortable. Exercising can also go towards easing anxiety and stress in general due to the endorphins that it produces which makes up feel good. However, exercise alone won’t be enough to solve your deep-seated anxiety or stress problems, and a medical professional’s advice may be needed if problems run potentially deeper.
Anxiety and stress can cause many physical symptoms as well as mental ones, and one of the most severe and discomforting of all those conditions is the digestive issues it can bring about. Anxiety begins in mind, but since the mind and body are so well linked, they do affect one another.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that includes cramping, stomach aches, constipation, gas, bloating or (sometimes and) diarrhea. Although IBS isn’t always linked to anxiety, the two conditions are often found together. The digestive tract is extremely sensitive, and any little (or large) changes in the body or the mind can cause it to become irritated. Seeking medical advice can help in terms of managing any digestive issues you may have.