Recognizing the Symptoms of Anxiety
Everyone has anxiety sometimes. It can actually be a good thing because it lets you know if something in your environment isn’t right, alerting you to danger so you can adjust and keep yourself safe. But when anxiety is a constant companion, it can cause chronic stress that may lead to health problems, relationship issues, and other quality of life concerns.
Anxiety isn’t always easy to recognize, so we’ve compiled some of its symptoms here, to help you identify whether you might have a chronic anxiety issue. Check with your doctor to determine whether your individual symptoms may be related to anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Here are some of the common and more surprising symptoms that can manifest in people with chronic anxiety:
- Increased heart rate
- Clammy palms
- Rapid breathing
- Nervous feelings
- Chronic tiredness
- Intermittent or chronic gastrointestinal issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Persistent worry
- Problems with procrastination
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Short temper, easily angered
- Chronic tension headaches
Anxiety can hide behind some of these other symptoms, making it hard to recognize sometimes. Some of its symptoms overlap with stress, depression, or are easy to accept as just normal feelings in this day and age.
If you have suicidal thoughts, you feel that your symptoms are negatively impacting your daily life, you are abusing drugs or alcohol to cope with them, or they are negatively affecting your quality of life, work, or other relationships, consult your doctor right away.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
It isn’t known with certainty exactly why some people develop anxiety disorders but others don’t. It’s possible that genetics play a role in making someone more prone to developing problems with anxiety, and then environmental factors can activate those tendencies. Here are some triggers that are commonly associated with the development of chronic anxiety problems:
- Traumatic events
- Some medical problems
- Medication side effects
- The presence of other mental disorders
How to Deal with Anxiety
First, always check with your doctor to see if there are any underlying medical problems that need to be addressed or whether you might benefit from taking anti-anxiety medications. Here are some basic ways to fight chronic anxiety:
- Get exercise every day. Moving your body is a powerful way to lower anxiety levels. Not only is it a physical way to “blow off steam,” but it also releases endorphins that help calm your brain.
- Use meditation. Meditation is a powerful way to help train your brain to react the way you want it to in certain situations. Training your brain to remain peaceful can lessen your anxiety symptoms. One way to use meditation and affirmations is during sleep, by listening to tracks meant to train your brain to be less anxious and more peaceful.
- Be sure to keep your social connections active and healthy. Isolation makes anxiety worse. Nurture your friendships and indulge in hobbies that help you feel happy and calm.
- Avoid using alcohol or drugs to dampen symptoms. Ultimately, using alcohol or drugs does not have a lasting positive impact on anxiety, and it can create other health and social problems.
- Consider aromatherapy. Using essential oils to trigger powerful calming reactions in the brain can help some people with their anxiety symptoms.
- Try yoga. The practice of yoga is geared toward settling and calming the mind and body, and doing it routinely can help you control your anxiety.
Anxiety can be tricky to identify and take time and energy to manage, but the improvements in your quality of life from doing so will be priceless.