Do you know the difference between normal anxiety and anxiety disorder? If not, let My Mind News explain.
It’s all about anxiety
Closing out Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 on the theme of anxiety, we are going to talk about anxiety disorders for a couple of minutes.
Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health problems faced by the general population today, regardless of where you might live. In fact, four out of every 100 people worldwide have an anxiety disorder, and research by the University of Cambridge has shown that women and young people under 39 are most affected.
Anxiety disorders reportedly cost the healthcare system and employers over US$42 billion each year in the US alone. Left untreated or unattended, such disorders can lead to depression, substance use, and suicide.
There is a difference between normal anxiety, which we all experience, and an anxiety disorder.
Normal anxiety is a feeling that motivates you, mobilizes you for action, and protects you. In the modern world, anxiety makes you feel energized as you try to meet an imminent deadline or a rush if you find out someone close to you has been in an accident.
But if these feelings start arising in situations that don’t pose a real and present threat, that’s when you might have an anxiety disorder.
There are different types of anxiety disorders, and some of the most common are panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. If you have panic disorder, you feel intense spikes of anxiety arising out of the blue; your heart starts beating fast, and you feel dizzy and out of breath. You might even think you’re about to have a heart attack or die in the worst cases.
Generalized anxiety disorders
If you have a generalized anxiety disorder, you tend to worry about everything happening in your life and find it difficult to shift attention from your worries onto something else. The worries can be so intrusive that they can make you want to skip school, work, or even essential life events.
Anxiety leaves no marks, scars, or bruises on your body. However, it can be more debilitating than serious physical illnesses like cancer or diabetes.
There is medication to help, but relapses are common, and some people don’t even experience any improvement in their symptoms. There is also cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but waiting times to get an appointment can be long, and not all therapists are well-suited for everyone.
All that said, whatever options you choose, you can actually help yourself using some simple methods based on scientific evidence.
People with anxiety often edit what they’re about to say in their minds because they don’t want to offend anyone or are afraid of the repercussions if they do. These people try to find the perfect moment to bring up something and worry about their impact on other people.
In general, they tend to assume the worst and worry about everything that might go wrong in any situation. Because people with anxiety are afraid to voice their ideas, they often feel unassertive and that others take advantage of them.
According to the University of Cambridge researchers, the solution is to stop censoring what you say or do. Even though it might seem hard initially, it’s essential to start doing it. Start with the people you feel most comfortable with and extend it to others around you, one by one.
As soon as you begin to do this, you will feel a sense of ease and see yourself as an independent thinker. And this is a skill that can be developed with practice over time.
Live in the now
Living and being present in the moment are both vital to helping overcome anxiety disorders. Only think about what you’re doing right now. Do you think a lot about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow? This could mean you’re not living in the present. And if you’re not living in the present, you’re more likely to experience anxiety.
But there is a way out. Whenever you have upsetting thoughts, don’t feed them with energy. Instead, try to focus as much as possible on what you’re doing in the present moment. Next time you’re drinking a warm beverage, for example, try to become immersed in the experience. See how holding the hot mug feels against your skin and smell the aroma.
When you become immersed in the present moment, your body relaxes, and your mind becomes peaceful. Many research studies have shown this type of mindfulness meditation to lower anxiety.
Learn the ability to lose
Because people with anxiety sometimes find it more challenging when making connections with others, they feel they must do everything in their power to maintain their relationships. This can make them needy and dependent.
But to preserve your mental health, according to the researchers, it is essential to lose. If you upset someone and can see that they don’t want your friendship anymore, let it go. This is better for your dignity and, ironically, can build your sense of security as you begin to feel more reliant on yourself.
As ancient Buddhist monks used to say, “When you let go of clinging, you can experience something else.” When you stop thinking about situations that can’t be changed, your mind automatically starts thinking about possibilities for the future. This can be both exhilarating and energizing.
In fact, learning to lose isn’t just about relationships. It can apply to all manner of aspects of everyday life. You might give it a go and see where it takes you.
What do you think about the advice presented in this article? Will you be trying out the techniques suggested? If so, tell us about your experiences in the comments. And good luck!