Can you tell if you have anxiety or not? Do you feel like you go through life at a million miles an hour with racing thoughts and barely have time to catch your breath? Or maybe you’re a procrastinator and unnecessarily stress yourself out every time you get a new school or work assignment by putting it off until the last minute?
If this sounds familiar, perhaps you just need to prioritize your work, cut out the BS and do what is necessary to bring yourself to a less stressful place.
But what if you have an anxiety disorder and you can’t just “cut out the BS”. Your worry and fear are so strong that it stops you from completing everyday tasks and sometimes even getting out of bed and starting your day feels nearly impossible.
I’ve been learning more about anxiety disorders lately and while I don’t believe I have one, I’m trying to understand a day in the life of those that do. Personally, I experience what I call circumstantial anxiety (usually due to self-sabotage in the form of procrastination – I’m working on it lol).
While I’m sure there are several other variations, the three most common types of anxiety disorders consist of the following. Panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and disorders centered around phobias.
If you’re experiencing any of the following, it may be because you have an anxiety disorder and don’t know it. It is important to note that anxiety is not always chronic. Experiencing any of these signs when you’re noticeably stressed or anxious is also common.
Physical symptoms of these disorders could be any of the following:
- Chest pain
- Irregular urination or bowel movements
- Unexplainable pain
- Overall tenseness
- Impaired immune system
- Frequent headaches
Mental and emotional symptoms could also consist of:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Excessive worrying
If you’re like me, it can be easy to read something that sounds somewhat relatable and end up thinking that you have a condition that you may not have considered before. My goal with this article certainly isn’t to do that, but rather to provide some answers to those of you who may know that something is wrong but may not really know what it is.
Mental health is easier to understand and can become manageable when you understand that what you’re struggling with has a name, legitimate symptoms and ultimately potential treatments.
So now that we’ve outlined the physical and mental symptoms of an anxiety disorder, let’s talk about potential treatments.
There are several things you can do to treat your anxiety and ease your mind. While easier said than done, being proactive and responsible enough to help yourself out at a time when you need it the most can be a struggle in itself.
For an easy way to kick start your mental health routine, check out this FREE Printable! Take your mornings to the next level by trying this 14-day morning routine challenge. You’ll feel more productive and centered while keeping your mental health in check. (click the image to the left )
Here is what you can do in this instance…
Understand what triggers your anxiety
Just like other types of mental disorders, anxiety can be rooted from a variety of circumstances such as childhood trauma, abuse or neglect. Social isolation or experiencing discrimination can also lead to various mental conditions including anxiety.
It’s important to be honest with yourself and try to pinpoint just where your pain originates. Often, it can be something as simple as having too much pressure put on you as a kid and thinking that you have to be perfect in every aspect of life (grades in school, work, relationships, having kids etc.).
Observe when you’re being triggered
Applying this step to my own life has been so helpful with keeping me on track toward my goals. Going back to what I said before about self-sabotage, when I start to feel overwhelmed and can feel the desire for procrastination creep in, I’m able to observe that and do what is necessary to keep myself on track.
Usually this consists of taking some time for myself. In the past, I have overworked myself to the point where I cannot maintain even the slightest amount of work – aka burnout.
(If you’d like to read more on how to prevent burnout, I’ll link that article below)
In relation to an anxiety disorder, try to be aware of what causes your panic attacks or how you’re feeling right before it happens. If you’re able to acknowledge what is happening before you fall into the spiral of anxiety, you can then stop it.
Things to Help Ease Anxiety/Prevent it
Now that you have a better understanding of your triggers and you’re able to observe it, be proactive! Self-care can be very powerful.
While taking a bubble bath while listening to your favorite album is great, anxiety often needs stronger practices up front. Take that relaxing bath after you’ve tried other powerful practices such as avoiding alcohol, exercising, a healthy diet and meditation.
Here are why suggestions like these are so effective:
The drug alcohol is a suppressant. If you’re in a healthy state of mind and are using it responsibly, you’ll feel relaxed and when drinking socially, the whole situation is that much more enjoyable and carefree.
On the other hand, if you’re in an unhealthy/unwell state of mind the same “downer” effect can mix with the “negative” chemicals in your brain and can cause your anxiety to lead to severe depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Avoiding alcohol when you know you’re not mentally well is one of the most brave and responsible things you can do for yourself.
Aside from getting fresh air and feeling like you’re doing something positive for yourself, exercise is a great way to get a healthy, natural “high”.
When you exercise and endorphins are released in your brain, not only does it feel good in the moment, but your brain relates that to health and happiness which ultimately results in actually being healthy.
I totally butchered the explanation on that but basically, when your brain feels good, the rest of you feels good and your body is then capable to heal itself. Pretty amazing!
Having a healthy diet is important to maintain physical health and it’s no different for mental health. I think the connection between physical and mental health and well-being is so interesting.
If you’re taking care of your body, you’ll be able to notice a difference in your mental health.
Meditation is a great way to naturally reduce anxiety. Practicing the control it takes to center yourself and ease your mind is very effective and powerful.
If you are able to start meditation, understand that it could be very difficult at first and allow yourself time to slowly increase your practice time and methods.
If you’re staying on top of those three suggestions without much change, perhaps therapy would be useful for you. Cognitive behavioral and psychotherapy could be good options in this case.
I would speak to a counselor to see what type of therapy you could benefit from the most. Usually, you can start with a free consultation to figure out your next steps.
If your symptoms are severe, you may even get a prescription from your therapist for medication.
I hope this article helped you feel a little more at ease about understanding anxiety and the daily struggles. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if this helped or what you’ve done to cope with anxiety that you may have!
If self-care for mental health is something that interests you, check out the 3-Month Self-Care Challenge for Mental Health. In this course, I go over the methods and strategies that I’ve used to implement the mental health practices that I now call habits!
Click the link above, or check it out HERE
As promised, below you can find the article on How to Recover from Burnout (also how to prevent it).
Below that, I’ve shared the article on How to Develop Healthy Habits