Anxiety is like fighting inner demons.
Imagine yourself preparing to go to a party. You feel excited, but also nervous, and your heart is pounding so fast and loud that you can’t hear anything else.
Thoughts are racing through your mind.
“I have to be cautious or something bad may happen to me.”
“Who should I talk to when I get there? What if others find me weird?”
You find yourself feeling tensed throughout the party, hands sweating and worry driven. It is just an out-of-body experience watching yourself talk to people and you are feeling utterly terrible. This has been the social experience for you all the time.
Let’s understand what anxiety is.
Anxiety is the feeling of tension, nervousness, apprehension and worry. In this day and age, it is normal to experience occasional anxiety that leads to common symptoms such as higher heart rates, cold sweats or insomnia.
We all face anxieties from either work, school, relationships or health issues.
But when you experience one that is persistent, uncontrollable and is hindering you from day-to-day activities, then you are suffering from anxiety disorder. It is important to differentiate between normal anxiety and anxiety disorder that requires immediate attention.
Here’s a little bite-sized info-graphic I created. Feel free to share with your friends!
Anxiety Disorder and its causes
American Psychological Association (APA) describes a person with anxiety disorder as “having recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.”
When the duration and severity of the anxiety becomes too long and large, it has blown out of proportions and you simply cannot cope. For most, physical symptoms experienced are increased heartbeats, nausea and sweaty palms. These symptoms make you want to avoid certain places or situations to prevent these feelings. They may have started early in childhood and persists throughout adulthood, leading to depression, school dropouts and suicide.
World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide. The causes of anxiety disorder aren’t fully understood yet and varies from person to person. There are however, some common external factors that have been identified that causes anxiety. Being in constant pressure from school, work or family is the main reason that triggers anxiety in us.
Our fast but demanding pace of life has taken a toll on many of our mental health, especially when we are unable to meet the high expectations. For others, difficult experiences during childhood or going through a traumatic incident have a large impact on triggering anxiety.
Anxiety can be a result of a combination of factors from the above. Your environment and personal history is likely to play a part in your mental health.
Several categories of anxiety disorder
At least a fifth of all people will experience some kind of diagnose-able anxiety disorder at some point in our lives. And that’s actually a lot of us, so let’s understand more about the different categories of anxiety disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
It is the most common form of anxiety disorder and involves being excessively worried about life events and activities, even about normal day routine. The worry is often out of proportion to the actual situation but it is affecting your feelings and you aren’t able to control it. Most of the time, it leads to depression.
Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder is more than just shyness. It is the fear of being negatively judged and evaluated in a social situation. People with social anxiety disorder feel worried about their outlook such as stuttering or blushing or other people’s opinion about them such as being awkward or stupid. As a result, it leads them to avoid joining social gatherings or being in public crowded places. In more extreme cases, they end up rejecting job offerings that require interactions with others and having no social circle at all.
Picture taken from www.bridgestorecovery.com/
Panic attacks occur when you have a sudden pang of fear or terror that peaks within minutes and may last for a few hours. You may feel short of breath, chest pain and heart palpitations. It usually happens after going through a frightening experience and is often misunderstood as an illness.
Phobia is known as having irrational fears of an object, person or situation and being unable to control or suppress the fears. People with phobia tend to feel an irrational fear of endangerment and would avoid being subjected closed to the object or being caught in the situation. In general, women have more phobias than men. Some of the common phobias include fear of the natural environment, animals, being trapped in a small place and driving.
Picture taken from www.fearofstuff.com
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a mental disorder that occurs in people who are caught in a cycle of obsession and compulsion. Obsession is intrusive thoughts or urges that gives you distressing feelings that are uncontrollable. Compulsion is the act of getting rid of the obsession or distressing feeling. The individual may have repetitive behavior with the intention of neutralizing or making the obsession go away. Some OCDs come and go, but often, they worsen over time and interfere with the individual’s life.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
This is an anxiety formed from past traumas, such as sexual assaults, car accidents or kidnapping incidents. PTSD may lead to flashbacks of the incident and a behavioral change to avoid remembering the past.
Picture taken from www.deseretnews.com
How can I overcome my anxiety disorder?
While there are many forms of anxiety disorder, do know that it can be solved! Hack your brain into relaxation with these 5 tips!
1. Stress management
Learning how to manage stress can help to keep your worries at bay. Make a To-do-list and priorities the more urgent work to be completed to keep an eye on the deadlines. For the goal-oriented individuals, sometimes it is better to break down the job into smaller ones. For example, don’t force yourself to answer all 100 emails if you don’t have to, just answer a few of them at a time.
Picture taken from www.momskoop.com
After work, give yourself downtime to set your mind off the stressful bits. Engage in simple activities can help to relax your mind. There are many stress reduction activities you can choose from such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, long baths, resting in the dark, and yoga. There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress so try a few and see what works best for you!
2. Retail Therapy
If you’re somewhat like me, its often easy to get overwhelmed with work. Sometimes, all you need is to detach yourself from whatever you’re doing, and just scroll through some retail stores that you love! It’s almost therapeutic to read about products or people. Like reading a book, but with emphasis on things that literally make my brain light up!
If you’re interested, you can check out this website, where the author places parts of her personality throughout the shop! It’s definitely entertaining! I do not receive any money or payments from the author, but she’s a friend and I love what she’s doing.
3. Professional counseling
While many of us have taken the initiative to maintain good habits to manage stress and anxiety, it will be good to seek for medical advice should your anxiety disorder worsens. Psychological counseling is a standard way for treating anxiety and it usually involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT helps you to recognize and change your thinking patterns when you are having anxiety. Its aim is to change the way you react to situations that trigger your anxiety and to confront your fears.
Other forms of therapy exists such as psychotherapy and aromatherapy but ultimately, the goal is to overcome your fears and anxiety by seeking help from professionals.
I found that reading about mental illnesses themselves helped me to be less overwhelmed by it during tough times. What’s more, a good read helps me to sleep easy too! Right now, I’m reading the Anxiety and Worry Workbook, which is all about having relief from anxiety through cognitive behavior therapy!
3. Stay active
Pick up your exercise clothes and put on your running shoes. Exercising is vital for maintaining mental fitness, reducing fatigue, improving alertness and at enhancing overall cognitive function. Engaging in physical exertion can also enhance self-image and release chemicals in the brain that trigger positive feelings. Aim to exercise regularly. Regular physical activity will improve your quality of sleep, which helps your overall health being.
The best way to stay active is to be with your group of friends! Studies have shown that social interactions and building relationships can reduce the level of stress hormone cortisol.
Friends can also be incredibly supportive and positive during times of difficulties. So don’t be afraid to meet and open up to your friends, who may just be the happy pill for you to overcome stress and anxiety disorder.
4. Eating Habits
Adopting an appropriate diet is vital for both your physical and mental health. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and drugs. Research shows that people with anxiety disorders are two to three times more likely to have problems with drugs and alcohol at some point in their lives than the general population.
But that’s not all: Abuse of alcohol or drugs can also lead to an anxiety attack. Meanwhile, drinking too much caffeine affects your sleep and increases your stress hormones. Hence, it is recommended to stay away from alcohol, caffeine and drugs.
Here’s a drink to replace caffeinated products and alcohol, which can help with anxiety! I would like to recommend drinking lavender lemonade, as it has proven to be a healthy solution to deal with stress, anxiety and depression. Containing more than 150 active compounds, lavender is also an effective antidepressant, which means that it helps with depression.
Picture taken from www.mountainsidelavender.com
Personally, I love drinking lavender lemonade because of the sweet flower smell and slightly minty taste. When I am feeling stressed, I would take a break to make a cup of lavender lemonade because it makes me feel better afterwards. Now, it is one of my favorite drinks and it may be yours too! Give it a try and let me know your comments about it!
It’s no surprise that certain sounds are exceptionally soothing to some people. Some people listen to waves crashing on a beach or birds chirping in a forest to fall asleep because they have a calming effect. While for some people, it’s more unconventional soundtracks that allow them to reach a state of serenity, like whispering or crunching shards of soap.
More and more people are recognizing and enjoying such sounds, which is known as ASMR. But even as the online community grows, there’s still a surprising lack of knowledge about it. Like, what exactly is ASMR? Does it only help to make you feel calm? Are there more benefits to it?
Giulia Poerio, a professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. has experienced ASMR since young, but people around her who has not experienced it were skeptical of ASMR and its uses.
It is hard for people who has never experienced ASMR to wrap their heads around why would one listen to a person tapping on containers or whispering for 30 minutes. Hence, she did a research experiment on ASMR to understand more about it. Her studies showed that by watching ASMR videos, people generally had higher levels of calmness and lower levels of stress.
For those who are feeling too worried and stressed out; for those who have fears and are uncontrollable, give ASMR a try! ASMR sounds have worked into the hearts of many, impacting a positive effect on their mood and helped people walk out from severe depression. Try watching 1 or 2 ASMR every night or when you need it, it can help you to reduce your stress and overcome your anxiety disorder.
In fact, if you’re still curious, you can check out this article on why you need ASMR in your life. Also, there is also a great discussion between how Slime interacts with mental health in general.
Does slime help with stress?
Does slime help with anxiety?
It’s a really complicated question and you can read more here, where I write about how slime can help with your mental health!
You can check out my ASMR videos of different sounds, which is intended to calm you down!
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