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The term Anxiety describes feelings of Fear, Worry, Nervousness, or apprehension which is very often experienced by people when faced with something they perceive as Frightening.
What Is Anxiety?
When a person is faced with something like, speaking to a group of people in public, a job interview, losing their job, or meeting new people, then these events can be looked at as being stress inducing events.
Anxiety can be characterised by uncomfortable sometimes rather vague feelings of becoming unsettled in your self, and not really knowing remotely why. Apprehension, nervousness and feeling very unsettled in any number of different areas of life
It is always very helpful for a person to fully understand that anxiety is a very normal, and beneficial, reaction to a person who is experiencing stress. Anxiety is a healthy and adaptive way to cope with the various and many stresses and challenges in todays hectic and fast paced modern life. It’s very much something which is somewhat short-lived, although unpleasant it doesn't have a dramatic effect on a person’s life.
When anxious feelings, like constant worry, trepidation and fear begin to impede on daily life on a regular basis, that seems just far too unreasonable and excessive, or have no obvious association with any type of external issues or problems, then it can turn into something a little more serious like an anxiety disorder.
The definition of anxiety
Anxiety is that awful personal feeling of impending danger and fear, accompanied by agitation restlessness, a feeling of tension, rapid heartbeat, and fast breathing that might or might not be associated with a certain set of events or situations.
While most of the way correct, this particular definition does not really fully explain that anxiety is a normal human feeling, and in a lot of cases a life-saving reaction to possible or imminent danger.
You're walking down the street, alone at night, you hear something behind you which is somewhat unusual as you live in a very quiet area.You begin to feel a little frightened, your thinking races with thoughts about what that noise is, do you run, or stand and fight.
In this case, you’r nervousness and anxiety might just be the one thing that saves your life. The footsteps you can hear behind behind you may simply be a family member who is out for a late evening run and poses no threat to you whatsoever. This is your body’s natural fight or flight response to the sound of footsteps that could save your life if the runner did actually present you with any kind of danger.
Less extreme examples might simply be small life events such as an important meeting or a final exam, getting married or a small operation at the hospital. As your anxiety builds around the these issues it could cause you to work even harder or maybe take up yoga or look for advice or some form of therapeutic help.
When you find yourself in these and many other types of life situations, anxiety is an exceptionally good and normal thing.
If you have never felt anxious about achieving good results on your exams or having your work well received by your supervisor, you may not do at all well in school or work. Also if you take no real notice of footsteps behind you on a quiet, isolated street, you may not survive to see another day, or you may end being robbed of valuables.
Anxiety Symptoms: Recognising Signs of Anxiety
Most people know what it feels like inside yourself when you are experiencing a rush of nervous anxiety symptoms. You begin to feel that awful rush of dread and apprehension, your stomach twists and turns and you can begin to sweat before you have to give an important presentation to your work team or your boss.
Almost everyone has felt that very uncomfortable feeling, which of course a lot of us will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid.
However there are an entire myriad of situations that are very difficult to avoid in our lives, Funerals, exams, disciplinary hearings,
and all kinds of life's bad news that can emerge via a text or that awful unexpected telephone call.
Recognising your own Signs of Anxiety
Learning to strongly recognise your own signs of anxiety well before you even become nervous, and other symptoms of anxiety get out of control can be very helpful in helping you to reduce their feelings of strength, length and intensity. Anxiety symptoms can appear in one of two areas: emotional symptoms and or physical symptoms.
Physical symptoms of anxiety might include physical reactions to the stressful event that others could very well notice. Emotional anxiety symptoms may include reactions to stress or a frightening situation that other people usually cannot detect.
Emotional Symptoms of Anxiety
fear or terror
Feeling tense and jittery
Anticipating the very worst
Over-alertness for signs of danger
Feelings of apprehension
Some people, more so children, might not be able to at all describe the way they feel, and may at times simply respond with an "I don't know what I really feel”. Many people describe the emotional area of anxiety very distressing and difficult to deal with. The additional symptoms of anxiety, behaviours, thoughts and the physical responses cause some of the most disturbance in terms of their daily functioning.
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety:
Nausea or dizziness
Frequent need to urinate
Diarrhoea not caused by illness
An exaggerated startle response
A feeling of restlessness
Numbness, or tingling sensations
Sleep disturbance and fatigue.
A feeling of choking
Rapid heartbeat and breathing
Shortness of breath
A racing heart
Chest pain or discomfort
Muscle tension, trembling, feeling shaky
These symptoms are created by the Chemical/physiological changes that occur in the body during an episode of a fight or flight response. Our bodies do not recognise the difference between a real danger in the environment which is fear, or an imagined or a perceived danger in the future which is anxiety.
How To Relieve Stress and Anxiety Symptoms?
One of the ways to approach and treat anxiety is to look at and face your worries and fears that are associated with upcoming events and challenges, well in advance to reduce your anxiety symptoms. Maybe you have to attend hospital for an operation that might or might not change the way you live your life, or you have been asked to produce an in depth presentation on a subject that you have little or no experience around. Now you might not feel anxious about the event in the present moment, so this is the very best time to face the nervousness, fear, and trepidation that you are already anticipating and know will come as those dates head your way.
Try and start a journal that keeps a good and honest track of your worrisome thoughts. See if you can try to think about an event that you feel and know will evoke your personal anxious feelings and those negative thoughts. Write down the intrusive negative thoughts, worries, and fears that come up as you think of the event. If you can Include your fears about what could go wrong, your perceived worst outcomes, and physical symptoms that are present just before the issues that result in anxiety for you. Writing your very own personal feelings and concerns down is fairly hard to actually do, rather than simply thinking about them. If you can manage to write them down, these negative thoughts lose quite a lot of their power to control you.
For some, setting a point in your day as a time to worry can be beneficial for some people, and not for others, however if you give it a try you might just be very surprised. Find a space in your daily routine and pick two 10 minute worry periods for each day. Try and make it the same time each day. For example, you can set aside 10 minutes each morning at 6:00 a.m. and 10 minutes each afternoon at 2:00 p.m. – whatever might work best for you.Keep to the very same schedule everyday and monitor the time you have allocated to look at your worries. During this time, you can look more constructively on your fears and worries without trying to put them right, or making attempts to try and fix them.
The remainder of the day, should be devoted to being worry free.
If you feel anxious or worried in anyway during the day, or if you are finding that negative thoughts are becoming intrusive, its a good idea to record them, and try your best to not think about them until your next worry period.
Having to accept the unknowns of life can be challenging and difficult, however if practised often enough it can become second nature. Thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong in your life doesn't make life much more predictable. Learning to enjoy the smaller moments in life and the here and now, the great things going on in your life right now. Learning to accept the uncertainty that life brings will help you look past and overcome many of your anxiety symptoms.