What is Anxiety what Helps Stop it?
I get it – anxiety is a beast. It can lay dormant for a while. You can even start to feel better and then it happens…. It appears again… With anxiety there is no warning. It can stop you doing even the simplest things and people don’t understand how it’s affecting you. So a question I’m asked a lot is “how to stop anxiety”.
Well, each person’s perception is different. Anxiety is worrying or a feeling of unease, fear or worry. All of us can have some form or level of anxiety in our lives, although usually in a mild way or for a short period of time or because of a particular event or circumstance in our lives. These could be things like:
- Taking an exam
- Going for interviews
- Moving house
- Having an illness or ill health
- Difficulty in work, home, relationships
- Money worries
What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
Anxiety symptoms, the frequency and intensity can differ from person to person and often develop slowly. Some people have lots of similar symptoms and others only have a few. Of course, each person will have a differing view of the severity of the distress the worry and anxiety causes. It’s very much based on individual perceptions of the situation.
To be diagnosed by a GP or other health professional, the anxiety has usually been deemed to be present for at least six months and where there is excessive worrying and a person finds it difficult to control the feelings.
There can also be intense fear which can happy suddenly and just seem to take over the body. When this happens a person might notice a mixture of these symptoms and again these can differ from person to person. They are also often associated with panic attacks.
- Shortness of Breath
- Fast heartbeat
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Hot flushes or sweating
- Shaking or trembling
- Tingling or goosebumps
- Feeling sick, nauseous or stomach discomfort
- Feeling lightheaded, dizzy or faint
- Headaches or muscle tension
- Trouble concentrating
- Easily Tired
What Causes My Anxiety Cycle?
Sometimes people can trace things back to a specific time, place or situation when they began to feel frightened, worries or anxious. Those feelings can stay with someone to be repeated and re-played on a regular basis. These could be something like experiencing bullying as a child. Those feelings might stay with a person and then replay in similar situations where they are in company of others or in some other situation that reminds them of that old feeling.
There may be life circumstances, like a busy job, work pressure or hectic home life that leave someone feeling under pressure on a daily basis.
Your diet may impact the way you feel. The things we eat or drink can have an effect on us, so too much sugar, caffeine or alcohol are the first things to look at in your diet. However, generally a poor quality diet or poor range of food, lack of fresh healthy food could also be a contributory factor.
There may also be side-affects from any drugs or medication that you take.
At other times, people have no idea what causes the anxiety.
How to Stop Anxiety – What Helps?
Breathing exercises really help anxiety. I know, it’s a common theme in everything I write about. In fact it’s one of my Top 3 Tools to use every day. Taking a deep breath down into your stomach releases feel-good chemicals, which in turn help to calm down the brain and body functions. So this helps to switch off those anxious feelings.
Talking to Someone
Often those thoughts go round and round in our heads and if we can just manage to speak to someone about what’s going on in our head, or tell someone how we are feeling then the anxiety calms right down. It’s almost as if we bring it out into the daylight and then nothing seems quite as bad as it was when it was in our head. It helps, to hear those thoughts being spoke out loud and can put things into perspective a little.
Exercise is also great for boosting those feel-good chemicals as well as giving the brain and body something else to focus on, rather than those anxious thoughts and feelings. So as well as being healthy, it could also be a distraction. It also helps us to feel good about ourselves generally.
Listening to music is a great way to lift the spirits and increase the feel-good feelings. Listen to music when you are in the gym or even when you go for a walk could give you a double boost! Stick your earphones in when you need to leave the house but are struggling. I know people who have created particular play-lists which are calming or upbeat and even an angry playlist for when they really want to stomp through the feelings! You could create one too!
If exercise, music or talking to someone is not your thing then keeping a diary or journal can really help. It’s best if it’s handwritten, but can also be electronic too. A handwritten journal allows you to get into a state of mind where you can really connect with the thoughts and feelings and allow them to just flow out of you and onto the paper. It can be very therapeutic and healing. You might even find a pattern in there to be able to identify what triggers the anxiety. Otherwise you can refer back to it to see some of the more positive things that you might have missed because the anxiety took over.
Diet, as I’ve already mentioned is very important. I know if you’ve been struggling with anxiety all day, by the time you get home you are shattered and feel you can’t be bothered to cook. Use your good times to try and plan ahead for times when things are difficult. Cook double and freeze some; prepare your lunch the day before so that if you are struggling to get going in the morning you have less to do. Really try to avoid alcohol, and the junk, high sugar, quick fixes and they just don’t help in the long run.
Of course, anxiety is one of the things that I work with a lot, so remember that it’s not just you. Sometimes knowing that can help, other times it doesn’t. I know that people will say “don’t worry”. But you can’t just flick a switch and turn it off can you! Have a plan for the things that help you. It’s really OK that different things work for different people. Find out what helps you to stop your anxiety. There are always some free hypnotherapy audios, e-books or downloads that you can find on this site from me or elsewhere on the internet!!
I’d love to know what helps you to stop anxiety, so add something in the comments boxes below. If you’d like more, then sign up for my newsletter so blogs, tips and my “coming soon” anxiety package will come straight to your inbox.