Tag: alcohol

Anxiety: Facts, symptoms and ways to overcome it

Feeling anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, nervous, on edge, or afraid about things that may happen now or in the future. People usually experience feelings of worry or fear before confronting challenging situations such as sitting an exam or interview, and these feelings are perfectly normal. It can be experienced through your feelings, in your thoughts or physically. Research shows that anxiety is the root cause of fear.

The causes of anxiety can range from environmental factors, lifestyle to genetics and are commonly triggered by high levels of stress.  

If you have experienced a traumatic event from your past or childhood, this could be a key factor and the cause of your anxiety, these experiences may include: being bullied, abused, neglected or due to the death of a loved one. In addition, the relationships that you are in may be creating stress whether it be a personal, professional relationship, friendship, marriage or divorce. Problems arising in these relationships can be causing you mental distress leading to anxiety or even depression.

General Anxiety disorder (GAD) is becoming increasingly more common and can be very difficult to manage if you are not aware of your triggers. This disorder can become problematic if you find it difficult to control thing s that worry you. Hence, it very important to continuously be aware of the stressor, which could lead to anxiety if not managed

Your environmental situation at work or at home can make you feel stressed and pressurised, resulting in you wanting to avoid the situations that you are in. You may be working long hours or feeling lonely and isolated from the world which can create the feeling of unease and fear. You may find that the issues in your life are affecting your mental state such as financial and housing problems or not being able to find work.

The environment that you are in can have an impact on your stress levels and the pressure that you are feeling. This may be due to a situation at home or in your job such as when working long hours. As a result, you may feel lonely or isolated from your surroundings which can create a feeling of unease and fear. Issues in your life which can range from financial problems to unemployment can also affect your mental health which may be a cause of your anxiety or stress.

It may be out of your control as a family history of anxiety can also increase the chances of someone developing and suffering from anxiety disorders. However, it can also be a result of biochemical imbalances which affect the control and regulation of your mood.

Anxiety can also be a side effect of taking medication or from drug and alcohol consumption.

Facts

  • Variations of anxiety can include GAD, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Anxiety can be hereditary, where you are approximately five times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition.
  • GAD is a common condition which is estimated to affect up to 5% of the UK population where 3 million people are affected by an anxiety disorder.
  • Women tend to be more affected than men and it is more common in people who are aged 35 to 59.
  • 615 million people suffered from anxiety or depression in 2013.
  • Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders that people experience in the UK and is the most common form of mental illness in the United States.

The symptoms:

Being able to recognise the symptoms of anxiety enables you to find the best solution to overcome it. It can be identified by physical and psychological symptoms where it can vary for everyone. Some of the symptoms that characterise anxiety include:

List of physical symptoms:

  • tension /not being able to relax
  • irritable
  • headaches/migraines
  • hot flushes
  • nausea/lightheaded
  • constantly feeling on edge
  • increased heart rate
  • increase muscle tension
  • dizziness
  • difficulty in breathing
  • heart palpitations
  • insomnia
  • shortness of breath
  • shaking or trembling
  • sweating
  • lack of concentration

Psychological symptoms:

  • feeling detached to people and your environment
  • feeling on edge and alert
  • avoidance
  • difficulties in concentrating

Ways to overcome anxiety:

  • It is important to remember that there are always ways to overcome anxiety and should you feel that it is impacting a large part of your life, to seek help. Seeing your GP can be useful in finding the best form of treatment for you.
  • You can also help yourself by talking about your thoughts and feelings to someone you trust or trainee professional such as a counsellor which can help to relieve your worries and feelings of loneliness.
  • Relaxation/breathing exercises can also help in making you feel more in control, calmer and relaxed.
  • Self-help courses, group counselling, CBT are available to help you to cope with your anxiety.
  • Adding in exercise to your daily routine may help where a simple walk can alleviate the tension and stress built up from your environment. You may find that you will be able to sleep better helping to put you in a better mood.
  • Making changes in your daily habits such as reducing your caffeine or alcohol intake can also contribute to helping you to overcome these feelings.

Research shows that smoking increases anxiety and tension and those who smoke are more likely to develop anxiety disorders. Try to get some support to quit smoking and you may discover an improvement in your mood and concentration.

Being able to acknowledge that you have anxiety can help drive you to find ways in which you can overcome that feeling of unease and stop letting it affect the way you live. There are many people in this world who are feeling the same way and it is important to remember that you are not alone.

If you are finding it difficult to overcome anxiety alone, it may be effective to seek help from experts. Psychological therapy can be useful in helping you to figure out what the root of your anxiety is and ways in which you can treat it. Psychotherapists are professionals who are trained to listen to your problems and help you with your struggles. You can also get counselling or go for group therapy. Speaking to someone is a great way to understand your problems and to know that you are not alone.

Have you lost your self identity?

Did you know that there are so many people who lack self-identity, particularly in this day and age where so many individuals are so consumed with being liked by other people? People even use Facebook and Instagram to seek validation. These individuals are so busy comparing themselves to others through their friendship circles or social media. The truth is, you will never be fulfilled when you compare yourself to others. This pattern of behaviour only creates indecisiveness, self-doubt, trust issues and low esteem. When you are unaware of your real identity, when you consciously or subconsciously look for constant validation from others, you will feel unfilled and insecure.

This pattern of behaviour can become almost addictive if it’s not managed. You will never really be sure of who you are if you consistently want others to confirm that for you. I am conscious that it may seem odd to know who you are, but how can someone truly love or like or treat you the way you deserved to be addressed if you don’t know yourself? How can you live life to your full potential if you lack self-identity or awareness? Try not defining yourself by who people think you are. Individuals who lack self-identity often identify themselves by their past, status, career or self-image.

Here are some simple ways to reclaim your identity if you believe that you have lost it.

When did you lose your identity?

It’s compulsory to identify when you lost a sense of yourself. This process will enable you to know how to reclaim your identity. For instance, if you grow up in an environment where you were not allowed to feel your emotions or no one spoke about their feelings, then it’s hard to connect with your inner child. It means that you may have a wounded child that is still playing up within the adult. It means you may have learnt not to be in tune with your emotions and often find ways or things to distract yourself, as feeling your emotions may be too painful, confusing or even uncomfortable. When you have identified the cause, then you can begin to start the journey of understanding who you are. In addition to accepting who you are (the good, bad and ugly) after all, no one is perfect.

Journal writing

Keeping a journal account of your emotions and awareness of yourself will help you to understand your thoughts and learnt behaviour that may be preventing you from your personal best such as, low self-esteem or self-sabotaging behaviour. For instance, if you believe that you are not good enough based on childhood experiences or past experiences, then you could transfer this learnt behaviour into all areas of your life, including work and personal relationships. Consequently, having people-pleasing tendencies or continually looking for validation prevents you from your inner power and you end up giving it away to others. Understanding yourself will contribute to a higher esteem, and you will became less emotionally dependent on others to make you happy, like or love you.

Understanding your personal qualities

It’s important to take time to understand, appreciate and value who you are, since you certainly can’t expect someone to understand or value you if you don’t. Conduct a self-assessment by creating a list of your natural gifts and talents to gain a deeper awareness of yourself. Ensure that you carry this exercise completely on your own instead of asking others, as the whole concept of this exercise is for you to understand yourself as opposed to what others think of you.

Breaking the negative cycle

When you are indecisive, it causes self-doubts. Self-doubt creates distrust, and this could contribute to low self-esteem. The more you understand yourself, the happier you will be and have less self-conflicting thoughts. When it comes to developing yourself, you are the only person that is responsible for your development. Any word that begins with “self” means that you’re accountable for that area of work, so getting others to build your esteem or identity would always be non-effective. So no matter how challenging this could be, you have to recognise that the results will be highly rewarding and it will help your decision making and help you take more control of your life.

Learn to enjoy your own company

If you don’t like or appreciate your company, how do you expect other people to like or enjoy your company? Start off by writing a list of things that you enjoy doing. Creating a list of hobbies will help you to be more fulfilled and enjoy your company. Having time with family and friends is highly essential and useful for your emotional wellbeing. However, it’s equally important to create time alone and enjoy your hobbies. You will never really appreciate how much you enjoy an activity on your own unless you try.

Avoid distractions

Too much distraction can be a hindrance to yourself, since continuously distracting yourself blinds you from developing areas such as your awareness and esteem, as you may be consciously or subconsciously avoiding having a relationship with yourself or numbing your emotions by:

  • Using drugs and alcohol.
  • Being overly busy, engaging in non-productive activities.
  • Working long hours.
  • Being too sexually active with multiple partners.
  • Overeating.
  • Oversleeping.
  • Choosing partners that are emotionally damaged so you can fix them.
  • Continuously having one relationship after another, and not having time to pause.

Learn to be emotionally available to yourself so that you understand and identify your emotions by frequently understanding the reasons why you feel the way you are feeling, such as “why do I feel sad, why do I feel vulnerable?”

What causes anxiety

Anxiety is when you feel afraid or overly worried, tensed that something is going to happen in the future.

Most people who suffer from anxiety have been anxious during the earlier part of their childhood. This could stem from living in an environment where one or both of the parents do not talk about their feelings or express their emotions, particularly negative emotions, and often deal with them in a negative way. In addition, early years of anxiety could be a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, drug addiction or alcoholism, parents that suffer from mental health issues and school-related issues like exams or bullying.

When you’re overly anxious it can affect any area of your life such as:

  • Work – you begin to lack concentration and you’re often not present as your mind is busy racing and thinking about other things.
  • Intimate relationships – you may begin to find it hard to be emotionally connected with your spouse as you feel anxious about the status or the future of the relationship.
  • Friendships – it’s important to socialise and have hobbies, but unfortunately, when an individual is highly anxious it affects their ability to be sociable, as they are often worried about different things which could begin to make them feel paranoid. As a result, they suffer from social anxiety.

Everyone can feel anxiety from time to time, however, anxiety is a mental health problem: if it affects your ability to live as fully as you would like to.

Do you often feel like this? Do you feel anxious very often with the feelings being very severe and lasting for a prolonged time? Do you worry constantly or are afraid that you feel out of control regards to a situation?

  • You avoid situations which might cause you to be anxious and your worrying makes you feel very distressed.
  • You experience panic attacks.
  • You find it hard to enjoy the day to day things. Anxiety could affect the way in which you look after yourself, work, enjoy leisure time, and form and develop relationships.

Self-care for anxiety

Time to pause

Avoid extreme build-up of stress by taking time to pause, relax and recharge yourself. It’s important to avoid over-working by doing long hours without breaks.

Control your breathing

Severe anxiety is often linked to poor breathing habits. It’s important to implement slow breathing techniques by breathing in slowly and gently through your nose for about 5-7 seconds.

Exercise

Exercise is good for your general health, including your mood, mental health and wellbeing. Engage in a regular weekly exercise which will help release the ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins. It will also help you relax and sleep well and it is a very healthy distraction.

Eat a well-balanced diet

Having a balanced diet will provide the right nutrients that your body needs, which will contribute to positive emotional wellbeing. 

Limit alcohol and caffeine

Both alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety. 

Get enough sleep

Improved sleeping patterns enable you to recharge yourself. Common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can often underpin sleep problems. Sleep helps you to feel better and boost your moods.

Acceptance

It’s essential to accept that you can’t control everything and it’s important to avoid being overly controlling. It’s important to have a vision or dreams and aspirations, but you can’t spend too much focus or time worrying about the future.

Know your triggers

Having an understanding of what triggers your anxiety will help you look for the patterns and keep your anxiety levels under control.

Talk about your issues 

Talking about issues that make you anxious will help you to think less and reduce over thinking which contributes to worrying and anxiety.