Anxiety can be understood as, ‘feeling of uneasiness and discomfort pertaining to uncertain outcome’. It is our body’s natural response for future concerns. It is a feeling of worry or apprehension oriented to future like- ‘what will happen’. First day at college, going for an interview, delivering a speech may cause people to experience fear and nervousness.
We all feel anxious as a reaction to certain events or situations in our lives. It is absolutely normal to experience this every now and then. In fact, three out of every five individuals go through major anxiety but only one person out of these three seek professional help.
This feeling of anxiety is a signal from our internal warning system to our mind and body for being prepared to face unpredictable/unplanned or dangerous situation.
Similar to Eustress (positive stress), optimal levels of anxiety is essential or helpful as it encourages us to work harder and be mentally prepared for hurdles in life. However, anxiety turns to be problematic when it starts impacting our work, relationships and even health.
Usually anxiety is resultant of internal factors such as brain-chemistry and irrational thoughts or fears. Though there is no particular external cause of anxiety, it is very subjective i.e. vary from person to person. However chronic stressors and uncertainty regarding future may result in anxiousness. Following are few general factors that may cause anxiety:
· Academic or work related stress,
· Relationship issues,
· Serious medical illness,
· Social interaction or public speaking,
· Loss of a loved one,
· Side effect of drugs/medication,
· Financial difficulties, etc.
Following are few ‘Warning Signs’ that reflect if a person is experiencing chronic (high-level or prolonged) anxiety. It is essential to recognize these signs in order to manage this feeling before it gets out of control and may take shape of Anxiety Disorders (link).
· Worrying excessively and having difficulty controlling it
· Avoiding things (even people and situations) that trigger anxiety
· Feeling a sense of impending danger
· Struggling to sit still or comfortably and often feel restless
· Needing reassurance, more than usual
· Difficulty concentrating or being attentive
· Withdrawing from others and cancelling plans
· Getting easily irritated or quick tempered
· Increase in heart rate and difficulty in breathing due to worry.
If you feel like you are at a point where, your anxiety is just not going away and is significantly interfering with your routine activities, we highly encourage you to seek help.
Different people handle anxiety in different manner. While some methods are healthy others may not be healthy. A particular method can provide a long term relief while another may be effective only for a short period of time.
Avoidance oriented- It refers to ‘leaving it’ or to the act of ignoring the existence of the problem. Here we try to reduce the anxiety by distancing ourselves from the trigger itself. Being hopeful that things will be fine eventually.
Task oriented- It refers to focus on working and indulging in regular tasks or having interventions that will help you being functional superficially.
Emotion oriented- It refers to focus on feeling or lifting mood these strategies or activities that are employed to divert attention away from anxiety triggers and toward other thoughts or behaviours that are not related to the anxiety. Such as binge watching a series/movie or hanging out with friends or doing anything that makes you feel good