Before you go searching for signs of anxiety going a little too far – before you look for natural remedies for anxiety, and other ways of reducing anxiety or treating anxiety…
Before you start looking at causes of anxiety or looking up symptoms of anxiety attack, you need to know something…
It’s normal to be anxious.
Almost anyone who has spent some time on this earth has experienced anxiety.
It’s a state with many guises – and not all of us will experience the same thing in an anxious state.
But if you suspect that your own responses to normal situations may be adversely affected by anxiety – read on.
The first step to making a change in your life is identifying the signs, which range from fairly moderate to debilitating.
If the signs of anxiety are affecting your ability to get the most out of your life, whether it be your relationships, your work, or your leisure activities, it’s time to identify the signs and address them.
Below are the ‘classic’ signs of anxiety.
These are the accepted signs, which might result in an anxiety diagnosis from a doctor or psychologist.
But there are many more signs, which arise before these symptoms occur.
These are more about your overall mental state, your ‘normal’ state of being when you aren’t experiencing an anxious episode – for example, when you’re doing something that isn’t particularly stressful.
People who are prone to anxiety, and even panic attacks, usually spend more time worrying about things in their daily lives more than they should.
We all worry.
It’s a part of life for most people.
It’s when this worry becomes oppressive and starts to take over even the least stressful days, or occupies a lot of our mental space, that makes the perfect mental setting for anxiety to take over and start to control us.
If you are a ‘worrier’, there might be an underlying self-esteem issue.
Is your worrying centered around criticizing yourself?
Do you feel as though your problems are ‘your fault?’
Are you critical with yourself for not being able to ‘cope’ as well as others seem to?
This, is in fact often the root cause of anxiety.
A deeper, underlying self esteem issue.
Identifying the underlying cause is the first step to changing your life, and controlling your signs of anxiety for good.
Addressing an underlying self esteem issue is something that takes time.
It isn’t as simple as popping a pill – and every journey will be unique as you are.
But it can also be an amazing, life-affirming journey into really discovering and learning to understand and nurture yourself on a really deep level.
It’s an opportunity to find out who you are and what you really need to nourish the person you are.
Signs of anxiety are your inner self’s way of highlighting the areas you need to learn and grow in your life.
Classic signs of anxiety getting out of control…
Lethargy. The caricatured ‘anxious person’ we are used to seeing in the media is usually abuzz with pent up nervous energy. The other side of that image is a person battling a blanket of lethargy and malaise, which spreads over their life. Worrying is exhausting, and negative thinking saps energy from the body and the mind in equal proportions. The deeper causes of anxiety can result in the kind of fatigue, which makes sufferers want to sleep forever. This is often the way sufferers will feel, post-anxiety attack: crushed by an inescapable feeling of endless fatigue. This is one of the hardest symptoms to address, yet the most common and least discussed.
It is unsurprising that anxiety sufferers feel fatigued. Anxiety itself is usually a symptom of a nervous system, which is overloaded with worry. When the conscious mind can no longer cope with juggling all these separate concerns, it engages an automatic response – the adrenaline inspired ‘fight or flight’. It is only by totally unpacking all these concerns and worries overburdening the sufferer that healing can begin – and fatigue naturally lifts as part of this process.
Feeling overly anxious! It sounds obvious, but an ‘anxious’ feeling, which is an elevated or alarmed state of being, which one would expect to occur in exceptional or unusual situations – eg. Common trigger situations may be public speaking, in a confrontation, in a job interview. But feelings of anxiety may arise in many every day situations, such as taking public transport, or even grocery shopping.
Elevated vital signs. Stop for a moment, and take an opportunity to listen to what your body is telling you. Can you feel your heart beating faster than usual, or your pulse racing? Now notice your breathing. Are you breathing normally, with deep, slow breaths, or are you taking fast, shallow breaths? Are you comfortable, or do you feel out of breath and panicked? Anxiety has very real physical symptoms for sufferers.
Sweating, changes in body temperature. During an anxious phase, it is common for the sufferer to feel hot or flushed, to break out in a sweat, or even to feel cold. This is a result of your body’s natural response to stress. Have you ever walked away from an everyday situation, only to realize you’re sweating abnormally? This may be an indication that this situation triggers your anxiety response.
Mind racing, difficulty thinking clearly. Have you ever gone to perform an everyday task, such as walking through a crowded street, and realized you’re having trouble thinking clearly? Or perhaps thoughts are emerging and departing more quickly than you can keep up with them?
Difficulty coping emotionally. Do you find that small setbacks can cause an disproportionate or inappropriate emotional response? For example – something small such as missing a bus, or a passing comment from a friend might be a trigger. This is an indicator that your nervous system is overloaded with stimuli and the additional effort to deal with the unexpected is stretching your capacity to cope. It is a common symptom of high anxiety levels.
Changes in appetite. High anxiety levels can prompt a change in eating habits – overeating, or not eating enough. Feeling compelled to eat outside of normal meal times, or not being hungry at all may be a sign that you’re suffering from anxiety symptoms.
Changes in sleep patterns. Difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep may be the result of elevated anxiety levels. Similarly, sleeping longer than usual, or falling asleep at unusual times may be the result of stress and anxiety.
The good news?
Anxiety is absolutely a challenge that you can conquer!
Sometimes, it’s only when taking to an understanding person that it becomes clear how much signs of anxiety have come to shape our lives.
Avoiding triggers for anxiety might mean avoiding social situations, public transport, shopping, crowded places.. which can result in a reduced quality of life for the sufferer, and ultimately a life without the full spectrum of human experience.
If signs of anxiety are preventing you from being fully present in your life, it’s time to seek a change.
Admittedly, this can be a daunting process in itself, but it really doesn’t need to be.
Take control with an Action Plan, or if you aren’t sure where to start, talking to a professional such as a Life Coach may give you the boost you need to face the journey ahead.
Your life is happening now – there’s no time to waste.
Start living the life you want to live, by deciding, here and now, that you will stop being a victim of anxiety, and start being your own warrior.
Face the challenges anxiety has created for you, and reap the benefits.
“But I’ve already tried treatment. I don’t want to take drugs for the rest of my life!”
Music to my ears.
Medications are only one method for treating signs of anxiety, and often not the most effective.
Behavioural therapy, and the practice of mindfulness techniques, such as visualization and mediation have been shown to be just as effective, if not more effective in the longer term, as using medication.
Also, the many positive effects of practicing mindfulness can have excellent positive ‘side effects’ which go beyond alleviating anxiety and flow into other aspects of life.
Now is the time to begin thinking about how you can convert your situation into an opportunity: to grow, improve and change into the person you really want to be.