Anxiety is something that plagues all of us on occasion. Sometimes it’s based in reality, and other times it’s free-floating in nature. Most people who suffer from anxiety have a sense of what triggers attacks. This is a good thing, as it allows you to avoid triggering situations and can help you identify and intervene before anxiety takes over in a disruptive fashion. Watching what you eat and drink can also help you manage stress.
What Is Anxiety?
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, anxiety falls into the family of depressive mental health conditions that share a number of similar characteristics. Anxiety manifests differently in different people, but common symptoms include rapid heartbeat, a sense of “fight, flight or freeze,” or feeling overwhelmed to such a degree that it’s difficult to maintain control of your emotions.
Anxiety can be situational, in that a particular event or activity triggers it, such as being in a crowded room or speaking in public. Free-floating anxiety is a bit more difficult to diagnose, but charting symptoms can help you pinpoint its origins.
What Are Your Triggers?
The first step in combating anxiety is recognizing the triggers that put you in an anxious mood. Eating well, in general, can alleviate a host of health problems, and poor food choices can make you feel stressed. For example, excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption are two top offenders. Fatty processed foods might make you feel temporarily good but can then have a depressive effect.
Fortunately, according to Medical News Today, some foods help reduce anxiety. Next time you feel a panic attack coming on, have a handful of Brazil nuts, a cup of chamomile tea, some magnesium, or even better, indulge in some dark chocolate.
There’s also a connection between anxiety and poor air quality. A study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that polluted air “is associated with an increased risk of symptoms of anxiety, including fearfulness, desire for avoidance, and tendency to worry.” One source of excessive particulates in the air you breathe in your living space can be a chimney in need of sweeping. Do yourself and your family a favor and search online for “chimney inspection near me” and use Angi.com to find and hire a qualified chimney cleaner. It’s recommended that you have your chimney swept at least once a year.
Many people suffer from social anxiety, which it’s mentally and emotionally trying to be in certain situations, especially when you don’t know people, or you struggle with crowded places. This type of anxiety can often be treated through behavioral therapy that helps identify what’s behind the fear or opposition to various environments.
Some of the more common ways to treat anxiety include talk therapy, medication, and behavioral adjustments to the way that we think or perceive situations. Anxiety can sometimes be treated by learning coping techniques to help change our outlook and our reaction to what can be anxiety-producing circumstances.
Workplace stress and anxiety are among the more common forms of anxiety and can have numerous layers. You may be anxious about the type of work you’re doing, the people you’re working with, your job security, or any other host of professional concerns.
If your job is causing stress, you should consider going back to school and looking for a career change that feels like a better fit. For example, getting a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, business, or education can put you in a position of helping others manage their health and wellness. Enrolling in an online program lets you work from the location of your choice on your own timeline. This means you can continue to work, as well as balance school and home life.
Preventing Anxiety Before It Attacks
Once you’re aware of what causes your anxiety, you can take proactive steps to head it off, or at least mitigate some of its impacts once an attack is in progress. For example, if you notice you’re feeling flushed or have clammy hands, you may be in a position to take a brief respite, utilize relaxation techniques, or if necessary, take anti-anxiety medication.
Some types of medication are used to diminish an attack as it’s unfolding, while others serve as a long-term solution, where medication is taken on a regular basis to help regulate your emotions overall. Your primary care physician can conduct an analysis and make recommendations as appropriate.
Many things cause anxiety, from too much screen time, news, and social media overload, to toxic relationships, stressful workplaces, and even just daily life as a human being. However, you don’t have to live with anxiety. Constructive self-care techniques can give you greater control, and in turn, result in a better overall quality of life.
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Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.