A lot of us experience this emotion called anxiety or more commonly people refer to it as stress. Stress and anxiety are not the same, especially when we are referring to anxiety disorders. Hence, it is important to understand how to identify the symptoms of anxiety which can be emotional, physical, and psychological.
Well First things first, let’s understand physiological symptoms or symptoms that are experienced in one’s body. A few of the very common things that we will experience when they feel anxious is:
- breathlessness or difficulty breathing,
- exhaustion or fatigue,
- shaking arms or legs,
- heaviness in the chest,
- tightness in your muscles, and many more uncomfortable symptoms.
Some people actually experience extreme anxiety as dire physiological symptoms like having an upset stomach, getting a fever, or even vomiting. But these are the physiological symptoms of anxiety.
What are the psychological and emotional symptoms of anxiety, and how do you know how do you identify them?
When you’re feeling anxious some of the most common symptoms of anxiety are racing thoughts, having trouble focusing, having repetitive fears about things going wrong, feeling worried about expressing what you’re feeling or worries about being judged, feeling like you cannot finish/ meet deadlines, worries about criticism and emotionally one might experience nervousness, feeling overwhelmed, feeling like situations are not in your control, trapped and you won’t be able to get through this. Sometimes when anxiety is severe people also tend to feel like they’re going to have a breakdown or a panic attack and some people actually experience panic attacks and anxiety attacks which are very severe and can result in serious harm to the person experiencing it.
So, the main question is what do we do to manage the symptoms of anxiety?
Let me share a few techniques for managing anxiety with you:
- 1st is deep breathing and intentional breathing. This exercise is basically to bring your focus onto your breathing and can also be classified under meditation or mindfulness. Just focusing on your breath, how it enters your body and causes a rise and fall in your chest, and paying attention solely to your breathing patterns.
- The second most common and effective technique is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is basically the practice of grounding yourself in the present. Mindfulness is very helpful and simplistic as it can be practiced anytime, anywhere, and involves small acts of grounding. It basically involves using our five main senses which are touch, smell, sight, taste, and sound. So when we are feeling anxious, activating any of our senses and focusing on that sensation deeply can be very helpful. For example, listening to your favorite song and just feeling how the music soothes you, smelling your favorite fragrance and inhaling it while thinking about how it makes you feel what is that you love about it and let it fully sink in, bringing you to the present moment; touching different textures or temperatures or having a block of ice in your hand when you’re experiencing anxiety. This distracts you from the anxious thoughts and helps you to calm down.
- Another simple technique is to engage in physical activity. It can be difficult to think about the physical activity when you’re anxious but actually moving your body releases endorphins and gives you strength and courage to overpower the current situation. It can be anything as simple as taking a brisk walk or doing yoga, or doing a small 5 to 10 minutes workout routine, but just getting your body moving.
- Last but not least, is Self-Care. Practicing self-care if a lifestyle habit that can help you fight any negative emotions and any form of emotional distress. Self-care means engaging in activities that involve nurturing yourself your body, emotions, and mind. Self-care can be anything from practicing a hobby like dancing, cooking, or any other activity you enjoy, to taking a warm shower, tending to your skin and body, journaling, talking to a friend, or even just reading a good book. It is just the practice of taking some time in the day for yourself, to nourish yourself. Whether it’s spending time in nature for a few minutes of the day or spending time with your family, if that is what relaxes you, or it is just being by yourself and thinking your thoughts and emotions through. Engaging in self-care a few times each day is a habit that can actually help you eliminate all forms of anxiety from your life.
The basic key is always to be aware of your thoughts and emotions, to develop insight into what you are experiencing and, how you experience it in your body and mind. By being aware of emotions that we experience, we can control and tackle them before they get too overwhelming. Hence, it is essential to make it a practice to develop an understanding of your emotions and to track it on a daily basis. The most important thing to remember is to practice anxiety management techniques every day and in situations that are not stressful also. The reason behind that is, when we are experiencing overwhelming emotions it is difficult to stop and think but when we are in a less stressful situation and we start creating healthy habits, it becomes our instinct to use those coping mechanisms even in stressful times. If we practice these things daily, we will realize our true potential and how we can live our best lives by battling everyday anxiety and stress.
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