14 Signs You May Have Anxiety And How To Treat It
Anxiety is a normal human response to an overwhelming amount of stress that can be brought about by various things, including life transitions, financial problems, and even natural catastrophes.
It’s completely normal for a person to feel anxious from time to time, such as when there’s a big event or an important occasion. However, it’s not normal if a person feels anxious at random times of the day, or if the feeling continues to happen for a long stretch of time, such as days, weeks, months, or even years. If this anxiety is affecting your daily activities, you may be experiencing anxiety disorder. Consider undergoing anxiety counseling to help you get through it.
If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing anxiety attacks, listed below are the signs that you may have anxiety:
- Nervousness, being tense and on the edge
Being nervous is a natural feeling you experience when you’re anticipating a stressful or huge event. You might be nervous about a big speech, taking an exam, or having an interview, to name a few. While being nervous doesn’t exactly mean that you’re experiencing anxiety, it could be a sign that you’re having one.
- Rapid heart rate
A rapid heart rate means that your heart is beating too fast. This can be accompanied by nervousness and constant worrying, as well as palpitations. It can feel similar to drinking too much coffee even if you didn’t have one. While there are other reasons your heart may be beating too fast, you might be experiencing an anxiety attack if it’s caused by a stressful event.
- Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
When you’re unable to handle a stressful situation, you might also experience rapid breathing or hyperventilation, which is characterized by breathing faster than usual. People don’t often think of how they breathe—they just do. So when you experience this change in your breathing pattern, it may be a sign that you’ve having an anxiety attack.
This may also lead to dry mouth, which may be accompanied by other symptoms such as rapid heart rate and shaking.
- Feelings of danger, panic, or fear
When you have inexplicable feelings of panic, fear, or danger, there’s a great chance that you’re having an anxiety attack. Even without a threat, your mind believes that it has sensed danger, therefore preparing your body to react. People with anxiety may experience these sensations for a longer period than most people without the condition.
- Uncontrollable overthinking
This happens when you aren’t able to control thinking about something too much despite not having any reason to worry. This could involve something simple, such as picking the right color for a birthday gift, but you’re unable to decide which one to get and can’t move on from the issue. You might also be worrying about something even if you have no cause to do so. People with anxiety often overthink, so much so that it could affect their daily lives and productivity.
- Trembling or muscle twitching
If your body is constantly twitching unconsciously, there’s a high chance that you’re experiencing anxiety. Muscle twitching happens when certain types of neurotransmitters are released in your body and “tell” you to move. Neurotransmitters are released when you have anxiety, causing your muscle to twitch or tremble involuntarily.
While having an anxiety attack is often associated with hyperactivity, fatigue or lethargy can also be symptoms of anxiety. It can happen right after an attack, or it can be chronic. Fatigue can also be a result of other symptoms of anxiety disorder such as having trouble sleeping or restlessness.
- Difficulty concentrating
Your ability to concentrate is essential for your productivity every day. Regardless of how simple your tasks are, if you’re not able to concentrate, you’d still have to spend a lot of time and effort in accomplishing that one task.
If you notice that your productivity levels are significantly decreasing as you have a hard time concentrating, be wary because this is a common sign of anxiety. This happens because anxiety can interrupt your working memory, a type of memory that works by holding short-term information. When this happens, your mental performance will drastically decrease.
People have their ups and downs—they might be in a good mood today, and then turn sour the next day. However, when you’re always irritable even if there’s no valid reason, that’s another story.
Irritability is another sign of anxiety. When you have anxiety, you’ll have feeling of excessive danger, fear, and panic—and all of these emotions can be too overwhelming that a person won’t have any idea on how to manage them properly. People with such strong emotions will likely feel less tolerant of the people around them, making them irritable.
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
Sleep is essential to overall health. When you’re not getting enough amount of sleep every night, your immune system becomes weak, making your body prone to illnesses and diseases. Sleep deprivation can also affect your libido and mental wellness.
Having trouble falling or staying asleep is often associated with anxiety. Excessive worry and fear will make it very challenging for you to sleep at night, regardless of how physically exhausted you are. Sleep deprivation can eventually worsen anxiety, which is why these two health problems are connected with each other.
- Panic attacks
Panic attacks are one of the most common signs of anxiety, which is characterized by repeated and sudden attacks of intense fear that can last for at least several minutes. Panic attacks are also described as having the fear of losing control or experiencing a disaster even when there’s no real danger around.
Aside from these extreme emotions, panic attacks are often accompanied by chest tightness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and even a fear of dying.
- Avoiding social situations
Socializing actually provides many health benefits. When you socialize with other people, you’ll be able to improve your mental health, build self-esteem, reduce blood pressure, and increase the quality of your life. Socializing often can also become your ticket to find and create lasting friendships—a type of relationship that can provide many other benefits as well.
If you usually love to hang out with friends and family, and then now see yourself avoiding social situations, you should be concerned as this can be a telltale sign that you’re suffering from anxiety. If you’ve been making excuses not to go out because of the reasons listed below, anxiety might be the culprit:
- You’re anxious about upcoming social situations.
- You’re worried about being scrutinized or judged by your own social circle.
- You fear being humiliated in front of others.
People with anxiety eventually become quiet and shy because this mental health condition can significantly affect their self-esteem and body image. When you have anxiety, you’ll be too conscious about your appearance and how you register in other people’s eyes to the point where you’d choose to stay indoors always rather than risk being judged.
- Irrational fears
Human beings have a lot of emotions, and of these is fear. Every human being in the world fears some things, but for people who have anxiety, this fear can become too intense that they can no longer function properly when faced with their “fears.” This kind of emotion is then classified as a phobia.
Phobias are known as extreme fear or anxiety about a specific situation or object. Aside from impairing your ability to function properly, phobias can also cause chills, hot flushes, a coking sensation, and tightness in the chest. Some people would even experience confusion, disorientation and feeling faint when they’re faced with their phobias.
Some of the most common phobias are having the extreme fear of animals, blood, and natural phenomenon like floods and hurricanes.
- Muscle tension
Regularly experiencing body pain even when you’re well-rested can be alarming. Sleeping for long hours every night and waking up with a sore back and arm can prevent you from doing the most during the day. This is especially true if your daily routine involves the affected body part.
If you’ve been suffering from muscle tension even when you’re well-rested, anxiety might be the reason. Muscle tension—such as feeling pain and discomfort in different parts of your body, balling your fists, or clenching your jaws—are typical signs of anxiety. Muscle tension caused by anxiety can usually last for months and is very hard to get rid of.
Muscle tension is associated with anxiety because this mental health problem can build tension within the body. This tension can prompt the body to cause the muscles to brace themselves for dangers that aren’t even happening. The more intense your anxiety disorder is, the more tense your muscles can get.
Don’t worry if you ever suspect that you’re experiencing anxiety as there are ways you can manage this condition. Listed below are treatment options you can try:
Meditation has been widely known to help people stay calm and temporarily keep their worries at bay. It’s an ancient wellness practice that involves focusing your mind on an object in order to achieve a sense of calmness and a state of balance, which can help manage your anxiety.
To meditate, go to a room with no distractions. Sit still on the floor for a few minutes, and focus on your breathing for a few minutes until you feel completely relaxed.
Yoga is also another activity that’s known to help people achieve a calm state. It combines different breathing techniques, postures, and meditation or relaxation, which can help ease anxiety as well as promote flexibility.
Among the postures you can do are the hero, tree, triangle, standing forward bend, fish, extended puppy, head-to-knee forward bend, seated forward bend, and legs-up-the wall pose, which are commonly known to help ease anxiety.
- Have a warm, relaxing bath
Having a long, warm bath at the end of the day tends to be calming for many people. To enhance your feelings of relaxation, try bathing with bath salts or bubbles, or add some essential oils like lavender to help keep you calm.
- Manage your stress
As stress usually causes anxiety, it’s only wise to try and manage the way you handle and encounter stress. Limit your exposure to stress and try to surround yourself with positive people, places, and things.
When managing your stress, try to organize your day. Take note of any upcoming deadlines so you can prepare for it ahead of time and not stress about it when the due date is near. Also, create a to-do list that will remind you of important tasks so you can have a view of what your day is going to be like. Avoid cramping your schedule with too many tasks that you might not be able to finish in a single day. If needed, spread out your tasks into several days and give yourself a reasonable deadline.
- Support from family and friends
Receiving support from family and friends may be one of the most vital ways that can help manage your anxiety. Encouragement and emotional support from those closest to you can ease your worries and fears, even for just a short while. With continuous support, you may be able to overcome your anxiety and handle stressful situations in a more calm and controlled manner.
- Avoid caffeine
When you consume caffeine, there’s a high chance that you’ll be developing palpitations, nervousness, a fast heart rate, stomach problems, and trouble falling asleep. When these develop into your system, you’re most likely to initiate having anxiety when you’re prone to it.
- Get therapy
Seeking professional help may aid in treating your anxiety as they can teach you how to handle your condition better.
Two kinds of therapy that could help you with your anxiety are cognitive therapy and behavior therapy. Cognitive therapy works by examining your negative thoughts or cognition, which contribute to your anxiety. On the other hand, behavior therapy works by examining your behavior when faced with anxiety triggers.
Having an anxiety attack is not a great thing to have as you’ll keep worrying and overthinking about everything even when you don’t have any reason to. If you experience the symptoms cited above and these are already affecting your daily activities, it’s recommended to seek professional help in order to manage your condition before it branches out into other mental health disorders. Practice managing your stress and avoid any stressors that might trigger an anxiety attack.