The Five Most Common Symptoms of Anxiety and How to Treat Them
There is a famous quote from the ancient philosopher, Socrates, which goes,
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Meaning not to be too hard on people because they may be suffering from something you don't know about. Well, I am here to tell ya that with me you'll never have to wonder! I'll be complaining about it and coping with humor to hopefully avoid a mental breakdown. Or as I like to affectionately call it, a cute little "Menty B."
As Chad prepares for his vacation, I have been tossed into the deep end with a crash course in running the control board for the morning show. My brain feels like there are a couple of squirrels fighting in there as I try to remember all of the bells and whistles. I'm a nervous wreck. What am I going to do without my Chad?
I have always struggled with being a worry wart, but I try super hard not to let it keep me from doing fun things. The anxiety, however, manifests itself in some...not so fun ways. Turns out, I am most definitely not alone. According to The National Institute of Mental Health:
"An estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives."
And we lucky folks may or may not suffer from the following physical manifestations of our mental distress. Most of the time there are ways to deal with these annoying symptoms, but sometimes they can be hard to manage when they interrupt our daily activities.
1. Increased Heart Rate/Heavy Breathing
Feeling your heart pound in your chest can be exhilarating depending on the scenario, but if you're trying to get through a moment of high stress, try to separate yourself to a calm space. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth with long deep breaths. I know it seems cheesy, but it honestly does help to calm the nerves as you visualize filling your lungs down to your belly. Taking small sips of cold water can also help slow down your breathing.
2. Trouble Sleeping
I know you're supposed to limit screen time before bed to help with this problem, but that isn't realistic for most people. For folks with anxiety, that may mean you crawl into bed, start scrolling on TikTok, and then all of a sudden it's after midnight. Or if you do put the phone down, you toss and turn unable to switch your brain off. Finding what works for you may mean a relaxing bath, making sure you're physically active during the day, or did you know your iPhone has a built-in white noise machine? Keep reading for more tips on how to get a good night's sleep.
3. Gastrointestinal Issues
OK listen, this ain't cute but it's real! All you can do is make sure you're eating a balanced diet, say your prayers, and carry some Tums! Seriously though, try to avoid foods that make you feel bloated or uncomfortable and up your water intake. Staying hydrated can help with a lot of problems.
Just like with an elevated breathing/heart rate, meditation, and focused breathing can work wonders. Dress in layers so you can remove a sweater if you start to feel warm. Drink something cold or stand in front of a fan. An ice cube on your wrist can also work in a pinch. As far as the trembling, I think about the fact that my eyes twitch when I am stressed out. I know this can sometimes mean a vitamin deficiency, so it's never a bad idea to get checked out by a medical professional just in case. Especially if you have any weakness or signs of out-of-whack blood sugar levels. It could also mean you just need to take it easy on the caffeine which is easier said than done!
5. Tension Headaches/ Tight Muscles
Have you ever been working intently on something and then all of a sudden noticed your jaw is clenched and bones are stiff? Or that you've developed a headache? Retreating to a dark, quiet room is ideal, but hot/cold compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers can do the trick if that isn't an option. Also making sure you're properly hydrated and getting good sleep can help prevent these awful headaches.
In the fast-paced world, we live in, it's easy to get overwhelmed or stressed out. If you feel like these sometimes painful side effects are difficult to manage, contact your doctor for advice. There are ways to find a treatment plan that can work for you. Whether through medication, holistic practices, and/or talk therapy. You don't have to try to deal with it alone.