It’s easy to get stressed these days. There are school deadlines, work presentations, credit card bills, conflict with your significant other, and traffic… the list goes on. The fast-paced world we’re currently living in has since managed to make most things in life nerve-wracking thanks to higher standards and greater expectations.
People’s needs are endless and their wants even more so. However, being constantly nervous and worried about things can result in anxiety, which then has the potential to transform into a more serious disorder that can severely impair your life and how you live it. Here are 5 things you should know about anxiety:
1. Your body is aware that you’re anxious even when the brain remains oblivious
There are also cases when people don’t even know that they suffer from anxiety. Nonetheless, even if your mind doesn’t acknowledge it yet, your body already knows. This is why there are physical manifestations as a result, including muscle tension and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If you feel muscle pains and you often ball your fists or clench or unclench your jaw, these could be indications that you have anxiety. Other symptoms are stomach pains, constipation or diarrhea.
2. Anxiety can be anger in disguise
Anxiety is more tolerable than anger when it comes to social norms. For most people, anger can be terrifying while anxiety is a condition that warrants sympathy. Hence, people sometimes replace anxiety with anger. In this case, the anxiety serves as a defense against acknowledging the fact that you’re feeling profound resentment.
You could be afraid that conveying your anger through words and actions toward a family member or a partner could lead to a serious conflict and possible desertion, so you keep it inside. As they pile up inside you, your body reacts. You become agitated, you’re always nervous, and you never stay still.
If you’re only anxious when you’re around other people with the anxiety disappearing as soon as you get home, this could mean that you have social anxiety. For instance, if there’s an upcoming event that excruciatingly wreaks havoc in your mind because you keep on imagining possible failures on your part, it could be a case of social anxiety. Another example is if you’re trying to socialize on a Friday night but you end up dwelling on things you might have said or done wrong.
There are physical manifestations, too, including stomach pains, muscle aches, a faster heart rate, and the feeling that everyone is looking at you and measuring you up. If you suspect that you have social anxiety, you can help yourself by practicing meditation before you head out.
Spend a couple of minutes breathing serenely and find your center. Visualize everything going well. Whenever your mind shifts to imagining the most awful scenarios, try your best to return to the positive side.
4. You could have Generalized Anxiety Disorder if your anxiety never recedes
People are inclined to feel anxious every now and then. After all, this is how we normally react to everyday stressors around us. But it’s a different story if you feel anxious all the time, especially if there are other symptoms in the equation, including agitation, mental fog, and sleeping problems for six months or more.
If this is so, you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. If you feel that your anxiety is already impacting your daily life in serious ways and it constantly makes you feel miserable, you should consider getting professional help.
5. Anxiety can become obsessive-compulsive disorder
Do you find yourself always wallowing in negativity because you worry about every little thing in your life? Do you always dwell on questions without definite answers? Do life’s uncertainties plague you with worries? Do these concerns making you feel paralyzed with unexplainable fear? If these are some of the things you experience, anxiety alone doesn’t cover it; you may also be obsessive.
Obsessiveness turns into obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) when you resort to a routine to soothe your mind. If you need to check if all electronic devices have been unplugged exactly four times before you leave the house and this multiple-checking habit makes you late for work, you may suffer from OCD. Another symptom is having horrible thoughts.
You know they’re awful and you want to stop from imagining them but you can’t help it. You always picture yourself in horrifying situations, so you always apply extra measures for precautions in everything you do. You think you’re just being cautious but this can be something else.
Feeling nervous is normal. It’s how we respond to stressors and even challenges that turn out to be great for us in the end. But when you feel you’re always anxious about things in your life to the point where constant anxiety cripples you from living productively, it’s time to be proactive about it.
If you can’t deal with your negative thoughts and emotions because they’re too strong and powerful, it’s time to seek help. You can’t allow anxiety to take control of your life. If you let it, it can turn into something more serious and even more agonizing. Don’t wait for that to happen.