What causes anxiety?
Anxiety is when you feel afraid or overly worried, tensed that something is going to happen in the future.
Most people who suffer from anxiety have been anxious during the earlier part of their childhood. This could stem from living in an environment where one or both of the parents do not talk about their feelings or express their emotions, particularly negative emotions, and often deal with them in a negative way. In addition, early years of anxiety could be a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, drug addiction or alcoholism, parents that suffer from mental health issues and school-related issues like exams or bullying.
When you’re overly anxious it can affect any area of your life such as:
- Work - you begin to lack concentration and you're often not present as your mind is busy racing and thinking about other things.
- Intimate relationships - you may begin to find it hard to be emotionally connected with your spouse as you feel anxious about the status or the future of the relationship.
- Friendships - it’s important to socialise and have hobbies, but unfortunately when an individual is highly anxious it affects their ability to be sociable, as they are often worried about different things which could begin to make them feel paranoid. As a result they suffer from social anxiety.
Everyone can feel anxiety from time to time, however anxiety is a mental health problem: if it affects your ability to live as fully as you would like to.
Do you often feel like this? Do you feel anxious very often with the feelings being very severe and lasting for a prolonged time? Do you worry constantly or are afraid that you feel out of control regards to a situation?
- You avoid situations which might cause you to be anxious and your worrying makes you feel very distressed.
- You experience panic attacks.
- You find it hard to enjoy the day to day things. Anxiety could affect the way in which you look after yourself, work, enjoy leisure time, and form and develop relationships.
Self-care for anxiety
Time to pause
Avoid extreme build-up of stress by taking time to pause, relax and recharge yourself. It’s important to avoid over-working by doing long hours without breaks.
Control your breathing
Severe anxiety is often linked to poor breathing habits. It’s important to implement slow breathing techniques by breathing in slowly and gently through your nose for about 5-7 seconds.
Exercise is good for your general health, including your mood, mental health and wellbeing. Engage in a regular weekly exercise which will help release the 'happy hormones' called endorphins. It will also help you relax and sleep well and it is a very healthy distraction.
Eat a well-balanced diet
Having a balanced diet will provide the right nutrients that your body needs, which will contribute to positive emotional wellbeing.
Limit alcohol and caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety.
Get enough sleep
Improved sleeping patterns enable you to recharge yourself. Common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can often underpins sleep problems. Sleep helps you to feel better and boost your moods.
It’s essential to accept that you can't control everything and it’s important to avoid being overly controlling. It's important to have a vision or dreams and aspirations, but you can't spend too much focus or time worrying about the future.
Know your triggers
Having an understanding of what triggers your anxiety will help you look for the patterns and keep your anxiety levels under control.
Talk about your issues
Talking about issues that make you anxious will help you to think less and reduce over thinking which contributes to worrying and anxiety.
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About Kate Megase
I am a counsellor, coach and motivational speaker. I specialise in issues associated with relationships, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.