How to Deal with Anxiety
Moving from totally overwhelmed, to a cool, calm “I’ve got this.”
What is Anxiety?
People can feel anxious about a lot of things: the first day of school, a job interview, a first date. Anxiety is that pang of “what if” that makes your heart race and your palms sweaty. There’s a difference between healthy anxiety and a paralyzing fear about the future. Anxiety disorder is when feelings of worry and fear about events in the future begin to interfere with daily life.
If you’re experiencing an anxiety disorder, know that you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health disorders in the U.S.. They affect over 40 million adults every single year. And, kids experience anxiety disorder, too: over 25% of people between 13 and 18 live with anxiety today.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety is different for everyone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, some symptoms of anxiety can include:
Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
Crisis Text Line can help you manage anxiety. If you are struggling, text a Crisis Counselor at 741741, or use the mobile text button below to text from your phone.
Ways to Deal with Anxiety
If you’re dealing with anxiety, even thinking through the steps for how to tackle it could feel overwhelming. You shouldn’t have to summit that mountain alone. So, here are some steps to get you started:
Text us. If you’re anxious and your mind is racing a million miles a minute, you want help now. Like, right now. Good thing we’re here 24/7 to help you work through your anxious thoughts and get to cool and calm. Text HELLO to 741741 to connect with a real human.
Blow off some steam. Exercise is important for both your physical and mental health. If your thoughts are racing and you’re feeling overwhelmed, try lacing up your shoes and going for a walk, tapping it back in a spin class, or getting into flow at yoga.
Get some Zzzzs. Sleep is an important part of managing anxiety. Set yourself up to get your solid 6-8 hours every night by finding a routine that works for you.
Talk to a pro. Managing anxiety is part of managing your health. Finding the right doctor could help you hone in on the thoughts and situations that lead to your anxiety.
Types of Anxiety
People are all different—and so is anxiety. There are many different types of anxiety disorders that each have their own symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the most common anxiety disorders are:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: excessive anxiety and worry that is disproportionate to normal anxiousness around upcoming life events (such as work or school)
Social Anxiety Disorder: intense fear of social interactions, making it hard to go out, make friends, or interact with others
Panic Disorder: recurrent panic attacks that cause someone to change their behavior in order to avoid having them. Panic attacks are not your regular grade freak out; they’re an intense physical reaction to fear often causing an accelerated heart rate, sweating, and difficulty breathing.
Separation Anxiety Disorder: fear of being separated from someone usually because of worry that something may happen to them while they’re away
Specific Phobias: intense fear or anxiety about a specific thing or situation (ex. spiders, heights, flying)
Anxiety and Depression
Sometimes people experience anxiety along with other mental health disorders. As the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) notes, nearly 50% of those diagnosed with depression also experience depression. And, while people may experience both disorders, it’s important to note that they have different symptoms and causes.
Anxiety and Panic
Think of anxiety and panic as cousins: they’re linked, though not always one and the same. It’s common to have panic attacks as a fear response with anxiety disorders. It’s also possible to have an occasional panic attack without having a disorder. Panic attacks can be scary—they often feel like a heart attack. The good news? They don’t do any long-term damage to your body. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a big deal. (Repeat, they actually feel like you are having a heart attack.)
Anxiety and Stress
Stress is a totally normal and expected response to situations and changes in our lives. Anxiety can also manifest as a response to stress. The trick is identifying when healthy levels of anxiety around particular stressors transition to disproportionate levels of anxiety around particular situations or events.
What Causes Anxiety?
Simply put, no one thing causes anxiety. However, there are a few things that can increase your risk for having an anxiety disorder.
Genetics. Researchers have found that people who develop anxiety disorders before the age of 20 likely also have a relative who lives with anxiety.
Brain Chemistry. Science shows that stress can change the chemical balance in the brain. So it is no surprise that this chemical change can affect your mood.
Personality. For some people, their personality can make them predisposed to certain anxiety disorders. Personality traits like neuroticism or introversion can be linked to some anxiety disorders.
Life Events. Traumatic events can change our lives...they can also change our brains. Sometimes, anxiety disorders can manifest around large or challenging life changes.
Anxiety Treatment and Prevention
Anxiety can feel overwhelming. It’s also highly treatable. Some common treatments include:
Deep Breaths. Focusing on your breathing to calm and center yourself.
Stress Less. Stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, and mindfulness can help manage stress.
Get some shut-eye. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can regulate your mood and stress.
Talk to a professional. A therapist may be able to help you manage triggers and symptoms of anxiety. Therapists and doctors may also prescribe medication to help manage your mental health.
It’s always okay to ask for help. In fact, asking for help is brave. Looking to get started? Try talking to your doctor to learn more about how you are feeling and ways to take care of your mental health.
If you’re dealing with anxiety, we can help. Text a Crisis Counselor at 741471 or use the mobile click to text button below to text from your phone. You’re not alone.