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Anxiety: What It Is and How to Overcome It

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Anxiety is a mechanism in our brain that serves to alert us in adverse and unknown situations. Under normal circumstances, it improves our performance and helps us adapt. Therefore, we can describe anxiety as a healthy and necessary emotion, as it makes us react in the face of problems and adversity.

Establishing the border between the normal and the pathological is not easy, but we can establish that this limit is exceeded when it causes us suffering and significantly interferes with our daily lives.

Anxiety then causes a feeling of great physical and psychological discomfort, together with insecurity, restlessness, anguish and even despair.

Predominant symptoms

Dizziness, feeling faint;

Tremors, restlessness and muscle tension;

Sweating (intense sweating);

Shortness of breath, choking or choking;

Tachycardia, fast heart rate;

Change in sleep patterns;

Concentration difficulties;

Gastrointestinal changes;

tiredness and fatigue;

Irritability and aggression;

Excessive fear and worry.

Common types of anxiety

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder;

Panic attack;

Post-traumatic stress disorders;

Generalized anxiety.

Tips for dealing with anxiety

LIVE THE PRESENT - How often do you find yourself thinking about a past event or worrying about something that might happen in the future? In both situations, you are not living in the present moment, nor are you aware of what is happening in the here and now, and this can create anxiety. When you realize that you are "out of the present", gently return your attention to what you are seeing, hearing, experiencing. Mindfulness meditation, mindfulness, is a tool that can be very useful.

BREATHE - Anxiety causes short, wheezing breathing. Regaining control of your breathing can, in reverse, calm your mind. Take a few deep breaths, preferably through your nose, or apply one of the many breathing techniques out there to send your brain the message that you are calm. The breath will be your anchor to bring you back to the present and calm.

MONITOR YOUR THOUGHTS - A very common symptom in cases of anxiety is intrusive and negative thoughts. It is important that you become aware of them and, without criticism or judgment, try to look at the situation from a different and positive perspective. Remember that you may not be able to control or change the situation, but you can choose how you handle it.

PRACTICE PHYSICAL EXERCISE - Practicing physical exercise helps to deal with states of anxiety, because it increases the production of serotonin, a substance that increases the feeling of pleasure. Choose an activity you like and invest in it. If it's outdoors, even better! Hiking and yoga have been shown to be very beneficial activities in cases of anxiety.

SLEEP WELL AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR FOOD - Sleeping well and in a restorative way can be a great help in cases of anxiety. For this, it is important to cultivate sleep hygiene, minimizing distractions and lights, having a cozy environment in the bedroom and not eating heavy meals before going to bed.

Regarding food, we can eat foods that are sources of tryptophan, an amino acid precursor of serotonin, such as bananas and chocolate. Teas are also great aids, as most have substances that work as mild sedatives and can help control daily anxiety. The best known and studied plants with this action are passionflower, chamomile and valerian.

SPEND TIME WITH THOSE WHO ARE GOOD FOR YOU - Being with someone you feel good with or doing an activity you enjoy is very important, as it will stimulate four natural chemicals in our bodies, generally defined as the “happy quartet”: endorphin, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.

Find time to socialize with due care, as the feeling of “belonging” is one of the pillars of well-being that makes us feel good and satisfied by the simple fact of being surrounded by people we care about.

DO THERAPY - It is not always possible to deal with anxiety disorders alone, and therapy is a great ally to improve mental health. In such cases, one possibility is cognitive-behavioral therapy. Consulting with a professional in the field of clinical psychology is one of the best solutions to learn how to deal with your anxiety and take care of yourself.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Manuela

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