Anxiety as a common side effect of stress. That's a very simple way to put it. Anxiety happens to everyone, yes- everyone. Unfortunately, anxiety has a very bad connotation (that's because most of the time people realize they are having anxiety, it is the negative kind). There are two types of anxiety, positive anxiety and negative anxiety.
I know what you are thinking, 'how is there such a thing as positive anxiety?' Well trust me, there is. I learned this in my biology class this past semester... Generally, anxiety is medically related to raising your blood pressure, speeding up your heart rate, and putting stress on your heart. But negative and positive anxieties do this.
A positive anxiety example would be winning the lottery. Are you telling me that you are going to sit there and do nothing about that? No. You are going to be very excited running around the place, screaming, and exerting extra energy. Granted this is a good thing, you are still putting extra stress on your heart, you might start shaking, and after you might feel tired. (All effects of anxiety)
Unfortunately the world isn't a perfect place, and no one here is perfect either, Negative anxiety does exist more frequently than you would think. So today i'm here to give you facts on what anxiety can do to your body and spirit. Anxiety is not only a mental state, it harms your physical being as well.
There are many different types of anxiety disorders;
Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Social Anxiety Disorder.
Before reading on, I want you to be aware of something. Just because you have not been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, does not mean that you do not suffer from anxiety. But for example, I was diagnosed with GAD... which actually does run in my family (genetically). BUT- I do know people who have not been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but suffer from anxiety.
Anxiety is inevitable. But that doesn't mean you have to keep suffering from it. I have created some a 8 step process to help you become a less anxious person.
1. Understand that you are suffering from anxiety and that is okay! Like I said before, 18% of American adults suffer from (diagnosed) anxiety. It is very common and doesn't make you any different than your neighbor. (Are you not sure if you are suffering or not? Well, every person is different, but some common symptoms are shaking, headaches, chest pains, sweaty palms, rapid heart beat, decreased sex drive, heart palpations, and many other symptoms.) The fact that you are able to confront yourself is a huge step. Now that the first big leap is taken, you can move on to the second.
2. Find out what is suffocating you. What is making you feel so anxious? Take out a sheet of paper and write down everything that you feel does not bring out the best in you. It could be something long term like a job, relationship, extreme weight gain, family member, or a long commute to work. It could also be something more short term like midterms or finals, the anticipation of a raise, promotion, or bonus. There are many different things that can trigger anxiety, find out what is suffocating you so that you can work towards finding a fix.
3. Find comfort in something or someone. For me? My comfort at the time was my dad. My dad was the number one person that I went to for everything. He always knew what to say to me (and he still does to this day). I also found comfort in exercise. Find something that suits you. Crocheting, crafts, sports, baking, running, reading, volunteering, a side job... The sky is the limit here! Whatever you do- do NOT turn to sex, drugs, and alcohol. I have seen people go down that road and it isn't pretty. Try as hard as you can to find the right groups of people to hang out. People that make you grow. You don't need to take 10 shots of liquor or go to a raging party to have a good time... And true friends know that :)
4. When you feel an attack coming on or you feel like you are starting to feel anxious, stop it. I know that is much easier said than done, but try. Try all your might to push it away. What will it take? A sprint down the street? Drinking an entire bottle of water? Calling a friend or family member? Going to the gym? Baking? Whatever can get your mind off of the anxiety, go do it. Stop it in its tracks. The more that you can train your body to push the negative feelings away, the better.
5. Get off of the couch and go for a run. Exercising releases endorphins AND it makes you look super hot! Honestly, there is no need to explain this one. I am a big believer in look good, feel good. Get off your booty and go workout! You are one workout away from a good mood! :)
6. Meet new people who have the same interests as you. Or meet people who are completely different than you. Share interests with each other and try new things. Learn to trust people and be outgoing. The more that you make yourself a people person, the more you will enjoy being around people. The way that I started to enjoy being around many people was working in customer service. At my job, I talk to hundreds of different people every single day, and it helps tremendously. Wave to your neighbors or say hello to the random guy who walks by you on your runs every morning. Just a simple hello can start a beautiful new friendship.
7. Branch out of your comfort zone. Just freaking do it. Go on the roller coaster, talk to your crush, go up the empire state building, do 21 burpees instead of 20. Push yourself to do something that scares you every single day. Kill the spider, run up the giant hill, watch a scary movie. The possibilities are endless... But how are you supposed to know that if you never try?
8. Help inspire others to do the same and change their lives for the better. You have the power to save someone else's life... So what are you waiting for? The fact that you have worked towards healing yourself is a tremendous story in itself, and that doesn't include the battles you fought to get there! Share your amazing story with others and help them grow... You never know who is in need of your help.
ONE LAST THING- Please never forget this... you are not alone. Reach out to your family, friends, ME, or even a doctor if you need to. Don't let anxiety keep taking over you life. Let's put a stop to anxiety once and for all! Who is in? :)