Most people get anxious from time to time. While anxiety before an exam is normal, feelings that make it hard to live your daily life are not. So how can you tell if you’re dealing with average nerves or something more serious? Keep reading to learn more about the most common symptoms associated with anxiety disorder.
Trouble Falling Asleep
Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep? Stress and anxiety may be the culprits. Sleep disturbances like insomnia are common symptoms of anxiety disorder. This is likely because people who suffer from anxiety worry about their day while lying in bed.
When you’re worried about work, it’s almost impossible to fall asleep. The good news is, that a few simple tweaks to your nighttime routine could help ease these symptoms.
At night, it’s best to avoid tasks that induce stress, like answering work emails or paying bills. Instead, create a routine that calms your nervous system. This may include meditating, reading a book, or having a cup of tea. If you’re still struggling to fall asleep after 20 minutes, keep the lights off and go through your routine again. Your focus on completing the steps can help prevent your brain from creating things to worry about.
Avoidance of Social Situations
If the thought of attending your friend’s birthday party evokes panic, you may be dealing with social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder makes it challenging for people to interact with others. This can make it difficult to date, build a career, and maintain friendships.
While the idea of social interaction may sound stressful, putting yourself out there can help reduce anxiety symptoms. You don’t need to perform on stage to get comfortable around people. Small steps like meeting a friend for coffee or complimenting your barista’s outfit can build your confidence. By successfully handling smaller interactions, you’ll be better prepared to navigate larger social functions.
Frequent Panic Attacks
If you suddenly experience intense fear that causes your heart to race, you could be having a panic attack. Most people will experience a panic attack once or twice in their life. However, people with panic disorder experience recurring attacks, causing intense worry about when the next one will occur. Symptoms associated with panic attacks include chest pain, trembling, weakness, difficulty breathing, and nausea.
To help reduce the intensity of attacks, try practicing deep breathing. One study found that slow breathing could improve emotional well-being, increase feelings of relaxation, and reduce anxiety symptoms. By focusing on breathing deeply, you’ll be able to prevent hyperventilation, reducing the intensity of the panic attack.
Do you notice that your muscles are constantly tense? Prolonged stress, like anxiety, can cause our muscles to contract, leading to tension. This feeling can range from a dull ache to shooting sharp pains. If your anxiety gets worse, you may notice that your muscle pain worsens as well.
To help ease this pain, try taking a hot bath or shower. Warm water can help relax muscles, giving you a sense of relief. If your muscles still feel tight, some light stretching or yoga may also help.
Perfectionism is often looked at as a positive attribute. After all, attention to detail and drive to succeed help us reach our personal and professional goals. However, numerous studies show that people who suffer from anxiety often exhibit more perfectionist traits than the average person. Perfectionism can cause a flurry of anxious feelings when individuals don’t live up to their unrealistically high standards.
To overcome the anxiety perfectionism can cause, perfectionists need to set more realistic objectives. One way to do this is by creating SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, a perfectionist might vow to “get in better shape” — a goal that would direct them toward some ever-elusive apex. Instead, they might commit to getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise four days a week for two months. The setting of more reachable goals ultimately helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
From first dates to public speeches, we all get butterflies from time to time. However, butterflies can turn into full-blown stomach pain for people struggling with anxiety.
If you suffer from daily stomach issues like cramps, diarrhea, or nausea, they may result from chronic anxiety. Reducing your stress is the best way to treat these stomach issues, but it often takes time. Nevertheless, you can make a few dietary changes to ease stomach pain while trying to manage your anxiety.
For starters, skip your morning cup of coffee. The caffeine in coffee can increase nervousness and stimulate bowels, worsening stomach-related issues. Instead, opt for ginger tea. Ginger has been shown to help ease queasiness.
When to Talk to a Professional
Maybe a few of these symptoms sound a little too familiar, and you think you may have anxiety. This could leave you wondering whether you should consult a healthcare provider or try to manage symptoms yourself.
Since anxiety is linked to many health issues, it’s a good idea to seek medical guidance. Even mild symptoms can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. Once you’ve met with a healthcare provider, you can work together to find the right anxiety treatment plan for you.
Everyone gets nervous occasionally, but when those nerves begin to interfere with your life, you may have anxiety. The good news is, that there are many treatment options available to help you overcome your anxiety and thrive.