Your peppy playlist may urge you to toss your worries out of the window, but is it really that easy? Some of us get worked up about things a bit more than others normally do, and at seemingly insignificant matters. It’s normal to feel tensed when facing a challenging situation, such as a job interview, a tough exam, or a blind date. But if your worries and fears seem overwhelming and interfere with your daily life, you may be suffering from anxiety.
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are facing a stressful situation.
Feelings of anxiety are often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, irritability, fatigue, and concentration problems. People experiencing anxiety may be prone to avoiding situations that have provoked anxiety in the past.
In moderation, anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and focused, spur you to action, and motivate you to solve problems. Anxiety has an important role to play in helping us get around safely in the world and it can be a beneficial ‘early warning system’ in a range of experiences. But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming, when it interferes with your relationships and activities, it stops being functional—that’s when it crosses the line from normal, productive anxiety into the realm of a probable anxiety disorder.
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, you might be suffering from anxiety and might be at risk for an anxiety disorder.:
Anxiety exists on a scale from mild to debilitating. It can be an annoyance that slightly interferes in our life to a cage that traps us and shuts us out of our own quality life.
In addition to the primary symptoms of irrational and excessive fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
Anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the body’s fight-or-flight response, anxiety involves a wide range of physical symptoms. Because of the numerous physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:
Anxiety is insidious, creeping and crawling through your brain, your mind, and your body. It gives rise to self doubt, fear, what-ifs, worrying about worst-case scenarios and a pressing need for control. Listening to our anxious thoughts nonstop can make them grow ever bigger and stronger, and we come to believe them. It’s almost like a broken record playing inside our heads. When this happens, it’s time to change our tune, lest we want to keep listening to the terrible screeching song play on.
If you may be experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, do yourself a favour and do not sweep your problems under the rug.
For someone struggling with anxiety, chances are pretty good that you’ve heard a well-meaning family member or friend tell you, “Just get over it.” As a society, we are often told that anxiety is not a big deal and that our symptoms can be controlled with an on-off switch.If it were that easy, no one would have anxiety because we’d all get over it and move on.
Consult a mental health professional to understand what you may be experiencing and how to manage it.