There can be times when everyday things may cause excessive worry for someone suffering from generalized anxiety. This worry can interrupt thoughts, disrupt sleep, and may not even make sense to the individual, leaving them feeling silly even acknowledging the dread that these symptoms cause.
However, generalized anxiety is no laughing matter. The feelings of dread and effects of losing sleep over worry can lead to irritability and even depression.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) claims that Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a variety of things, is affecting 6.8 million adults, roughly 3.1% of the entire population of the U.S.
In order to help get it under control, one should understand the neurobiological sources of anxiety. It is only natural to try to understand the fountainhead of anxiety and worry as symptoms begin to surface. Sometimes when the source is identified an anxious individual may begin to make statements such as, “This is ridiculous,” or “I should not be letting myself worry about this.”
Even though this self-talk may be a positive helpful way to combat anxiety, the brain is actively seeking for things to worry about against personal control. Anxiety affects the brain automatically, scanning one’s surroundings or circumstances for sources of worry. Once identified, the body tends to react to a source, producing symptoms of anxiety.
Individuals bodies may react in different ways to anxiety or worry, however, there is a general reaction of fear similar to when a person faces a threat or potential danger. This is similar to when you are watching a suspenseful or scary movie.
The senses associated with the brain are scanning all the information received and the body is reacting to chemicals that the brain releases, producing symptoms such as a tight stomach, clammy hands, and accelerated breathing. This can happen to someone experiencing anxiety or constant worry. When these feelings are experienced over long periods of time there is a risk of developing chronic tension and stress.
Managing Anxiety Symptoms Well
Anxiety symptoms be differentiated into three groups, with three corresponding ways to deal with the symptoms. Group one includes the physical stimulation that can result in panic. Group two involves dread, tension, and stress. Group three centers around brooding worry.
The remainder of this article will deal with the use of Body Management to combat the symptoms of group one.
Fighting Panic with Body Management
Panic attacks stimulate your body in such a way that you experience accelerated pulse rate, shortness of breath, tingling, and dizziness. When these symptoms come without warning they can both frustrate and terrify the anxious individual. Panic attacks are not the only physical symptom, however, but shoulder, neck, and jaw tension, as well as a hollow feeling in your stomach, or even outright stomach pain, can also occur.
Taking care of the body
Physical solutions are typically used to combat physical symptoms. The first step toward regaining control of an anxiety disorder is to take control of the body. This may be accomplished in several ways. The first, and most important is the general maintenance of your body and your health.
Physical exercise, a healthy diet, and enough sleep are important areas for preventing anxiety symptoms. The use of caffeine or alcohol can cause the body to enter an anxiously aroused state, as well as insufficient sleep and lack of exercise.
Diaphragmatic breathing is a deeper type of breathing that creates a sense of calm and a restful attitude in the body. The more you practice controlling your breathing, the more your body will adjust to being in a state of calm.
It is helpful to learn deep breathing techniques and incorporate them into everyday life, especially when you suffer from anxiety symptoms. Using diaphragmatic breathing can put a complete stop to the stress symptoms.
The practice of mindful awareness is a third way to bring your body under control. Physical symptoms can be so acute that you are unable to focus on anything else. This leads to the ruminating fear and anxious feelings. Mindful awareness can help shift your thoughts from your body to your environment and thus regain control of your body.
Refocus your attention away from the anxiety symptoms to your body’s basic physiology – the way your breathing feels, your heartbeat, how your stomach feels, etc. Next, shift attention to your senses – sounds, smells, or what you can feel on your skin, the room ambiance, the wind on your face, the smell of flowers, etc.
As these actions are performed you will begin to feel that you are in control of your body and can overcome your symptoms. You develop the skill of being present in the moment, disregarding the persistent anxious thoughts or lack of bodily control.
“Portrait,” courtesy of Remy Loz, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Stressed,” courtesy of Macdongtran, pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Yoga”, Courtesy of Bruce Mars, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Time to Think,” courtesy of Enrico, Flickr Creative Commons