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Anxiety: What It Is and How To Manage It

Experiencing anxiety—feelings of fear when we’re facing threatening or difficult situations—is a normal reaction to stress. In fact, anxiety can be a good thing by helping us to avoid dangerous situations, putting our bodies on high alert when necessary and motivating us to deal with problematic issues.

But for one in ten people, anxiety can be such a problem that it begins to dominate their lives. It may even lead to seemingly irrational panic and phobias.

Research has shown that, to a certain degree, anxiety is an inherited trait. However, anxiety is usually something that manifests itself in particular situations of severe stress—such as during an accident—or when we experience life-changing situations like pregnancy, losing a job or changing marital status. It is natural to experience anxiety during significant events in our lives, however, if we continue to feel anxious long after the present danger has passed, we may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Drugs may also trigger feelings of anxiety, and, for some people, the caffeine in coffee is strong enough to do the same.

Anxiety is characterized by a number of symptoms, including feeling worried all the time, having trouble sleeping and struggling with concentration. When anxiety sets in, we may experience a racing heartbeat, sweating, muscle tension, heavy breathing and shaking. With extreme anxiety comes the development of panic, which is characterized with a sudden and overwhelming fear and sense of loss of control. Beyond that, we develop phobias, which cause us to feel extreme anxiety in certain situations, which we then avoid so that we don’t feel anxious. Over time, when we avoid our anxiety by avoiding particular situations—such as meeting new people—we affect the way we live our lives, and we may also experience feelings of depression because of our situation.

One of the biggest problems with the side effects of anxiety is that they often lead to further and more intense feelings of this condition. We may begin to think that our physical symptoms are symptoms of something more concerning, thus causing us to experience more severe and frequent anxiety.

The good news is that there are ways to control anxiety. We can help ourselves by learning relaxation techniques, managing the stress in our lives and maintaining overall good health through a proper diet and exercise. Support groups may also be able to suggest ways of coping with our particular struggles related to anxiety.

We also welcome you to join us this month to learn more about anxiety and strategies you can use to minimize irrational fear. With the advent of a new year, there is no better time to put yourself in charge of your health. For more information on our Anxiety Workshop this month, please call 1-888-722-4467 for the dates and times at a Specific Chiropractic Center near you!

References:

Anxiety, Panic and Phobias. BBC.co.uk. (December 2008) Retrieved January 5, 2010 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/mental_health/disorders_anxiety.shtml

What is Anxiety? What Causes Anxiety? What To Do About It. MedicalNewsToday. (February 10, 2009) Retrieved January 5, 2010 fromhttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7603.php