Anxiety is a general term that defines “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”, and it refers to several disorders that are more or less visible and bearable to live with. 1 in 13 people globally suffer of a form of anxiety, but we hardly know this as people usually don’t speak about it. Not only that it is difficult to speak about it, as you might not even know what’s happening, but, on the other side, the friends and loved ones you do tell it to might have no idea what to do and have trouble understanding what is happening to you.
The article aims to showcase the array of anxiety types – you’ll be surprised you might have gone through this at some point in your life, go through how anxiety manifest itself, how does it feel and show, and what helps in being better when going through such episodes.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is when your mind is so busy worrying about something that it becomes impossible to speak. Or when you just think you did something wrong and everyone is mad at you. If your boss is having a bad day and isn’t as friendly as usual, you can’t stop thinking that it’s because of you and you keep thinking of what did you do wrong.
Anxiety is when you overthink even the simplest task in hand. And your overthinking is not really about finding the best solution, but worrying of what could go wrong, if there was something you said or did to upset someone and how that might turn against you.
Anxiety is when you shake or sweat in situations where you were just normally tensed before. Sometimes, before a job interview or a public talk, it’s normal to feel tensed and that is good as it keeps you alert and ready to perform. But any exaggeration of that is not normal.
Anxiety is when you feel the need to plan every second of your weekends and days ahead, so that you can keep yourself busy all the time. Anxiety is also the rush you are feeling when running late for an event and you feel extremely bad and restless about it.
Anxiety is worrying, exaggerating, making negative scenarios, doubting everyone’s smallest change in behavior, panicking, and avoiding any situation where you feel you’re not in control.
Anything besides the normal worrying and tension before an exam, important news, examination, interview or expecting a result – so the excessive worrying without a real reason is called General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
The permanent state of hiding from our friends and isolating ourselves from our friends, colleagues and dear ones is the Social Anxiety Disorder. People with anxiety do tend to live inside their mind, and in isolation.
Phobias are maybe the most common form of anxiety – almost all the people “suffer” of this. Phobias are well spread and are extremely varied.
Anxiety Attacks or better known Panic Attacks, are also quite known by everyone and many people have experienced it at some point in their lives.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is another common form of anxiety that manifest itself when we experience repetitive thoughts or actions that are intrusive and distressful.
And lastly, the most serious form of anxiety is the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), manifesting itself as flashbacks and behavioral changes in order to avoid the memory of a past traumatic event (such as hostage situation, rape or a serious accident).
What helps in living with anxiety?
Living with anxiety is not easy, but except PTSD, all the other forms can be fought on your own, with a little bit of determination and pushing yourself towards it.
The “biggest enemies” are the negative or worrisome thoughts. What you need to do is to become aware of them, being conscious that they might be a result of your anxiety. Keep a journal with you the whole day and write down all the negative thoughts you’re having the moment you have them.
At the end of the day or the morning after, go through the negative list of thoughts you wrote in your journal and really ask yourself if each of them is really true. Or whether you’re missing something, or you’ve just invented that. Do this exercise every day and you’ll see how much it helps in shifting your all-the-time negative thoughts.
Negative emotions go hand in hand, so shifting your negative thoughts into more positive ones will lead to brighter emotions as well. I’m not a believer in the “positive thinking” psychology, but I do believe we should be thinking less negatively and less worrying than we are thought to do.
We don’t know how to live in the present and enjoying the now – we rather live in the past and future, worrying that something from the past might repeat in the future. We ramble and ruminate about how to avoid that or how bad it can be and so on. And the purpose of the exercise above is to actually teach your mind to live in the now.
Believe it or not, even if we tend to go into isolation when feeling anxious, what helps is to keep socializing. Going out a few times a week, telling your closest friends or loved ones how you feel and how they can help, all these are things you need to push yourself to be doing.
Anxiety pushes you towards a corner from where it might seem impossible to get out. What you need to be doing is struggle to get out by becoming aware of what’s happening and doing the uncomfortable things, the opposite of how anxiety would like you to feel. Start with little steps, but get in the habit of doing the opposite things than the ones you feel like doing.
Meditation is also a good way to quiet your mind and become aware of the world as it is – but meditation is not a one-time pill. You need to be doing it daily, and learn how to master its techniques so that you can quiet your mind and focus on what’s important.
I’m getting ready to release a comprehensive course on how to deal with anxiety – in a few weeks it will be released. During that course, I am going through the causes and symptoms of anxiety, but most of the course is around how to change little or bigger aspects of your lifestyle so that you win the battle against anxiety. Subscribe to the newsletter below in order to get notified when this course is launched, so that you can really get the personalized advice on how to overcome the anxiety you’re facing.