Anxiety is a complex disorder. There are several self-assessment tests available on the internet to self-diagnose it. However, an accurate and thorough clinical examination by a doctor is important. There are several types of anxieties that can also be associated with other medical conditions.
A medical diagnosis is required for doctors to rule out other illnesses, make an accurate diagnosis and provide an appropriate treatment plan. Some diseases such as hyperthyroidism, various autoimmune disorders and electrolyte imbalances may be present with symptoms similar to anxiety (palpitations, sweating, etc.). Knowing the signs and symptoms of anxiety can help you seek the appropriate treatment.
What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety?
It is normal to feel anxious every now and then. However, having the following recurrent signs and symptoms can lead to a diagnosis of anxiety disorder:
- Feeling of nervousness
- Feeling restless and/or tense
- Feeling afraid, as if in danger
- Constant worrying
- Hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
- Feeling weak
- Difficulty concentrating
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- Gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- An urge to avoid things and situations that trigger anxiety
- Catastrophizing of thoughts
Ways to calm down anxiety
The following easy strategies and tips can help you manage stress levels, calm down immediately and ease anxiety:
- Go for a short walk:
- Use visualization techniques:
- Visualization and guided imagination can restore peace of mind and relax a person both mentally and physically.
- Look at situations differently:
- If stressful situations are looked at differently, it may be possible to view them from a different perspective.
- Learning to change the way of looking at things will help reduce anxiety.
- Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR):
- This is a technique where all the muscle groups are tensed and then relaxed, making the body feel calmer.
- PMR can help a person handle anxiety better.
- Sniffing something pleasant is another easy tool that can be used to quickly calm anxiety.
- Lighting a candle or diffuser with a calming essential oil, like lavender, decreases anxiety.
- Go outdoors:
- Getting some sun can increase the release of serotonin in the brain, which improves mood and makes one feel more relaxed.
- Being surrounded by nature is soothing even on a cloudy day.
- Write it down:
- Writing about anxious and worried thoughts can make one feel that a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.
- Journal writing helps to process emotions healthily and confront fears reducing feelings of anxiety.
- Listen to music:
- Listening to music helps control levels of stress and anxiety, even in tough situations.
- Calming music or soothing sounds keep cortisol levels down and relaxes the mind giving instant relief.
- Play with a pet:
- Playing with a pet can lead to a significant reduction in the stress hormone cortisol, which improves one’s mood and reduces anxiety.
- Completely relax muscles:
- Utter relaxation can be practiced, such as autogenic training that is done by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position and letting the muscles go completely limp, which makes negative feelings drift away.
- Watch something funny:
- Laughter is the best medicine that can relieve anxiety and boost positive feelings.
- Watching a clip of a favorite comedian or blooper reel will help stop feeling anxious fast.
- Sip herbal tea:
- Distract yourself:
- Redirect attention away from distressing thoughts or emotions.
- Shifting attention to any activity will interrupt racing thoughts.
- Accept anxiety:
- Accepting anxiety instead of feeling ashamed or frustrated will actually help feel less anxious.
- Talk to a therapist:
- If feelings of anxiety are making it hard to function, talking to a therapist can help relieve anxiety.
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