Anxiety and Its Toll On Your Health
From the most Type A personality to the go-with-the-flow person among us – to some extent we’ve all experienced anxiety in some shape or form. Whether it’s a big test at school, social situations, a job interview, a big presentation, going on a date – you name it – life comes with stressful situations.
But, for many, “stressful situations” are more the norm than the exception. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. That’s about 18.1% of the population.
Symptoms of Anxiety
So, how do you know if you’re experiencing normal life stresses or are dealing with something more? First and foremost, don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Talk about them, and seek help from a medical professional if needed, but here are some warning signs to look out for:
- A family history of anxiety or depression – Genetics plays a role in just about everything from your looks to your cholesterol levels, and according to this study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, anxiety is no different. The study concludes that if one or both of your parents have an anxiety disorder, you’re more likely to suffer from it as well.
- You’ve experienced a traumatic event – From abuse to the death of a loved one, traumatic events are well…traumatic. Fear, sadness, and anxiety are normal following such an event, but sometimes it can be prolonged and have lasting effects that need to be addressed in therapy.
- Feeling agitated or like you can’t calm down – If racing pulse, sweaty palms, shaky hands, dry mouth, and the fight or flight mode seems to be your normal, you could be experiencing an anxiety disorder.
- Feeling extra fatigued and restless – Anxiety isn’t limited to internal feelings, it crosses over into your physical well being – like feeling “on-edge” and tired all the time. A study by PubMed.gov observed 128 children diagnosed with anxiety disorders and reported that 74% of them reported restlessness as the main anxiety symptom. On the flip side or even following a feeling of restlessness, fatigue is also a common experience among those suffering from anxiety.
Dealing with Anxiety
Like we mentioned above, seeking help from a licensed therapist is a great starting point, but here are some supplemental and helpful tools to help combat anxiety:
- Exercise: According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, as little as 20 minutes of exercise may temporarily reduce anxiety feelings, and can help prevent (or at least dampen the severity) future feelings of anxiety. If you’d like inspiration on workout options, check out our blog posts on CrossFit and running.
- Meditate: A study conducted by Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience revealed the correlation of mindfulness meditation and related anxiety relief. The study suggests that four 20-minute meditation classes per week helped reduce anxiety by up to 39%.
- Seek out alternative health options: While we are not suggesting to not seek help from a licensed therapist, therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy, and implementing quality nutrition all have shown calming and relaxing results. For more information on the respective therapies, read our blogs on the topics.