Do you know what anxiety feels like?
No, do you really know what anxiety feels like?
Sure, there is a large spectrum for how anxious a person gets. Some people simply have worse anxiety symptoms than others.
For example, a person with an anxiety disorder will feel continual and uncontrolled worry that will get in the way of their day-to-day life.
To them, having anxiety is as if their brain was a radio that someone else owned the remote to…
They feel out of control.
It is nerve-racking.
They hear these voices that make them feel like things are going to go wrong all of the time and it puts their body in this hyperintense panicked state!
Sounds horrible, right?
Well, there are a lot of people who do not even have a diagnosis for an anxiety disorder and still feel this level of uneasiness in their life.
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, or 18.1% of the population every year.
This shows that anxiety is a widespread disorder.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America also cite that anxiety disorders are highly treatable, but yet only 36.9% of those who suffer receive treatment.
A lot of people know what anxiety feels like…but why is anxiety such a taboo topic to talk about?
Not a lot of people want to openly admit that they get anxious because there is a stigma of a mark of disgrace, weakness or shame attached to being an anxious person.
I understand how prevalent anxiety is in our society. I want to raise awareness on how to manage it, treat it, and support people who suffer from anxiety.
In this article, you’ll learn what anxiety feels like, anxiety treatments, and coping strategies for dealing with anxious people.
First, let me give you a little sneak peek of what anxiety feels like.
A Day In The Life Of An Anxious Person
Let’s say you are going to a job interview. The majority of people will naturally feel a tad nervous about going to a job interview.
If you were an anxious person, on the other hand, you will feel petrified.
You would be terrified of going into the interview. You would be scared and nervous because if you do not get the job, then what are you going to do for money?
How will you pay for food?
How will you afford to pay your rent?
Thoughts of being homeless start to race through your head.
Now you truly are done for.
After the interview, you start feeling apprehensive about how the interview went. Suddenly, all of the “what ifs” start bombarding your head.
“What if I had answered that question differently? How about if they didn’t like me? What if I don’t hear back from them??”
You start to experience physical symptoms from your anxiety. Your heart starts to pound, breaths become short, stomach churns and your body starts to ache.
You feel powerless.
Sometimes throughout the day, you feel suffocated and can’t breathe. It feels like you are steadily drowning in a deep pool of your thoughts. The negative thoughts keep coming.
They are so hard to stop, and sometimes they don’t.
Now, imagine experiencing this the majority of the time.
An anxious person is robbed of the present moment because of their negative thoughts of impending doom.
Anxiety makes incredibly small interactions and things so massive that it quickly becomes a bigger deal than it should be.
Panic attacks may happen often and can be debilitating. The ongoing worry, over-analyzation or uneasiness, will make it hard to concentrate, harder to sleep, and can cause one to feel on edge all of the time.
Still, even if someone is an anxious person, there are things they can do to lessen the effects and treat it.
Anxiety is a mental disorder that impacts millions of people.
If what I described above resonated with you, know there are steps you can take to help ease the burdens created from your anxieties.
If you are diagnosed with anxiety, there are medications available to assist you in allaying the symptoms from the disorder. Doctors can prescribe you medicine to help treat your anxiety.
Although there are medications available, I am a big proponent of controlling the symptoms through natural methods.
Foremost, I have to emphasize that anxiety is largely a biologically based mental disorder.
One’s body is producing too much stress hormones that cause the body to go into a neurotic frenzy. In other words, anxiety is a physical state with subsequent mental side effects.
So, why does that matter?
The solution to reducing the negative effects of anxiety is actually to acquire or develop beneficial lifestyle habits to make one able to withstand, lessen or recover quicker from the troubling symptoms of the anxiety.
Since anxiety is biologically based, if you are an anxious person – take care of your body.
I cannot stress this enough.
Here are 5 very important things to focus on when managing your anxiety.
1. Get proper sleep
This means to get proper sleep every night. If you are not getting enough sleep, it is a sure-fire way to heighten the symptoms from your anxiety. It is imperative to get sufficient rest.
Try to aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
2. Exercise, exercise, exercise
Just as critical as sleep is, routine exercise is imperative for treating anxiety symptoms.
It is crucial for one to exercise daily to channel all of the stress one feels into fuel for a taxing full-body workout.
It is difficult to be so anxious after your body is drained from arduous daily workouts.
3. Maintain a healthy diet
It is also important to clean up your diet and to watch what you eat.
Consume healthy lean proteins and vegetables while you eliminate bad carbohydrates and sugar.
Exchanging unhealthy snacks for good fats, like nuts or avocados, can make an astronomical difference in how your body feels throughout the day.
You should also be careful about consuming caffeine or other stimulants like alcohol as they can amplify the negative physical features from the condition.
4. Adjust your breathing
There are breathing, yoga or meditation exercises available to help you manage stress or anxiety.
Since anxiety often causes one to breathe short and shallow breaths, deep breathing exercises can be extremely helpful. Learning how to appropriately breathe can do wonders for managing one’s anxiety.
5. Seek professional counseling
Although anxiety is primarily a biologically based mental disorder, seeking help from a professional therapist or psychotherapist would still be an effective resource.
Anxiety is a combination of biological, social and psychological factors.
Therapists and psychologists have thus seen people be cured or have reduced anxiety after implementing the theories of cognitive behavioral therapy with their patients. Seeking professional help could potentially be a practical solution for helping with one’s anxiety.
To learn more strategies for dealing with anxiety, you can check out a lecture from Dr. Srikumar Rao, a former business school professor, on how to eliminate stress and anxiety from your life.
Dealing With Anxious People
If you are not an overly anxious person, you may know some people in your life who do have anxiety.
Maybe there are even some people in your life who have anxiety and you are just unaware of them having the disorder.
With everything I have described above, hopefully, you got a better idea of what anxiety feels like. We hope you realize just how difficult living life with anxiety can be. Anxious people are fighting a battle every day in their heads.
So, don’t take what an anxious person acts or says towards you so personally.
Anxious people do not mean to be rude, disingenuous, or insincere. They are just dealing with the effects of their anxiety and it would help for you to understand, be patient and empathize with them.
Anxious people tend to overthink.
Perhaps talk with the anxious person to understand what is going on in their heads and what they are going through. It would help to get them out of their own heads and expressing what they are thinking.
Listen to their irrational thoughts, let them panic, cry, and fume without judgment.
The worst thing you can do to an anxious person is to get mad, frustrated or pissed off at them.
In short, you do not know the battle going on in an anxious person’s head, so don’t take it so personally, if they come off as ambivalent or appear to be mean towards you.
Instead, be courteous and listen to them speak as you try to understand where they are coming from.
Time to conquer anxiety!
If you are suffering from anxiety or know somebody who is or may be experiencing the detrimental effects caused by anxiety – get help.
One can alleviate the symptoms by seeking treatment for their anxiety. I encourage you to explore your options for treatment or for you to advocate treatment to your friend or family member who is dealing with anxiety.
Again, try to be kind to anxious people.
They are struggling with an invisible fight that has a lot of destructive mental and physical effects. They do not want to be irritable, or irrational – they just tend to overthink.
So, let’s all help one another by being patient and supporting those who are combating through anxiety!
How do you cope when you get anxious? Share it with us in a comment below.