Everyone experiences some level of anxiety or nervousness throughout life. This could happen when you are speaking in public, going through some financial tough times or other stressful situations. However, for some people this anxiety happens so often that it starts to unfortunately take over their lives.
You might be wondering now how to discern whether your anxiety is part of everyday life or if it’s a disorder. It is not easy to identify and requires a skilled therapist’s assistance. Anxiety can present itself in many different ways… panic attacks, fears and social phobias are just a few examples. Distinguishing between a diagnosis and more everyday anxiety is not clear cut. Below are 10 of the most common signs of anxiety. If you are experiencing these frequently, be sure to call us for a free consultation so we can help you.
1.) Intense worrying
The crux of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, of which is the most general type of anxiety, is being to concerned about everyday things. These could be big or small… but what exactly qualifies as too much worrying?
GAD consists of persistent and extremely anxious thoughts that last throughout days, weeks and months. This is so intense that it starts to interfere with your day to day life and also comes along with other symptoms like fatigue or even high blood pressure.
Its important to also keep in mind that if your stress is causing you a lot of suffering and dysfunction, it is more likely to be anxiety.
2.) Problems sleeping
Having a tough time falling and staying asleep can be associated with many different medical conditions, both physical and mental. During more nerve provoking events, like a big presentation for work or meeting can also interrupt your sleeping patterns.
However, if you are finding yourself laying awake during night, tossing and turning relentless or being agitated it could be a warning sign for an anxiety disorder. About 50% of people with generalized anxiety experience some type of sleep disturbance and issues.
One other thing that can signify anxiety is waking up feeling extremely jittery and with your mind racing. You might try to calm yourself down, but that is tricky to do right in the morning.
3.) Illogical or irrational fears
There are different types of anxiety that aren’t generalized, but rather extremely specific. Certain situations or things , like places, animals or heights can be outrageously overwhelming for some. If the the fear is vastly out of proportion to the realistic amount of risk that is involvement, there is more than likely a phobia present. Phobias are a specific type of anxiety disorder.
All the while fears can be emotionally draining, they actually are not apparent at all times. For instance, your fear might nor come to light until you experience a specific situation and learn that you are particular of handling your fear. For instance , a person with a fear of height can go for years without having a problem, but then suddenly their kid wants to ride a roller-coaster or ferris wheel and they realize they are in need of treatment.
4.) Intense muscle tension
Chronic muscle tension, whether it is clenching your jaw or flexing your muscles, usually is a sign of anxiety. This can be so persistent that those who have struggled with anxiety for years eventually stop noticing the tension.
More frequent exercise can assist with reducing muscle tension, however the tension may also increase if an injury happens. Be careful in the gym and consider having a workout partner or even trainer to help you work out safely.
5.) Gastrointestinal problems
It is true that anxiety starts in the mind, but many times it manifests itself in the body through physical symptoms when the anxiety is not handled. Chronic digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal issues are common conditions for those who struggle with anxiety. IBS is not always directly linked with anxiety , but the two do commonly occur together and tend to make both experiences worse. Our human gut is very sensitive to mental stress and distress and vice versa.
6.) Intense self-consciousness
Social anxiety does not always mean talking to a crowd filled with people or getting a lot of attention. Most of the time, the anxiety is triggered by everyday events , like starting up conversation at a party or eating out with your colleagues or friends.
In those types of events, people with social anxiety disorder often feel like everyone is starting at them. Blushing, nausea, sweating and trembling can take place. Their symptoms can be so disruptive that they find it difficult to meet new people, maintain healthy relationships and grow at work or in school .
Panic attacks are scary. Imagine an intense and sudden overwhelming feeling of sheer terror and helplessness that lasts for several minutes, with breathing proms, a pounding heart , tingling or numb hands, chest pain and feeling hot or cold.
People who experience panic attacks repeatedly may be diagnosed with panic disorder. Many times, those who struggle with panic attacks live in fear about when their attack will happen and will avoid certain places and triggers for their anxiety.
Flashbacks are not only experienced by those with PTSD. Relieving a traumatic event, sudden death, violence or accident, all can be signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD and anxiety do share some common features . Actually until recently, PTSD was categorized as a certain type o anxiety disorder.
Flashbacks can occur with anxiety too. According to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, some people with social anxiety experience vivid flashbacks or experiences that they find very stress provoking. For instance, if someone struggles with public speaking and finds that to be humiliating, they have have a flashback to a time where they presented to their class and some of their classmates laughed at them.
For someone to be diagnosed with OCD , or obsessive-compulsive disorder, a person intrusive thoughts must be accompanied with compulsive behaviors , whether it is mental or physical. Obsessive thinking and behavior starts to become a disorder when you feel the need to complete the ritual, or behavior, in order to get on with your life. One example would be needing to have the volume at 15 and feeling extremely uncomfortable and anxious until the volume is at 15 , even if it is at 14.
The obsessive thought of perfectionism tends to go hand in hand with anxiety disorders. If you start noticing that you are constantly critiquing yourself or being nervous about making errors or not living up to your high standards, you may have an anxiety disorder. Perfectionism tends to happen more often in obsessive-compulsive disorders .
If you think you are struggling with anxiety, call us today at 412-532-1249 to schedule your free phone consultation.
About Makin Wellness
Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premiere therapy and coaching center located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .
I came across this video where a woman diagnosed with depression, anxiety and ADHD shares whather experience is like. Feel free to watch, share and comment below any thoughts, emotions or observations regarding this.
Diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to reduce your anxiety, stress levels and reduce your blood pressure . It’s interesting to note that this is the way our bodies were designed to breathe and that infants do this naturally! If you happen to see a baby laying on their back, you’ll see that their belly moves up and down.
Here’s a great and short video that clearly demonstrates how to do this ; check it out!
Do your child ever have a hard time sleeping? Do your kids ever toss and turn or take a long time to fall asleep?I have an amazing meditation linked below that will help your kid ease their mind. This uses very specific tones that will put their brain in differing states and will calm them down . The “Fabulous Dreams” meditation also contains powerful and positive affirmations that could boost their confidence as well! Share your experience with this below if you tried it out!
Many of you may be surprised to learn that eating and drinking certain things can actually reduce your stress… well it can ! Let’s get right into it and learn about what foods and drinks can calm you down :
1.) Chamomile tea
There is a certain compound in chamomile called Matricaria Recutita that adheres to the same receptors in your brain as anti-anxiety medications. Chamomile is a natural sedative and can be enjoyed anytime. This can also be beneficial to drink before bedtime if you have a hard time falling asleep.
2.) Green tea
Green tea has an amino acid called L-theanine that helps reduce your heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. It also increases your metabolism!
Eating a banana has the same effect as a drug class called beta-adrenergic blockers; these are typically prescribed to reduce anxiety and to lower blood pressure. Just made sure to chow down one to two bananas and you will feel more calm in about a half hour.
Wild caught salmon, mussels and anchovies are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The best kind of sea food is wild caught ; avoid farm raised. If you aren’t into fish, try an omega 3 supplement. Our favorite is by Nordic Naturals. They test their batches for mercury levels and their fish is not genetically modified.
This can reduce cortisol and stress hormones , lower your BP and help improve your circulation. When looking for a dark chocolate, look for one with a high cacao percentage .
This is just a few of the many foods and teas that you can eat to reduce your stress. We are coming out soon with a much more comprehensive stress busting protocol that will feature many more things to keep yourself happy and well! Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get notified when we release it.
Many people have the misconception that depression just feels like sadness. This is not the case. Depression can feel like a complex web of differing negative emotions. It’s important to also keep in mind that men and women are socialized to express these differently. For example, a female could cry to show her pain, whereas a man could get angry and /or aggressive in hopes of getting the hurt out. Here is what depression actually feels like:
If you are feeling down, you are not alone ; you can get better and there is help.
Aromatherapy can be very helpful for stress reduction , but there are so many oils and combinations out there that it can be extremely confusing to know what to use! We love using essential oils and encourage our clients to try it out as well.
Below are some of the best essential oils for the reduction of stress:
You can purchase the scents you are most drawn to by clicking here and selecting “retail customer”. We will do a blog post coming soon about different ways you can use essentials oils! Feel free to bring your oils with you to your next counseling session. Comment below about your experience with essential oils .
Do you ever stay awake at night, tossing and turning due to worries and seemingly relentless thoughts? We ALL have been there , when all we want to do is quiet our minds and relax… but this is much easier said than done. Very few of us are able to do it through deep breathing alone ; many others can benefit from using a tool to get to this state. My dear mentor & friend Paul Santisi is the world’s leader in meditations and self development. His meditations are unlike any other I have ever come across, and believe me when I say that I have tried many! My favorite meditation for clearing your mind is called Mind Silence , and you can check it out for free here or download it to your phone here. This is one I recommend to my clients struggling with anxiety and racing thoughts; I have only received positive feedback about this. I recall my one client raving on and on about how relaxed he felt after the first time he tried Paul’s meditation . He later went on to incorporate meditation into his daily routine to help keep him sober. Try it out and leave your experience with how you felt in the comments below!
Can it REALLY be that simple? You mean to tell me that petting my dog or cat can reduce my blood pressure and relax me? Yes it absolutely can ! Pets are great stress reducers! It is absolutely astounding what can happen to someone’s mood just from petting their furry friend. Petting and cuddling with cats and dogs tend to have a substantially stronger relaxing effect compared to smaller pets such as lizards and hamsters; however, smaller pets calm your nerves too! Next time you feel stressed , sit down with your four legged buddy and take 15 mindful minutes of petting him or her. You and “fluffy” will both enjoy it! Notice how you feel afterwards. Try it out next time you catch yourself worrying about your job or missing the Game of Thrones and share your experience below or during your session with your counselor.