It is believed that 5% of the UK population are regularly affected by a generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), which is an estimated 3.3 million people. Anxiety, the term itself, can refer to many different conditions, all of which can tend to exhibit similar symptoms.
So, what is anxiety?
Everyone at some stage of their life will experience a form of anxiety, it is human nature. During stressful periods in our lives such as going for a job interview or completing a test, you are bound to feel anxious, which is perfectly normal. However, many people find it hard to keep control of their worry and stress and this feeling of anxiousness becomes escalated and more constant, often effecting their everyday lives.
The physical symptoms of anxiety can include –
- Shortness in breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Racing heartbeat
Anxiety itself is a symptom of several conditions, such as –
Panic Disorders – panic attacks are a very common factor in anxiety, leaving sufferers with often extreme attacks of panic or fear. Depending on the individual involved these attacks can be triggered by numerous different situations.
Phobias – many different phobias can also be classified as anxiety. A phobia is an overwhelming fear of an object, place or situation. Phobias themselves can become very severe and can often lead to individuals organising their entire life around avoiding a certain situation.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) – social anxiety is a far greater issue than just shyness, often intense and long lasting, this disorder stems from a social phobia and a fear of some or many social situations.
Top Tips to help reduce anxiety
Tip no. 1 – Exercise
Often recommended by many doctors and consultants when dealing with anxiety or depression disorders, exercise is nature’s best anxiety remedy. It is commonly believed that being physically active can assist against depression and anxiety as it causes chemical changes in the brain, such as producing serotonin which can help to positively increase mood.
Alongside the physical benefits of exercise, regular exercise can also help to improve mental wellbeing due to improving self-esteem and the ability to conquer challenges.
Tip no.2 – Caffeine
No matter how much of a healthy or non-healthy lifestyle you lead, caffeine is found in most diets around the world in one form or another. Most commonly found in coffee, tea and energy drinks, medium to high doses of caffeine can increase or complicate anxiety where existing symptoms are present.
If you suffer with anxiety or certain stress related issues then monitoring your caffeine intake is a good place to start. Switching to a caffeine free alternative may be a good place to start, being sure to monitor your feelings and symptoms throughout.
Tip no.3 – Writing things down
Often dismissed by many when suggested, writing down your thoughts, emotions, feelings and symptoms can help to increase your awareness of your anxiety triggers and how they can potentially be avoided or overcome. The human brain is incredibly complex, processing a huge number of signs and signals constantly throughout the day. Writing things down can help you to take a step back from the emotional side of your thought process and help you to process some of your thoughts rationally.
A good way to start this process is to set aside a small amount of time everyday to write down what has happened throughout the day and how it made you feel. If you have had an anxiety attack during the day this is a good opportunity to analyse the attack, how you felt at the time, how you dealt with the attack and how you could potentially deal with it differently in future. Taking the time to analyse and process these moments can assist in helping you to focus on what exactly is making you anxious and the source of your fears.
Tip no.4 – Socialising
Socialising can often be the hardest fear to overcome if it is a trigger for your anxiety. However, having a support network around you of friends and family can be a great help. Not only can they support you in being there for you, they can also help you to challenge yourself and confront the fears that are driving your anxiety.
It is widely believed that the best way to overcome social anxiety issues is to tackle them head first by pushing yourself into social situations. Utilising a good support network of family and friends can help you in these situations as they can provide you with positive encouragement and a rational view on the situation.
Tip no.5 – Give CBD a try
If you’re struggling to manage and keep a handle on your anxiety then the next step for you may be to look for anxiety medication. Healthcare professionals will likely prescribe medications that are also used for depression, the issue here can be side effects, which can include nausea and severe headaches.
The other option is to try a natural alternative to common pharmaceuticals. CBD is widely believed to be a natural alternative to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Studies around the world are being undertaken to further research the link between CBD and anxiety disorders such as this study surrounding Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep of which found that cannabidiol holds a benefit for anxiety related disorders.