Jill Christensen, C.N.P.
Anxiety is often described as sustained and excessive worry that a person cannot control and is many times related to the anticipation of a future threat. At times, anxiety can have a large and negative impact on our daily lives, work, relationships and overall happiness. Anxiety can also manifest as an irritable, worried, restless, debilitating stress response lasting from minutes to days. Most everyone has had anxiety surrounding a stressful situation. However, anxiety becomes an obstacle for a happy, healthy life when it impacts our day-to-day lives.
Emotionally, anxiety can appear as:
- Excessive worry
- Sleep disturbances
- Poor concentration
- Panic attacks
Physically, anxiety can appear as:
- Diarrhea, stool pattern changes or upset stomach
- Muscle aches
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
The negative effects of anxiety
Left unchecked, anxiety can negatively affect our lives the following ways:
- Interrupting daily life — Causing issues at home, school, work and socially
- Isolating us — Not wanting to participate in normal daily activities or take new steps in life due to fear
- Emotionally — Increasing our risk for depression, suicide and failure to progress in life
- Physically — Increasing our risk for physical distress, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, chest pain and tremors
- Mentally — Increasing our risk for financial complications, poor decision-making and poor communication
Tips to help combat anxiety
There are a number of things you can try to help combat anxiety:
- Deep breathing
- Thought reframing
- Behavioral therapy
- Speaking with your health care provider
When to seek advice or treatment from a medical professional
It is recommended you speak to a health care provider about your anxiety should any of the following situations occur:
- Your anxiety becomes an obstacle — In any aspect of everyday living, often causing difficulties for six or more months
- Your anxiety becomes a negative influence in relationships — Creating barriers in life
- Your anxiety leads to isolation — Producing thoughts of hopelessness or helplessness
- Your anxiety controls your life — When your emotional or physical response to excessive worry is controlling your life in some aspect or another
A person with anxiety can seek support from a therapist, medical provider, family member, friend, community support person, crisis line resource or a crisis center. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, a behavioral therapy plan, anti-anxiety medication and/or coping mechanisms may be directed to your personal situation.
Recognition of anxiety is a key factor in dealing with excessive worry and moving forward in life. If you have any of the above symptoms or have difficulty controlling worry in your life, ask yourself if it could be anxiety you’re experiencing. It’s important to share any concerns of excessive worry with your health care provider so we can help you identify ways to address your anxiety and move past the debilitation of excessive worry.
Eric Monday, January 1, 2018
Very helpful, I struggle with all of the above except most of the physical symptoms. I find using anti-anxiety medication works for a quick fix but is not the long term solution. Hoping to find it and work towards it.