Anxiety disorders are more than just nervousness. Occasional anxiety is a part of everyday life, however, people with anxiety disorders often have intense, excessive, and persistent worries and fears about everyday situations. These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily life, are difficult to control, can be out of proportion to the actual danger and may last for hours or even longer. People with anxiety disorders often limit exposure to stressful or triggering situations and in extreme cases avoid going out altogether.
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Generalised anxiety disorder, or GAD, affects many people and is described as an ongoing state of tension and nervousness with or without a cause or the ability to take a break from the anxious feelings. The feelings are extreme, constant, uncontrollable, or irrational worries about everyday things, including health, relationships, friends, family, finances, or work.
What does anxiety feel like?
Anxiety symptoms can be both psychological and physical. It is common for people experiencing anxiety to feel:
Shortness of breath
Nausea and dizziness
Chest pain and headaches
Weak limbs and tense muscles
A choking sensation
Is there a main cause of anxiety?
Anxiety disorders can be caused by many things, including trauma, mental health challenges, drug or alcohol abuse, health issues or a family history of anxiety. Psychologists can help you find out why and have mapped the different types of anxiety. By being aware of what type of anxiety you are experiencing you can learn how to cope better.
What are the different types of anxiety?
Generalised anxiety disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
How can mindfulness help anxiety?
Mindfulness is an attitude of curiosity about being present in this moment in time. You can use one or all these tips to help stress and anxiety management.
Try these mindfulness tips:
Focus on your breathing and concentrate on it. If your mind starts to wander gently bring it back to the breath.
Take deeper breaths. After a few breath cycles increase your inhale and exhale’s length and depth.
Become aware of your body. Increase your focus on other parts of your body and your five senses.
Observe your thoughts and feelings. Be curious about your thoughts and feelings without attaching to them.
Practice self-compassion. Send yourself kindness, love, and acceptance.
Other helpful tips for reducing stress include:
Limit potential triggers
Meditation, yoga, and rest
Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
Talk to a person who is supportive, such as a counsellor, family member or friend
Maintain an active lifestyle to improve self-image and promote positive emotions.