Anxiety is a normal part of life, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t get out of control or start to cause problems. Everyday anxiety, especially if it’s an intense feeling or if you feel like you’re always anxious to some extent, can be a sign that something is wrong.
Too much anxiety isn’t good for you and can interfere with your life and make it difficult to function normally.
Here’s what you need to know if you or a loved one are experiencing feelings of anxiety, especially if you’re worried that it’s becoming a problem.
One of the first things you need to know about anxiety is that anxiety and anxiety disorders are very common. An estimated 40 million people have an anxiety disorder in the United States alone.
Anxiety is a common feeling when you’re nervous about something, or worried about accomplishing a goal, and it can be a healthy and normal feeling to have.
There is a difference between feeling anxious and developing an anxiety disorder.
However, since anxiety disorders are so common, keeping an eye on your anxiety and understanding it is important. Knowing what is and isn’t normal anxiety can help you decide when it’s time to seek help.
At the most, basic level anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling about the future. It could be feeling like the future will be worse than the present in a more general way or can be bound up in specific reasons.
One common form of anxiety happens when you’re feeling anxious, and your mind comes up with a bunch of different reasons to help explain the feeling. However, most of the time this is a sign that the anxiety came first, and your brain is trying to rationalize the feeling by coming up with things that could legitimately make someone anxious.
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety is a form of forward-thinking. While there are a lot of potential situational, chemical, and personal reasons for anxiety, it’s always a sign that you’re thinking more about the future than you are living in the present.
That’s not always a bad thing. Forward-thinking can help you plan your budget, pay your rent, and make sure you have enough food, clean clothing, and tools to get through your day.
However, when anxiety gets out of control that can be a sign that there’s a chemical cause, or that you’re spending too much time worrying about the future and not enough time living in the present.
Signs and Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder:
Anxiety becomes a disorder when it begins to impair normal functioning. You don’t necessarily need to be having panic attacks or other classic symptoms of an anxiety disorder to have one. In fact, a lot of anxiety disorders can look like being a high-achiever or over-productive from the outside.
Since it can be hard to tell when you or someone you love have an anxiety disorder, here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders:
- Avoiding certain people or places
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling unrested when you wake up
- Fast heart rate
- Feeling afraid, nervous, or restless, especially when the situation doesn’t merit your response
- Chronic pain (can also be a cause of anxiety, not just a symptom)
A lot of these signs and symptoms can also be signs of other disorders and other problems, so there’s no guarantee that if you have some or all of these symptoms you have anxiety.
If you have several of these symptoms you may benefit from mental health treatment. It’s a good idea to speak with a doctor and see if you can get evaluated for the anxiety.
Why Do I Have Anxiety Every Day?
It’s hard to say exactly the reasons anyone has anxiety every day. There are a lot of potential causes of anxiety every day. However, the root cause is almost always spending too much time focused on the future and not enough time living in the present.
That might come from a neuro-chemical place if you don’t have the correct balance of neurotransmitters, it might come from a situation you’re in, or it might just be a habit you’ve developed over your lifetime.
That said, regardless of the causes of anxiety most people can benefit from a lot of the same techniques and tools to reduce anxiety.
How Can I Reduce Anxiety?
There are literally dozens of possible techniques and coping mechanisms that can be used to reduce anxiety and reduce the severity of your anxiety. But here are a few of the most common or most effective options you can use in your life.
Caffeine is incredibly common in today’s society, and a lot of people depend on caffeine to get through the day and get a boost when they’re having trouble concentrating.
The problem is that caffeine can also increase anxiety. If you’ve ever gotten a jittery feeling after drinking too much coffee, that can feel similar to how caffeine can increase anxiety.
Some people need to cut out caffeine entirely, while other people can get away with reducing the level of caffeine they drink and limiting when they drink caffeinated drinks and how quickly they drink them.
Alcohol is another common substance in today’s society, but it is also known to cause a wide variety of problems, especially if you’re already dealing with an anxiety disorder.
Alcohol can reduce your emotional control and ability to concentrate and redirect harmful thoughts, and it’s also a downer that can lower your mood and make it easier to get anxious. The aftereffects of alcohol can also be uncomfortable or painful, which may also trigger anxiety.
Like caffeine, avoiding alcohol or reducing the amount of alcohol you consume can also help reduce anxiety and give you more control over your response to anxiety.
Deep breathing is a common recommendation for dealing with anxiety, but a lot of people don’t know that deep breathing works not simply because it gets your brain to slow down and concentrate, but also because it can help produce a physical calm and works to interrupt anxious emotional processes.
Meditation, which usually combines directed thought with deep breathing or other physical practices, works to both help you create a physical sense of calm that fights anxiety, while also helping you better discipline your thoughts so that it’s easier to redirect away from anxious thoughts.
Practicing A Self-Care Routine
Self-care is a term that’s often misunderstood, but proper self-care is a great tool for reducing anxiety and making it more manageable.
A self-care routine can include things like:
- Make sure you get enough to eat
- Eating a balanced diet
- Getting some exercise every week
- Staying hydrated
- Taking some time to yourself every week
- Keeping a regular schedule
- Making your home environment a nice place to be
- Giving yourself the occasional treat
- Rewarding yourself for completing difficult tasks
That’s far from a complete list, but these are the kinds of self-care items you can use to help reduce and control anxiety.
When Should I Seek Treatment for My Anxiety?
There are a lot of different possible signs that it’s time to seek treatment for your anxiety. One of the common signs is actually thinking that you might need help with your anxiety.
However, here are some other common signs that it’s time to get help:
- If anxiety is getting in the way of your normal activities
- If you’re starting to have panic attacks
- If you’re using drugs or alcohol to manage your anxiety
- If you’re having thoughts of self-harm or suicide (seek emergency care)
If you’re looking for help with your anxiety, Agape Treatment Center has an anxiety treatment program that may be able to help. If you’re not sure whether Agape Treatment Center is right for you, you can learn more about our admissions process or take a look at our gallery to see what the treatment center is like.