Anxiety: Calming the Chaos

In the United States alone, around 40 million adults deal with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can result from simple stressors caused by work, home, and social life, or from a traumatic event. Genetics and biology also play a role in the creation of anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders appear to be passed down from parents and immediate family to children, especially regarding panic disorder, and several studies have shown that brain chemistry imbalances are a very likely cause of anxiety disorders.

Symptoms of anxiety can be attributed to many disorders, the five most common being:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The effects of these disorders vary from person to person, which can sometimes make it hard to identify anxiety. They commonly include physical feelings such as upset stomach, racing heartbeat, muscle tension, sweating, and restlessness. Anxiety also causes feelings of dread, racing thoughts, and irritability. The excess worry can affect your daily life, interrupting your sleep, and making it hard to do tasks that seem simple to others. Finding a remedy that helps you to manage your anxiety is key to calming the chaos in your mind and body.

Short-term remedies

Regulate your breathing, quiet your mind, and improve your sleep with these activities:

  • Breathe. Take several deep belly breaths.
  • Move. Pick any activity that raises your heart rate and body temperature for 15-30 minutes.
  • Share. Talk to a person you trust and who knows you well.
  • Meditate. Download a guided meditation app or find a video to follow online for 5 to 15 minutes.
  • Journal. Write down your thoughts and feelings.
  • Disconnect. Make it a habit to take technology breaks throughout your day.

Long-term remedies

It may become necessary to take bigger steps if you find yourself struggling. Both therapy and medication can seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never tried either, but both can transform the way you feel. Therapy is crucial in understanding why your brain works the way it does and for identifying potential triggers. With professional guidance, you can begin to challenge your anxious brain and rewire the way you think. If medication is necessary, it’s important to keep track of how medications make you feel. The goal is to find the one that eases your symptoms, making day-to-day life easier. While the process can seem tedious, the result can be liberating.

Note: Check with your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and health plan to find free or in-network therapists. Consult your primary care physician to discuss medication options.

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