The Cambridge Dictionary classifies anxiety as an uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future.
This is probably a feeling that most people will identify as having experienced at some stage in their lives. Anxiety is often felt by individuals when they are starting something new, such as when they move to a new school or start a new job. It often precedes a job interview, school exam, or driving test and is a completely normal reaction to these events. But for some people, feelings of anxiety can occur very frequently and so much so that it begins to interfere with their everyday lives.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
For those who experience anxiety as a direct response to an event, the symptoms might be as simple as a panicky feeling or a feeling of unease. But for those struggling with ongoing anxiety, symptoms can be both mental and physical and include:
- difficulty sleeping
- trouble concentrating
- chest pains
- loss of appetite
- rapid breathing
- feeling faint.
What is Causing Your Anxiety?
Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the cause of anxiety, while at other times you might be well aware of what is bothering you. It could be that you are experiencing a lot of change and stress in your life, or maybe you are working longer hours because of a deadline that you need to meet.
For some, it could be that they have lost their job and they are stressing out about money and how they are going to pay the bills. Others find the thoughts of going out for social gatherings stressful, even when they are planning to go out with family members or friends. This is known as social anxiety.
A lack of sleep can cause anxiety. But this is a double-edged sword because anxiety can also cause you to sleep less. It is difficult to sleep when you are lying awake at night with a feeling of unease in the pit of your stomach.
Something that many people are unaware of is the fact that certain medications can also induce feelings of anxiety, as can too much caffeine. As well as some prescription medications, there are a number of over-the-counter pills that could be causing you to experience symptoms of anxiety, such as weight loss medications, cough and cold medications, and birth control pills.
How to Deal with Anxiety
If you know the cause of your anxious feelings, it may be easier to resolve the problem. For example, if you are feeling anxious because you are drinking too many cups of coffee each day, then you can either cut back or switch to decaf.
If you are struggling to sleep at night and this is making you anxious, there may be certain things you can try to improve your sleep. Try to switch off from electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime and perhaps get into the habit of reading a book instead. Alternatively, you could try some meditation before bed and play some relaxing music or sleep sounds as you try to drift off. Going to bed at the same time every night and setting your alarm for the same time each morning should also help.
If the cause is not something you can deal with yourself, then you could consider anxiety therapy. The anxiety experts at Psych Blossom say that for some individuals the feelings of anxiety are caused by past experiences, such as childhood trauma, and this can be difficult to deal with alone. In this case, it may be better to speak to a counselor.