Do you suffer from anxiety seemingly for no reason at all?
Fear not - you're not alone! Discover some common, as well as unexpected causes, and what to do about it.
Do you suffer from anxiety - often apparently for no reason at all?
Do you worry about anything and everything?
Does 'logic' just not seem to come into it?
Do you constantly have 'the jitters'?
Feeling on edge all of a sudden or even all of the time?
You might even worry that, behind your back, people call you a 'wimp', a 'weakling' or 'strange', but I certainly don't...
... I know you often get up in the morning feeling as if there's a 'brick' in your stomach, dreading the day ahead. You may even be anxious about the anxiety!
Believe it or not - I know that you have the courage of a lion, because getting through an 'ordinary' day often takes an heroic effort. It can feel like you continuously walk on the edge of a cliff staring into the abyss. Yet, you do it, you get through.
Doesn't that take pure courage?
I'm so glad you've landed here to discover what it's all about, and uncover some effective self-help strategies. This series of articles is for you and/or your partner depending on which one of you needs the help, as anxiety can affect all aspects of your life including your relationship.
But let's get to basics first - just in case you're unfamiliar with the subject...
In part 2 you'll find...
- 6 Strategies to set yourself up for success
- Common signs and symptoms of anxiety
- 3 Step plan to ditch your anxiety forever
- How to enlist the help of your partner
Don't let your fears determine what you do, won't do or can't do
What is anxiety and what are the symptoms
What does anxiety mean? Here are some words to describe it: apprehension, fear, dread, trepidation, panic, nervousness.
There are three anxiety disorders: panic -, social- and generalised anxiety disorder. In this article I am mainly aiming to help you deal with the latter - that constant fear in the pit of your stomach, often apparently for no reason at all. Suffering from one of the other forms? Do read on as my self-help interventions will help to settle you, whatever your fears.
What is generalised anxiety
Let's look at it worst form first. This is when a doctor may diagnose it as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). You can decide for yourself how that compares with what you are going through.
Oh... and don't forget to also have a look at my page on the signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown - you'll find the link at the end of this article.
GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) is marked by:
- Excessive worrying
- your loved ones will no doubt have told you that you are worrying far too much. You too are likely to be well aware that your fears are ‘over the top’.
- It is intrusive
- you can’t help it, images of an 'apparent' impending disaster come into your mind against your will and they stop you in your tracks. It appears uncontrollable - it seems whatever you try to do about it, the anxiety always wins.
- It is persistent
- that feeling of ‘something terrible is about to happen’ is with you almost 24/7.
- It is certainly debilitating
- it prevents you taking part in ‘normal’ life. You make choices based on how you feel, not what you would like or not like to do.
- It can be extremely distressing
- no wonder that many people who suffer from anxiety also suffer with depression, and of course it can have a huge influence on your relationship.
- It can feel your anxious 'for nothing' and 'out of nowhere'
So, now you can see what generalised anxiety disorder looks like when the symptoms are at their worst.
GAD is of course label. The label may be helpful in the sense that you - or more likely, your doctor - has a shorthand description for a seemingly diverse set of symptoms.
If you are suffering from these awful, soul-destroying, energy-sapping symptoms of anxiety, you care perhaps less about what it is called. Whether it is generalised or not, classified as a disorder or not. You just want to put an end to it - now!
To find the best self-help strategies we need to look at the causes of anxiety first, as therein lies the answer to what you can do to help yourself.
But, before we get to that...
The positives of being a 'worrier'
Yes, there are positives. You are likely to be the one that spots real danger, where others merely wander without thought.
You'll be the one to offer practical refinements to an impromptu dreamed up plan. There's nothing wrong with dreamers - it's just that they need someone like you to balance the team!
And to be honest - I'd rather have a worrier as a dentist or accountant who think twice before giving some dodgy advice, or pulling a tooth.
Also, all of us have that 'tell-tale', like the canary in the mine - it will be the first to warn us that all is not well. It can be physical or mental, so for example, I'm likely get back-ache. Chances are that for you it'll be those anxious feelings.
Let's get to the bottom of your troubles now.
What causes your anxiety
Before we can begin to help you get over that constant feeling of dread, trepidation and nervousness, we need to know how and when it started, so that you get clear on how best to help yourself.
Have you always suffered?
Did it appear 'out of the blue'?
Did it start after some 'disaster'?
Has it built up over time and you now have chronic anxiety?
Does it come on in waves?
Do you often feel you're anxious for no real reason?
It makes a big difference in whether or not the onset of your anxiety is due to a sudden event or you have always been an 'anxious type', a worrier, someone for whom the glass is always half-empty, and even on a sunny day you can see the storm clouds ahead.
Is it in your genes?
If anxiety appears to run in the family it may be that your genetic inheritance- that biological lottery - has set you up for some vulnerability to anxiety. That does not mean that you can blame your genes for your constantly being in a state of alarm. The story is far more complicated than that.
Not every timid, shy and anxious child develops into a fearful adult with anxiety. Lifestyle factors, parenting and other experiences, as well as your manner of dealing with stressors (stressful events and situations) determine the ultimate outcome.
Your personal development, and here the development of anxiety, depends on...
- how safe (emotionally as well as physically) your environment was when you grew up
- to what extent essential emotional needs were met (see link below)
- whether or not you had parents who were overprotective
- whether or not you had a parent who expressed constant anxiety
- whether or not you were encouraged to become more resilient and deal, rather than avoid, feared situations - at home, with friends and at school
These experiences would have shaped your own reactions and general attitude to stressful situations and life-events.
So, what can you do about it?
You've always been a nervous type - chronically anxious? Regardless of whether that is through a genetic predisposition or any of the above, you just need to follow all the steps below to permanently get over that sense of panic. Unless you need treatment for traumatic reactions, decide to focus only on 'the here and now' from here on.
10 Additional causes of anxiety and what you can do about it
The above causes of anxiety may overlap and/or be exacerbated by: -
- Post-traumatic stress
The solution: Follow the link (see below) to a number of my articles with all the advice you need to help yourself recover from this hugely distressing condition.
- A sudden and severe loss
The solution: Whether it was the loss of a loved one, your job, your status, your financial security, etc - this most of all needs reassurance. It is totally normal for you to worry, walk around with a constant feeling of dread that at any moment there's going to be another bolt out of the blue. Chances are you'll notice yourself getting a little better day by day - depending much on your particular circumstances of course. Regardless, you need not worry that you've lost your mind forever. You are going to be okay! Nevertheless, you'll definitely benefit from following the advice further down.
- A general build-up of stress
The solution: This not only requires you to manage the symptoms, but also to probably make some important decisions and lifestyle changes. It might be hard going to start with, but I know you can do it!
- A general (poor?) state of health
The solution: the latest is - believe it or not - that your bowels may be leaking toxins that can pass the blood-brain barrier and cause 'irritation'. Whether or not your doctor is aware of that (many are not!), you may need their help, and there's much you can do yourself too. Inflammation is also linked with anxiety.
- Nutritional deficiencies
The solution: you guessed it - a better diet. Ditch the fast-food stuff for starters, but there's also a chance that your body isn't absorbing the nutrients you are getting.
Deficiencies can also be caused by the contraceptive pill (Vit B12) and other prescribed medication.
- Blood sugar instability
The solution: stop eating sugar and sugary foods. Dr Kelly Brogan will tell you what else you can do. You won't believe how quickly your symptoms can disappear if this indeed is the problem.
- Medication (acid blockers in particular)
The solution: do your own research first, then discuss with your doctor
- Gluten intolerance
The solution: do your own research and connect with a (medical) practitioner - doctor or nutritionist - well-versed in functional medicine.
- Other allergies or intolerances
The solution: clean up your diet for starters. Get Dr Kelly Brogan's book: a Mind of Your Own.
The solution: lifestyle adjustments
For all of these you'll benefit from, and feel tons better for, following the advice on how to deal with the immediate symptoms that I'm giving you further on.
3 Potential medical causes at the root of anxiety disorders
It is important that your doctor or other health professional rules out any other problems you may have, such as:
- Thyroid disorder
- Heart disease
- Digestive-tract disorders
These conditions can also cause you to suffer from anxiety, and anti-anxiety medication (if you were to be advised to take any at all) would absolutely not be necessary. Indeed, long-term it may make the problem much worse. I'd be delighted therefore, that you want to know how you can help yourself. So for my three-step plan to overcome your anxiety, hop straight over to the second part of this series of articles. Alternatively, should you wish to connect with a licensed counsellor now - read my article on mental health counselling.
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Panic Miracle Review
Signs and Symptoms of a Nervous Breakdown
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
How to overcome PTSD
Depression in Men
How to Help Your Partner Overcome OCD
The Link Between Diet, Depression and Anxiety
Other helpful links
Anxiety and Depression Association of America - Facts & Statistics
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