Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems one faces when handling stressful situations. According to experts, an anxious state of mind is born out of stressful life events from work, school, financial problems, personal relationships and even unpredictable events like a pandemic.
“Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. Human beings have various systems in the body to control the activities of organs. Like the heart regulates the blood flow to various body regions. The brain regulates the entire body using the nervous system," according to Dr Rohit Verma, Additional Professor, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
In the body, the sympathetic nervous system mediates most of the symptoms of anxiety. "This system gets activated when an individual undergoes stress. Apart from changes in the environment, factors such as genetics and altered brain chemistry can also activate this system, leading to anxiety,” shares Dr Verma.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY
Cognitive symptoms: In this, one has fear of losing control, fear of physical injury or death, fear of "going crazy," fear of negative evaluation by others, frightening thoughts, mental images, or memories, perception of unreality or detachment, poor concentration, confusion, distractible, narrowing of attention, hypervigilance for threat, feeling of impending doom and poor memory.
Physiological symptoms: In this, one faces increased heart rate, palpitations, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pain or pressure, choking sensation, dizziness, light-headedness, sweaty, hot flashes, chills, nausea, upset stomach, diarrhoea, trembling, shaking, tingling or numbness in arms and legs, weakness, unsteadiness, faintness, tense muscles, cold extremities, and dry mouth.
Behavioural symptoms: Feelings of avoidance of threat cues or situations, escape, flight, pursuit of safety, reassurance, restlessness, agitation, pacing, freezing, motionless, and difficulty speaking come under this type of anxiety.
Affective symptoms: In this, one can be nervous, tense, wound up, frightened, fearful, terrified, edgy, jumpy, jittery, and impatient and frustrated too.
Listening to music can lower your stress levels. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
ANXIETY HACKS ONE SHOULD KNOW
Inhale for four seconds, then hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Hold again for four seconds and repeat the process to calm the mind down.
According to Dr Verma and psychologists Ishita Dhyani and Stuti Karna, do a body scan whenever you're anxious. One should focus on various body parts and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from feet to head.
Listening to music that calms you can also help lower your stress levels.
Emotional freedom technique
Experts suggest tapping the side of your hand, forehead, and chin point (7 times each) while simultaneously reciting a positive phrase. For example: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Just write down your thoughts on paper. It helps you to feel at ease.
It is important to listen to sounds. You can identify a thing in the environment, identify a smell, identify the touch of various objects around you, taste something or listen to sounds around you.
Drink lukewarm water in sips.
Physiological symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, palpitations and shortness of breath. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
Dr Verma and psychologists Dhyani and Stuti Karna advise mindfulness training as it helps in anxiety.
Regular physical exercise or yoga works wonders in keeping stress at bay.
Value your time
Spend enough time with your friends and family.
Say no to caffeine
Cut off food items like caffeine and soda, especially if you have anxiety on a daily basis. Avoid alcohol and smoking too.
Have a set daily routine so that your body functions well.
Meet professionals (psychologists and psychiatrists) if nothing else helps.
--- ENDS ---