nxiety is a feeling that many of us experience at some point in our lives. It is a feeling of worry or unease about something with an uncertain outcome and can be brought on by various situations or circumstances. You might feel anxious about an upcoming event, a difficult conversation, or even just the general state of the world. Whatever the cause, anxiety can be an overwhelming and uncomfortable experience.

When you’re anxious, it may seem like your mind is racing and you can’t focus on anything else. You might feel your heart rate increasing, your palms getting sweaty, and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. It’s a physical and emotional response that can leave you exhausted, irritable, and unable to cope with daily life.

One way to think about anxiety is as a form of fear. Your brain is perceiving a potential threat, and it’s preparing your body to respond. This is the fight-or-flight response you might have heard about before. Your body is getting ready to either face the threat head-on or run away from it. But sometimes, the threat isn’t physical or immediate, and your body’s response can be more of a hindrance than a support.

Anxiety can manifest in many ways, depending on the person and situation. Some people experience social anxiety, where they feel nervous or uncomfortable in social situations. Others might experience panic attacks which can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience that often feels like a heart attack or loss of control. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic form of anxiety where someone feels anxious most of the time without a specific trigger.

Whatever form it takes, anxiety can be incredibly difficult to deal with. It can make you feel alone and as though no one else understands what you’re going through. But the truth is: anxiety is common. It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience anxiety each year. So if you’re feeling anxious, know that you’re not alone.

Check out the different types of anxiety and how to overcome them…

#1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

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This is a type of anxiety characterized by persistent and excessive worry about various things, including work, school, health, finances, and relationships. People with GAD often find it difficult to control their worrying and may experience physical symptoms such as muscle tension, fatigue, and irritability.

To overcome GAD, it’s important to practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga. These techniques can help reduce muscle tension and promote a sense of calm. It’s also helpful to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs and focus on the present moment, rather than worrying about the future.

#2. Panic disorder

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This form of anxiety is characterized by sudden and unexpected panic attacks. These attacks are intense and often include physical symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and sweating. People with panic disorder may avoid situations that they associate with panic attacks, which can lead to social isolation and other problems.

To overcome this condition, it’s important to learn coping techniques for managing panic attacks, such as deep breathing, grounding techniques, and visualization. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can also be helpful as it can help identify and challenge the negative thoughts and beliefs that trigger panic attacks.

#3. Social Anxiety Disorder

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Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by intense fear and anxiety in social situations. People with this condition may avoid social situations or experience physical symptoms such as blushing, dry mouth, sweating, and trembling when faced with social situations.

To conquer this, it’s important to practice exposure therapy, which involves gradually exposing yourself to the situations that you fear. This can desensitize you to fear and anxiety, and teach you that you can cope with social situations. It’s also helpful to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself and others and to practice relaxation techniques to help manage physical symptoms.

#4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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This type of anxiety is distinguished by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). People with OCD may feel compelled to perform certain rituals or behaviors in response to their obsessions, such as repeatedly washing their hands or checking the stove.

To overcome OCD, it’s necessary to learn cognitive behavioral techniques that can challenge the negative thoughts and beliefs that drive obsessions and compulsions. Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP) is a type of CBT that can be particularly effective for OCD as it involves gradually exposing the person to their feared situations and teaching them coping strategies to manage anxiety.

See general strategies to manage anxiety


In addition to the aforementioned specific techniques for each type of anxiety, there are also general strategies that can help manage anxiety. These include:

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being.
  • Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness reduces the effect of any type of anxiety by promoting awareness and acceptance of the present moment.
  • Self-care: Engaging in activities that you enjoy and taking care of your physical and emotional needs can help to reduce stress and promote resilience.
  • Social support: Connecting with friends, family, or therapists can provide emotional support and help you feel less alone in your struggles with anxiety.

Featured image: Ponomariova_Maria/iStock

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Vivian Bens-Patrick

A creative writer with a voracious appetite for fashion, beauty, lifestyle and culture. As one who's passionate about the advancement of the woman, creating content that inspire smart style and living, and positive lifestyle changes is a calling I take seriously. At Style Rave, we aim to inspire our readers by providing engaging content to not just entertain but to inform and empower you as you ASPIRE to become more stylish, live smarter and be healthier. Follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_ ♥

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A panic attack is an episode of intense fear with an abrupt onset, lasting from several minutes to up to an hour. It has many mental and physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, chest pain and a sense of pending doom. These symptoms may cause significant worry in people as they may mimic signs of medical problems such as heart issues. However, panic attacks can occur when there isn't a real danger or apparent cause.

Panic attacks aren't life-threatening, but they can be frightening for the person experiencing the attack and their loved ones. These attacks can affect your quality of life, especially if you have multiple or unexpected panic attacks.

What are the signs of a panic attack?

A panic attack usually begins suddenly and without warning. Typically, symptoms peak in minutes, and you may feel tired and worn out after it subsides. Panic attacks can cause chest pain and breathing problems that lead some people to seek medical care.

To be diagnosed as a panic attack, the episode must have at least four of these symptoms simultaneously:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fast beating, fluttering or pounding heart
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control or "going crazy"
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed or faint
  • Feelings of choking
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking

Panic attack symptoms may also resemble other psychiatric conditions, such as:

  • Agoraphobia — marked fear or avoidance of two or more places or situations
  • Caffeine or nicotine dependence — high doses of either substance may result in increased anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder — obsessions often leading to ruminations or brooding
  • Phobias — fear of specific objects or situations
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder — involves emotions from previous events affecting a current situation
  • Separation anxiety disorder — fear of separation from attachment figures
  • Social anxiety disorder — fear of social situations

Do I need to go to the emergency room if I have a panic attack?

In most cases, a single panic attack episode does not require emergency medical care. However, it's important to discuss your symptoms with your health care team. They will evaluate you for medical disorders that may contribute to your symptoms, such as cardiac arrhythmia, respiratory diseases, pulmonary emboli, thyroid disorders, adrenal tumors or medication side effects.

What's the difference between a panic attack and panic disorder?

A person with ongoing, unexpected panic attacks who spends time worrying about another panic attack may have a panic disorder. People with panic disorders may be afraid of experiencing more panic attacks and live in a constant state of fear that affects the quality of their lives. Often, they change their behaviors and habits so much that it interferes with daily activities. This could result in the person missing social events, school or work.

People with panic disorder have panic attacks with mental and physical symptoms. The attacks happen without warning and can last several minutes to an hour.

Such people also may:

  • Worry about having panic attacks in the future.
  • Avoid situations that might cause them to have a panic attack.
  • Seek medical care at a clinic or Emergency Department when experiencing a panic attack.

Is there a test for panic disorder?

No. There is no test, but your health care team can determine if you have panic disorder or another condition based on your symptoms. You may have a complete physical exam, blood test or psychological evaluation to discuss your symptoms, fears, stress and family history.

Can panic attacks be treated?

Yes, treatment can reduce the intensity and frequency of panic attacks and panic disorder.

Treatment may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
    Usually, this is the first treatment offered for panic attacks and panic disorder. During cognitive behavioral therapy, you talk with a psychologist or counselor about your experiences and learn how to react to situations differently. This teaches you how to cope better with your feelings and overcome fears of situations you may have avoided because of panic attacks. In some cases, it is possible to participate in cognitive behavioral therapy virtually, such as meeting with a therapist online or through a video call, rather than in person.
  • Medications
    Medications can help reduce symptoms associated with panic attacks and depression. There are many options, and if one medication doesn't work for you, your health care team may switch you to a different medication. All medications have a risk of side effects, so talk with your health care team about the best choice for your situation.

You don't need to suffer alone or avoid aspects of life because of panic attacks. Talk with your health care team about your symptoms and about treatment options that can make a difference.

Brian Hesler, M.D., is a psychiatrist in Psychiatry & Psychology in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

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When your body responds to your stress levels in a way that is concerning, you could be suffering from either a panic attack or an anxiety attack. However, although both factors respond to certain stressors and can occur unexpectedly and abruptly, they are very much different from each other. Both Panic attacks and Anxiety attacks indicate an underlying health condition.

People often get confused between an Anxiety attack and a Panic attack, it is because the symptoms are quite similar. But, it is important to understand your disease in order to find a cure. Read further to understand the difference between the two.

What is Anxiety Attack?

An anxiety attack could be of various types and features a number of common psychiatric disorders. The conditions include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • specific phobia

Anxiety is usually related to the effect of a stressful situation, experience, or event. However, unlike a panic attack, an anxiety attack builds up gradually. Basic symptoms of anxiety include worry, stress, and fear.

It is to be noted that, the symptoms of “anxiety attack” can differ from person to person. The lack of diagnostic recognition of anxiety attacks means that the signs and symptoms are open to interpretation.

What is Panic Attack?

Panic attacks can occur unexpectedly and abruptly, and involve intense and often overwhelming fear. It can occur with or without a trigger. The basic physical symptoms of a panic attack are racing heartbeats, shortness of breath, or nausea.

Unexpected panic attacks occur without an obvious cause, whereas, Expected panic attacks are cued by external stressors, like phobias.

Panic attacks can happen to anyone, but having them more frequently can be a sign of panic disorder.

Difference between symptoms of Panic attack and Anxiety attack

Panic and anxiety may feel similar as they both share a lot of emotional and physical symptoms. It is possible for a person to experience both attacks at the same time.

Anxiety attacks usually take place while worrying about a potentially stressful situation, like a performance you need to conduct in front of a huge crowd in the near future. The anxiety keeps building up until the time before your big event and eventually turns into a panic attack.

A panic attack or anxiety attack can both cause physical and emotional symptoms, including:

  • apprehension and worry
  • distress
  • fear of dying or losing control
  • a sense of detachment from the world (derealization) or oneself (depersonalization)
  • heart palpitations or an accelerated heart rate
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the throat or feeling like you’re choking
  • dry mouth
  • sweating
  • chills or hot flashes
  • trembling or shaking
  • numbness or tingling (paresthesia)
  • nausea, abdominal pain, or upset stomach
  • headache
  • feeling faint or dizzy

It can be difficult to know whether what you’re experiencing is anxiety or a panic attack. In this case, keep the following in mind;

The cause:

Anxiety is triggered by something stressful or threatening, and it builds up gradually. Meanwhile, panic attacks are not cued by stressors; they often occur out of the blue.

The level of distress:

Anxiety attacks can be mild, moderate, or severe. In other words, anxiety could already be building up at a slow pace in the back of your mind as you go about your day-to-day activities. Whereas, panic attacks mostly involve severe, disruptive symptoms.


During a panic attack, the body’s autonomous fight-or-flight response takes over. The brain tries to save the body by looking at the problems on the surface even though the trouble is within it. On the other hand, in anxiety, the physical symptoms are even more intense. For, example, if you are feeling like your heart is stopping, it will stop if your mind is unable to discover the cause in time.

Speed of onset:

While anxiety can build gradually, panic attacks usually come on abruptly.


While anxiety is triggered by various worries and fears, panic attacks open gates for such factors or even another attack. It will leave an effect on your behaviour, leading you to avoid places or situations where you think you might be at risk of a panic attack.

Also Read: 8 Habits That Help Become Mentally Strong

Causes of Panic attacks and Anxiety attacks

Unexpected panic attacks have no clear external triggers. Expected panic attacks and anxiety can be triggered by similar things. Some common triggers include:

  • a stressful job
  • driving
  • social situations
  • phobias, like agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces), claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), and acrophobia (fear of heights)
  • reminders or memories of traumatic experiences
  • chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, or asthma
  • chronic pain
  • withdrawal from drugs or alcohol
  • caffeine
  • medication and supplements
  • thyroid problems


It is important to speak with a doctor in case of such uneasy symptoms and get diagnosed in order to get prescribed treatment. Here are some treatments a doctor may discuss with you:

Counseling and psychotherapy

Therapies for anxiety and panic disorders can help overcome the fear and lead a healthier life. It can involve, the following, often in combination.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):

In this therapy, a counselor will help you develop strategies for managing triggers when they arise. It can help you see things that worry you from a different perspective.

Cognitive therapy:

This therapy will help you pinpoint the problem or fear and reframe, and neutralize the unhelpful thoughts that often underlie an anxiety disorder.

Exposure therapy:

This therapy involves controlling exposure to situations that trigger fear and anxiety, gradually leading to learning to confront those fears and overcoming them.

Relaxation therapy:

This form of treatment includes breathing exercises, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, biofeedback, and autogenic training.

What you can do

In case of sudden seizures, it may not always be possible to visit a doctor. In such situations, you can try some home remedies to ease your condition.

If you feel an anxiety or panic attack coming on, try the following:

  • Take slow and deep breaths: Focus your attention on each inhale and exhale and forget everything else.
  • Recognize and accept what you are experiencing: If you have already experienced an anxiety or panic attack before, remind yourself that the symptoms will pass and you’ll be alright.
  • Practice mindfulness: It is a technique that can help you ground your thoughts in the present. In this, you actively observe your thoughts and sensations without reacting to them.
  • Use relaxation techniques: Aromatherapy, and muscle relaxation may help. Take a bath, use lavender oil, or burn a candle with this scent as it has relaxing effects. You can also tune in to some relaxing music to calm your nerves.

Also Read: Traveling And Health: New Study Finds That Traveling Can Make You Healthier, Know More

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Our body is truly amazing, with two vital organs—the heart and the brain—working together seamlessly to keep us alive and healthy. The heart acts as a “pump,” tirelessly circulating blood through the vascular system, providing oxygen and nutrients to the brain, lungs, and other organs to function properly. Meanwhile, the brain serves as the command center, communicating with the body through the nervous system.

The communication between the heart and brain is a dynamic, ongoing, two-way dialogue, with each organ continuously influencing the other’s function. Recent scientific research has revealed the complex interactions between these two organs, highlighting that the heart can also play a role in our behavioral or physiological functioning.

One significant finding is that variations in heart rhythm may contribute to developing or exacerbating anxiety, one of the most common mental health conditions.

Increased Heart Rate Can Trigger Anxiety

A recent study by a group of neuroscientists from Stanford University investigated the relationship between increased heart rate and anxiety behaviors in a particular set of genetically modified mice.

The researchers used light to activate specific cells in the heart of these mice to test the hypothesis that an increase in heart rate can trigger anxiety.

Led by Dr. Karl Deisseroth, a professor of bioengineering and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford, the researchers employed a novel, non-invasive optical pacemaker to control electrical activity in the hearts of the mice. When the pacemaker detects light, it activates signaling pathways in light-sensitive cells, eventually transmitting information to the brain that light has been detected.

The study revealed that light stimulation from the optical pacemaker activated specific proteins in the hearts of mice, leading to increased electrical signaling in the heart cells and a subsequent increase in heart rate. The mice became more anxious as their hearts beat faster, and they showed less willingness to explore open areas or look for water.

This is clear evidence, at least in mice, that increasing the heart rate can cause anxiety, suggesting that, alongside the brain, the heart may play a role in the development of emotional states.

How Does Heart Rate Variability Influence Anxiety?

The study revealed that activity in the insula—a region of the brain involved in processing emotions and bodily sensations—increased when the heart rate increased.

The researchers also found that inhibiting the insula during optical pacing reduced anxiety behaviors in mice. These results suggest that the insula plays a crucial role in transmitting information about heart rate to the brain, thereby influencing anxiety levels.

Overall, this groundbreaking study provides important insights into how specific brain structures, such as the insula, mediate anxiety-related behaviors in response to heart rate changes.

To put it another way, understanding the origin of mood or emotional states requires considering the mutual involvement of the brain and the heart.

Studies have shown that the heart communicates with the brain in four main ways: through nerve impulses, hormones, pressure waves, and electromagnetic field interactions. This communication is significant and can affect brain activity and may induce anxiety.

In clinical practice, people with cardiovascular disease often experience anxiety and related disorders, which can have a negative impact on their heart health. Anxiety has been associated with an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes and may contribute to developing and worsening heart disease.

The relationship between anxiety disorders and cardiovascular disease can be attributed to multiple factors, including autonomic dysfunction, inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and changes in platelet aggregation.

Heart-to-Brain Communication

The brain serves as the central control system for the entire body, with numerous pathways for signals to travel from the brain to other parts of the body, including the heart.

Simply put, the body constantly sends messages to the brain, much like a series of text messages or phone calls. However, instead of using a phone or computer, the body uses a complex network of nerves and feedback loops to communicate with the brain.

These nerves act as tiny messengers, collecting information about our internal and external environment, including what we see, smell, touch, and taste. Once this information reaches the brain, it’s processed and combined with other sensory stimuli and memories, resulting in our perception of the world. This means that the colors we see, the scents we smell, and the flavors we taste are all products of our body’s ongoing conversation with the brain.

How Does the Heart-Brain Axis Regulate Anxiety?

The “heart-brain axis” refers to the two-way communication and interaction between the heart and the brain. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it may sound baffling, but it’s just another way of emphasizing the interdependence of heart and brain functions.

The heart is more than just a pump; it has its own internal nervous system that can perceive and respond to its environment independently of the brain. This axis has been shown to play a crucial role in regulating a wide range of physiological and psychological processes, including mood and anxiety.

Recent scientific research has discovered that the heart sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart, highlighting the intricate nature of their communication, which appears to be more complex than initially believed.

Furthermore, it has been discovered that the intrinsic cardiac nervous system can function independently of the central neuronal command. This finding adds to our understanding of the complexity of the heart’s function and its relationship to the brain.

Anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system, which can cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. This activation can sometimes lead to changes in the heart’s electrical activity, potentially resulting in irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias.

The heart-brain axis is critical in regulating this anxiety response. According to research, when the heart functions properly, it sends signals to the brain that reduce anxiety and stress. This is accomplished by releasing anti-anxiety hormones, such as oxytocin and vasopressin.

Anxiety is widely acknowledged as a very complex condition, influenced by many factors that vary significantly from one person to another. The brain-heart axis is just one system involved in the body’s response to stress.

When the heart does not function properly, as in the case of heart disease, it may contribute to an imbalance in the heart-brain axis, increasing the risk of anxiety and other mental health disorders.

In short, the heart-brain axis plays a crucial role in regulating anxiety. When the heart is unhealthy, there may be an increased risk of anxiety and other mental health conditions. Conversely, a healthy heart reduces anxiety and stress.

Many organs in our body communicate with our brain through various “axes,” including the stomach-brain axis. Scientists refer to the brain’s constant perception of signals from within the body, including those from the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems, as interoception. Interoception is a vital part of our subconscious.

Can the Subconscious Mind Influence Anxiety?

The subconscious is a psychological term that refers to mental processes that occur below the level of awareness. These processes can include emotions and thoughts. They are the organism’s automatic, or subconscious, response to external stimuli.

For example, when you first start driving, you are so nervous that you keep your eyes fixed on the road. But now you’re so good at driving that it comes as second nature, and when an emergency arises, you react instinctively. Who has control over this instinct? It’s the subconscious mind at work. So, how does anxiety affect the subconscious mind?

Some people, for example, walk slowly, have a hunchback, or have asymmetrical facial expressions, such as a crooked mouth or high and low shoulders. An ancient Chinese proverb is “One’s appearance is formed through his thoughts,” referring to the fact that the subconscious mind influences a person’s appearance and behavior. A chronically anxious person, for example, may have an unattractive face.

A 2022 Dutch study suggested that a person’s facial expression can reveal their emotional state, including emotions such as enthusiasm, playfulness, and confidence. This information can be valuable when, for example, assessing job candidates, as it can provide insight into their potential fit for a particular role.

Diagnosis and Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are diagnosed based on specific criteria, as described in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It defines anxiety as excessive worry and apprehensive expectations that occur on more days than not for at least six months and involves several events or activities, such as work or school performance.

According to the DSM, to meet the diagnostic criteria for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a person must experience excessive anxiety and worry for at least six months, along with three or more of the following symptoms:

  • restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
  • easily fatigued
  • difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • sleep disturbance, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless and unsatisfying sleep

Many of the above symptoms of anxiety are contributed by subconscious feelings.

How to Alleviate Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder, affecting almost 30 percent of adults at some point in their lives. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable, and many effective treatments are available. Treatment can help most people lead productive lives. The Stanford University study discovered how a racing heart could lead to anxious behavior and provided insights into current strategies for treating anxiety.

Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback

Heart rate variability biofeedback is a popular technique that provides real-time feedback on heart rate and respiration changes while instructing people to breathe in a controlled manner. It has shown promise as an intervention tool for anxiety and depression.

In a study published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience, researchers found that using HRV-biofeedback can increase heart rate variability by 18 percent and decrease heart rate by 5.2 beats per minute. This leads to changes in a broad functional network of brain regions, including the amygdala, which controls emotions, and the insula.

Other potential mechanisms for the effectiveness of HRV-biofeedback have been proposed, including restoring the inner balance of our autonomic nervous system (the part that controls automatic functions) and reducing inflammation.

Mind-Body Practices

Mind-body practices, including yoga, tai chi, mindfulness meditation, and relaxation techniques, have been increasingly studied for their potential to alleviate anxiety symptoms.

The current body of research suggests that these practices may be effective as a treatment for anxiety, either as stand-alone interventions or in combination with conventional therapies such as medication and psychotherapy.

  • Studies have shown that yoga can reduce anxiety symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Tai chi has been found to positively affect anxiety symptoms, including reduced levels of stress hormones and improved mood.
  • Mindfulness meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and may be particularly effective for individuals with anxiety disorders.
  • Relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises, have also been effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, including panic disorder, anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and efficacy of mind-body practices for anxiety treatment, the current evidence suggests that these practices may be helpful tools in managing symptoms of anxiety and improving overall well-being.

However, it is important to note that mind-body practices should not be used as a substitute for conventional treatments but rather as a complementary approach to be used in conjunction with evidence-based treatments.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.

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There’s no way around it: Stress is a fact of life. Between your kids, work, and relationships, it can seem like there’s always something new to worry about. And while altogether eliminating anxiety might be wishful thinking, having a plan in place to deal with those daily stressors can at least stop them from throwing your whole day off course. To aid your quest for calm, we’ve enlisted four wellness experts for this guide to relaxing your nerves in 10 common angst-producing situations.

1) You have such a busy day ahead that you’re feeling underwater before it even begins.

    The Calming Strategy: “When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it becomes difficult to take things one step at a time,” says Anne Weisman, Ph.D., director of well-being and integrative medicine at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. One way to center yourself is to acknowledge and welcome your allotted tasks. “Pretend that ‘the overwhelm’ is in a chair across from you, and ask it what it’s doing there,” Weisman recommends. Grab a piece of paper and write down what your anxiety is telling you, and then continue asking questions and writing answers until it has tired itself out.

    Now read back what you’ve written. With your responsibilities listed out on the page, instead of piled up in your head, you have a checklist of duties to tackle one by one. Finally, to avoid getting sidetracked, try an adaptogen like Arete Adaptogens Shroomy Mushroom Energy Root Strength Powder, which is designed to support your energy and keep you focused, with less anxiety-inducing caffeine than coffee.

    2) You’re so nervous about a work presentation that your stomach is doing backflips.

    The Calming Strategy: As counterintuitive as this sounds, nerves before a presentation aren’t inherently bad—too little excitement can make you lethargic and uninspiring. But to ensure your confidence remains high, start preparing several weeks ahead by visualizing what the task will be like, picturing the room and the other participants. If you feel anxiety flaring up, stop and take a deep breath before trying again. “Mentally rehearsing this way allows your brain to rewire itself to associate presenting with relaxation, rather than anxiety,” says Craig Kain, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist in Long Beach, California.

    An hour before you present, give yourself time to enjoy your surroundings. Listen to music, talk to a loved one, or sip a glass of water with Bach Rescue Remedy, a calming flower essence. Then, immediately beforehand, do four rounds of box breathing: Inhale slowly while counting to four, hold your breath while counting to four, and then exhale while counting to four.

    young businesswoman looking stressed out in an office

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    3) You have a party to attend, but you get jumpy around a lot of people.

    The Calming Strategy: Social anxiety before big gatherings is far from uncommon, especially since the pandemic. To calm your nerves, “do what’s called soft-belly breathing before the event, or in a bathroom at the event,” Weisman says. Sit comfortably, and either close your eyes or relax your gaze. Breathe in through your nose and think “soft,” then exhale through your mouth and think “belly.” “This exercise naturally calms the nervous system and helps you return your awareness to the present moment,” she says. Once you’re calmer, add visualization. Who’s with you at the party? What are you wearing? Is there food? What does it look and smell like? Manifest the party you want to be at.

    4) You need to have a difficult conversation with a friend, and you can’t stop thinking about all the different ways it could go wrong.

    The Calming Strategy: Visualizing potential outcomes when you’re anticipating an event is normal. “It’s the mark of an intelligent person,” says Shaun S. Nanavati, Ph.D., cofounder and chief science officer of the anxiety app AQ. Yet anxiety can lead to “catastrophizing,” where you start envisioning the worst possible outcome. To prevent this, visualize a safe space in which the conversation can take place. “Engage your senses internally, so that you notice the time of day and the light, sensations, and sounds,” Nanavati says. Then detach yourself from the image in your mind, so you’re seeing it in the third person, like a film director watching two people talking. Ask yourself how you would direct your character in a way that creates a positive mood for the scene.

    5) You pick up your phone to check something. Before you know it, you’re doom-scrolling through your social media feeds, and becoming ever more existentially fearful.

    The Calming Strategy: While social media’s addictive nature can easily hijack your attention, you can break this habit—and even feel better about the occasional relapse. First, turn off your phone for 15 minutes to reset your mind. Then, to prevent yourself from returning to such a heightened state of dependence on your screen, schedule specific times during the day for social media breaks. If possible, go for a walk in nature without your phone to reconnect with the real world around you. Most important, don’t blame yourself for being attached to your phone. It’s something everyone is dealing with, and can only be addressed by finding positive alternatives.

    man in bed on phone

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    6) Your parents are struggling with their health, your kids are having issues at school, and on top of it all, your dog is sick. You’re being pulled in every direction.

    The Calming Strategy: Remember how you’re always told on airplanes to place an oxygen mask on your own face before helping others in an emergency? The same rule applies in daily life. “If you’re putting everybody else first and not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others,” says Lienna Wilson, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist in Princeton, New Jersey. So plan time for self-care habits like meditating, exercising, or getting together with a friend. Then, and only then, take stock of what you need to do for others.

    Also, while you can’t predict life’s twists and turns, you can organize them. Keeping a calendar allows you to proactively spread out your caretaking responsibilities: It’s better to take care of one person every other day than three people in one day. And if you’re still having trouble de-escalating, consider snacking on Olly Goodbye Stress gummies, which contain a blend of ingredients meant to mellow you out.

    7) You had a fight with somebody close to you. You keep replaying the argument and stressing about what it means for your relationship.

    The Calming Strategy: “Your emotions are heightened after a fight, which can lead to rumination,” Wilson says. To bring them back down, practice the STOP technique: Stop and pause before making any decisions, no matter how sure you feel. Take a step back to untangle yourself from any complicated fallout from the fight. Observe the situation from an objective perspective, and consider all the possible outcomes. Finally, proceed, with the knowledge that you have assessed the situation from multiple angles and are committed to acting rationally instead of emotionally.

    8) You just finished an intense evening workout, and now you’re so keyed up that you can’t wind down.

    The Calming Strategy: Completing a workout is a solid achievement, but so is getting the rest you need afterward. If you frequently find yourself unable to relax after physical activity, consider moving your workout to an earlier time of day or dialing down the intensity. If your schedule only allows you to train at night, “reserve several minutes for gentle stretching or calming yoga after your workout to help your body and mind relax,” Kain says.

    9) It’s time for bed, but your brain is focused on your worries, making it hard to sleep.

    The Calming Strategy: Try progressive muscle relaxation, in which you tense up and relax parts of your body, starting with your feet and moving up to your head. Or give diaphragmatic breathing a shot. “It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to elicit a relaxation response,” Kain says. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Inhale through your nose until you feel your stomach expand—this lets you know that you’re breathing into your diaphragm. Then slowly exhale through your mouth and feel your stomach contract. Another solid option is incorporating a supplement with ingredients meant to relax into your nighttime routine, like Neuriva Relax & Sleep with Shoden Ashwagandha & L-Theanine.

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    10) You wake up at 3 a.m. and can’t stop ruminating on the future.

    The Calming Strategy: Rumination is your brain’s way of trying to find an answer. “It’s in part a defense mechanism, where the limbic system and brain stem act to anticipate future threats and develop protective solutions,” says Danielle Kelvas, M.D., chief medical advisor to Sleepline, a website that provides resources for improving sleep. But the process can also cause distress and insomnia, which can trigger panic attacks and worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. To settle yourself down, Kelvas recommends practicing mindfulness meditation every night before bed. Over time, you’ll be able to see these sorts of thoughts coming from a distance, and understand that your brain is simply trying to protect you.

    Dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet. They are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases. Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, be careful about giving supplements to a child, unless recommended by their healthcare provider.

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It's no secret that feelings of stress and anxiety can keep us up at night. But instead of tossing and turning (and counting down the hours until our alarm goes off), trying solutions that quieten the mind and bring you into a more relaxed state could help you nod off.

In aid of Stress Awareness Month, Bensons for Beds’ resident sleep expert, Dr Sophie Bostock, has shared her best practices on how to get a better night’s sleep if you're feeling stressed and anxious.

Dr Bostock says: “Many of us struggle with sleep when we’re experiencing an acutely stressful situation. This might be work stress, a tricky relationship, a bereavement or a significant life event.

"Under stress, people often describe not being able to switch off their racing minds. You may find that you fall asleep ok, but then wake up in the early hours of the morning, wide awake.

"The good news is that stress doesn’t have to keep you up at night. Some people seem to sleep soundly, no matter what is going on in their lives. Sleep reactivity is the name given to describe the extent to which stress disrupts sleep, a difficulty falling or staying asleep. Genetics influence our sleep reactivity, the nature of the stress and life experiences will all play a role, but we can learn strategies to decrease our vulnerability to stress at night.”

Keep reading to learn more about stress and anxiety, as well as three key techniques for helping you get to sleep...

What is stress?

In short, the term ‘stress’ refers to anything which provokes our ‘fight or flight’ response. It's an age-old response that helped our ancestors deal with danger.

Dr Bostock explains: "When the brain detects a threat, the body releases adrenaline, which speeds up the heartbeat, increases blood pressure and triggers the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol stimulates the release of glucose into the bloodstream to fuel the body for action.

"Stress also influences the way we think and feel. We narrow our attention towards the threat; it takes on disproportionate importance, and it’s harder to step back and see the big picture.

"The emotional centres of the brain become more sensitive to negative events when we’re already feeling stressed. We also tend to become more anxious, irritable and prone to low moods.”

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Stress can feel overwhelming.

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What causes stress?

Unlike our ancestors, most of the stress we experience nowadays is not caused by anything physical, but rather psychological.

"Psychological stressors come in many forms," adds Dr Bostock. "It’s not just about threats to our safety, or our loved ones’ safety; any situation which is new, unpredictable, or makes us feel out of control, or overwhelmed, can trigger a stress response.

"Discrimination or fear of exclusion or a loss of status (such as financial pressures) can be another stressor. The big problem with many psychological stressors is that there may be no clear end to them. If a predator runs away, you can relax, but if you’re worried about money, or health problems, the stress can last for months at a time.”

What are the signs of stress?

Our reaction to stress is individual and depends on whether it’s acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Acute stress is characterised by the ‘fight or flight’ stress response. You might feel this way before public speaking or if you narrowly avoid an accident.

Signs of acute stress include:

  • Sweating
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Tense muscles
  • Stomach upset, indigestion or heartburn
  • Altered appetite
  • Rapid breathing
  • Narrowing of attention and focus towards the threat

"When you are stressed for a long time, some of these physical signs are less obvious, and you might not consciously ‘feel’ stressed," adds Dr Bostock. "It could be that the brain and body have simply learned a pattern of increased arousal (so-called ‘hyperarousal’) because you’ve been under stress for so long."

Signs and symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Changes to the menstrual cycle
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Rashes or itchy skin
  • Infections or illness
  • Changes in mood - greater impatience, irritability, anxiety or depression
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • A feeling of being overwhelmed
  • A worsening of physical or mental health conditions
  • Difficulty sleeping, either falling asleep or waking up during the night.
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Stress has physical as well as mental symptoms.

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How is stress related to anxiety?

“Anxiety is the name given to the way we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid. We feel anxious about things that are about to happen, or that we think could happen in the future. Anxiety can be a natural emotional response to a stressful situation," explains Dr Bostock.

"While anxiety is a natural way to respond when we are genuinely under threat, it can also be a problem if anxiety is excessive and interferes with the way we live our lives.

"Anxiety disorders are a family of mental health disorders which are characterised by excessive and persistent worry. Examples include generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (related to social situations), phobias and panic disorders. People suffering from anxiety disorders will typically perceive life to be more stressful because their brains are in a constant state of high alert.

"Chronic exposure to stress also makes people more prone to emotional disorders, including anxiety disorders, and depression. It’s as if we lose some of our emotional elasticity under stress, and it’s easier to become stuck in patterns of anxious thinking, or low mood.”

Why do stress and anxiety affect sleep?

It mainly comes down to a hormone called cortisol, something we produce more of when we're stressed. Cortisol is useful for fuelling action, however at bedtime, it prevents us from relaxing and calming down.

Therefore, stress keeps your brain and body more alert than normal. It takes us longer to fall asleep, and because sleep is lighter, we’re more likely to be woken by noise, movement or changes in temperature.

However, Dr Bostock adds that it's not only cortisol affecting our sleep: "Stress can also cause us to change behaviour in ways that are unhelpful for sleep, such as doing less exercise, relying on alcohol to relax, working late or taking long naps to recover.”

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3 ways to ease stress for a good night’s sleep

Sometimes it’s possible to tackle stress by resolving the source of stress - for example, speaking to your manager about managing your workload or finding additional help with caring responsibilities.

However, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid the source of stress, for example, if you’re struggling financially or have been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition.

Dr Bostock says: "What you can do, is to learn tools to switch off the cortisol tap, and the associated hyperarousal, to promote a more restful night’s sleep.

"To flip the switch from stress to relaxation, we have to convince the brain that we are safe, and in control. To do this, we can either focus on relaxing physically or mentally. Our minds and bodies are interconnected, so relaxing our muscles will still relax our minds, and vice versa.

"Relaxation is a skill - the more often you practise, the more quickly and deeply you will be able to relax. It’s a good idea to practise for a few minutes during the day, as well as part of your wind down before bed.”

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Technique 1: Box Breathing

When we feel we're in danger, our breathing tends to get faster as we prepare to fight or flee from a threat. Occasionally, it causes us to freeze up entirely. Because of this, it's important to find a way to calm our breath.

"Maintaining a slow, steady breathing rate helps to signal to the brain that we’re not under threat, and helps to drive the relaxation response," explains Dr Bostock. "There are many different breathing techniques you can try, and it’s worth experimenting with a few different exercises until you find an approach which has a calming effect on you."

  1. To try box breathing, breathe in for a count of 4, hold that breath for a count of 4, breathe all the way out for a count of 4, and hold for a count of 4.
  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes and aim to maintain this pattern. Over time you can build up to 20 minutes or more.

Dr Bostock adds: "If you’re lying down it can be helpful to keep one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Focus on making your belly rise and fall, rather than your chest. This means you are more likely to be using your diaphragm to pull the air all the way, deep into your lungs, which provokes the relaxation response.”

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Getting in control of your breathing will help you feel less anxious.

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Technique 2: Creating positive imagery in our mind

If you need something which takes a little more of your mental focus, Dr Bostock recommends trying some positive imagery.

  1. Close your eyes and picture an event or place that makes you feel relaxed. This might be a beautiful beach, mountain, lake, forest, or imaginary place.
  2. Imagine that you’re the movie director of your perfect scene. Ask yourself: what you can see, what you can feel, what you can smell, and what you can touch?

You could picture yourself walking through every room in your perfect home, or imagine yourself on your favourite beach, watching the waves at sunset.

Dr Bostock adds: "You’re not trying to sleep - that’s important - you’re just going to enjoy visualising a happy place where you can feel calm and comfortable. The more often you can return to this safe place in your mind, the more easily you’ll be able to relax and unwind, and eventually, it could help you to fall asleep.”

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You could picture yourself walking through every room in your perfect home.

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Technique 3: Putting the day to rest

If you’re plagued by a busy mind, one strategy Dr Bostock recommends is the habit of writing down some of your inner dialogue in advance of bedtime. Put aside 10-20 minutes for this exercise, perhaps at the end of the workday, or after dinner. Ideally, avoid doing this right before bed as this exercise will get you thinking.

  1. Sit down somewhere you won’t be disturbed and grab a notebook.
  2. Write a few bullet points about what has happened today. What went well? How did that make you feel? Has anything troubled you? Why was it difficult? What could you do differently next time?
  3. When you’ve finished reflecting on the day, think about what’s coming up tomorrow. What are you looking forward to, and why? What’s your number one priority?

"The aim is to stop unnecessary thoughts whirring around your head. If the same thoughts pop into your head when you’ve switched out the light, you can tell yourself that they are on the page, and you don’t need to think about them any more," advises Dr Bostock. "If any urgent thoughts do come up in bed, keep your notebook and a pencil by your bed so that you can write them down, and then let them go.”

Where can I find help when I’m stressed?

“We all encounter stressful situations sometimes," says Dr Bostock. "It is almost always easier to cope with stress when you discuss your feelings with a supportive friend, partner or family member. Sharing your feelings can stop them from building up under the surface, and make them easier to cope with."

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Reaching out to a friend or family member is the best place to start if you’re feeling stressed.

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Dr Bostock adds: "While ‘stress’ is not a clinical disorder, if you’ve been struggling to cope with stress for some time, or if this seems to be getting worse, speak to your GP about it. They can discuss whether you have a mental health disorder which warrants treatment, or recommend some self-care steps to promote well-being. They may also suggest social prescribing, where you are referred to a supportive community group.

"Regular exercise and relaxation techniques can be very helpful for stress."

For more information about stress and how to manage it, take a look at the information provided by the mental health charity, Mind.

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Anxiety disorder menopause woman, stressful depressed emotional person with mental health illness, headache and migraine sitting feeling bad sadly with back against wall on the floor in domestic homeAnxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Sometimes people get nervous or uncomfortable.

But if it happens intensely and often, you could have an anxiety disorder. Sometimes an anxiety disorder can express itself as worry, rumination, or big and small issues. Other times, it can be focused on a specific fear or separation from loved ones.

About 40 million American adults have one or more types of anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). There are several different types, and some are more common than others.

Here are some of the most common types of anxiety disorder:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent feelings of stress or anxiousness that can interfere with daily life over the course of months and years.

It can cause restlessness, irritability, trouble concentrating, and difficulty controlling worries. Physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, and trouble sleeping can also occur and can be brought on by worries about everyday life.

Only about 43 percent of people with this condition are getting treatment.

Social Anxiety Disorder: Intense fear about social situations is called social anxiety disorder. It can cause people to avoid taking part in events or social gatherings. It can be driven by intense irrational worries of humiliation.

It can lead to avoidance, blushing, sweating, pounding heart, stomach aches, difficulty making eye contact, rigid body posture, or feelings of self-consciousness.
Separation Anxiety Disorder: Comes from an intense fear of being separated from those you love or worrying that they will be harmed. Symptoms can include nightmares.

Panic Disorder: Panic disorders can include panic attacks, but not everybody who has a panic attack has a panic disorder. Symptoms can include a racing or pounding heart, chest pain, trembling, a feeling of impending doom, tingling, or sweating.

Some may experience a sensation that they are dying from shortness of breath or choking.

These feelings can happen multiple times during the day or only a few times per year.

Phobias: Phobias are an intense fear of things that are far out of proportion with their actual danger. Some common phobias include flying, needles, insects, animals, or blood. They can lead people to avoid certain situations.

It is worth talking to a professional about treatment if you feel you are experiencing a disorder instead of occasional anxiety or discomfort.

A variety of treatment methods exist, including a form of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This form can help you develop new ways of thinking about things.

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The American Diabetes Association shares that two out of three people living with diabetes have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, and complications including kidney disease and eye problems. It’s also called the “silent killer” because most of the time, high blood pressure doesn’t cause any obvious symptoms, says the American Heart Association. Many people don’t even know that their blood pressure is high until it’s diagnosed.

How high blood pressure is managed

If you have high blood pressure, there’s a good chance that you take medication to help you get and keep your blood pressure at a safe level. Recently, the American Diabetes Association lowered the blood pressure goal for people with diabetes to less than 130/80. (Ask your health care provider about your own blood pressure goal, since yours may be different).

To get cutting-edge diabetes news, strategies for blood glucose management, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletters!

Besides medication, you may be advised to cut back on your sodium (salt) intake, eat more fruits and vegetables, lose weight, and/or increase your level of physical activity. All these behaviors are important to get you to your blood pressure goal.

Consider other factors

Other habits or behaviors in your life may also be causing your blood pressure to be high. Let’s take a look!

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea happens when your upper airway becomes blocked, stopping your breathing while you sleep. This prevents you from getting enough oxygen. Airway blockages cause your heart to work harder to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body; when your heart has to work harder, your blood pressure increases.

  • If you have a partner who has told you that you snore, gasp for air during sleep, or have breathing that starts and stops during sleep, or if you notice that you are sleepy during the day, let your provider know. You may need a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes can help with sleep apnea, and you may need to use a breathing device called a CPAP machine.

Too much added sugar

Sugar lurks in many foods, including candy, baked goods, ice cream, and sugary drinks. Sugar is even found in foods that don’t taste very sweet, such as pasta sauce, salad dressing, and crackers. How does sugar boost blood pressure? Experts believe that high sugar foods and foods that contain refined carbs can contribute to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is linked with high blood pressure.

  • Take stock of hidden sources of sugar in your foods and drinks. Save sweet treats for special occasions and check the Nutrition Facts Label for grams of added sugars (you’ll see this under the Total Carbohydrate section). The lower the added sugars, the better.


We all have times when we might feel lonely. But persistent loneliness can lead to some serious health problems, including a higher risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death. Another side effect of loneliness is high blood pressure, especially among women.

  • Having a strong network of family and friends helps your health in so many ways. If you are feeling isolated, reach out to your network. If you don’t have many friends or family, look for other ways to get connected with others, such as joining a group or club, volunteering, or adopting a pet. Talking with a therapist might be in order if you are also struggling with depression or social anxiety.

Herbal supplements

Many people use herbal supplements for various reasons. If you do, keep in mind that “natural” products aren’t necessarily safe or without side effects. And some supplements can interact with blood pressure medication, as well. Herbal supplements that can affect your blood pressure include ginseng, guarana, licorice, ma huang (ephedra), and St. John’s wort.

  • Always let your provider know about any dietary supplements that you take or are thinking of taking. You can also run your supplements by your local pharmacist to find out if they are safe and if they might interact with any of your medications.

Thyroid issues

If your thyroid gland isn’t working as well as it should, it can trigger certain health issues. Both overactive and underactive thyroid can cause heart problems, including high blood pressure. Keep in mind, too, that thyroid problems and diabetes are closely linked.

  • Be sure to talk with your provider about getting your thyroid hormones checked at least once a year. If you take thyroid medication, take it as prescribed, especially if you have hyperthyroidism.

Chronic pain

Pain, whether it’s short-lived or ongoing, can raise blood pressure. If pain is acute, say, from an injury, the nervous system responds by releasing chemicals that constrict blood vessels and cause the heart to beat faster, which raises blood pressure. In addition, the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released, also raising blood pressure. Usually, the rise in blood pressure is temporary. Chronic pain, on the other hand, from conditions such as arthritis, back pain, or neuropathy, can lead to high blood pressure, too. Some medicines that are used for pain relief add fuel to the fire by raising blood pressure. These include NSAIDS (ibuprofen and naproxen sodium), indomethacin, and piroxicam.

  • If pain is lasting more than a few weeks, let your provider know, and ask about treating the underlying cause of your pain. Don’t forget that lifestyle changes can help with pain management, too — these include regular physical activity, weight loss, stress management, and acupuncture.

Want to learn more about high blood pressure? Read “Treating High Blood Pressure” and “Blood Pressure Myths and Facts” and see our “Blood Pressure Chart.”

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Your average extrovert may seem like a people person, but there's more to this designation than an outgoing personality. There are actually four types of extroverts, and they aren't necessarily united by a bubbly persona — rather, an extrovert is defined by the fact that they feel energized by social interactions. This can look quite different from person to person. Whereas one extrovert might thrive on meeting strangers and visiting new places, another extrovert may recharge their social battery by enjoying an intimate dinner party with a few close friends.

If you're an extrovert, you probably look forward to certain gatherings and events, but social anxiety can turn this into a love-hate relationship. Instead of relaxing and enjoying yourself, you may feel crippled by insecurity. This isn't quite the same as typical introverted social anxiety but can be just as impactful.

"Anyone can have social anxiety, but the experience of social anxiety for an extrovert may look different than that of an introvert. Extroverts often greatly value being liked by others, so they may be prone to overthinking and ruminating about how they are perceived," therapist Liz Kelly, LICSW, tells Talkspace. "Extroverts may feel a lot of pressure to constantly be 'on' and entertain other people. That internal expectation to entertain people or keep up a constant facade of happiness and excitement can be hard to sustain."

So, how can you tell if you're dealing with social anxiety? Mentally, extroverted social anxiety can mean self-consciousness, acute fear of embarrassment, and even worrying that your stress may be obvious. Physically, pay attention to how your body responds in social situations. Symptoms like an elevated heart rate, constant blushing, dizziness, and muscle tension can also be signs that you're experiencing social anxiety (per Banyan Treatment Center).

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It’s about understanding myselfIt’s completely natural for everybody to go through periods of anxiety from time to time. Sometimes it can even have its benefits, like when it’s helping you stay alert while driving through a snowstorm.

But its effects are so frequent and strong for tens of millions in America that it is considered a mental health disorder.

In these cases, it can have major emotional, physical, and mental impacts on your health. Findings ways to deal with them is important to normal function.

Anxiety is considered a disorder when fear or worry prevents you from accomplishing everyday activities. There are several types of disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorders, and panic disorders.

Symptoms can include an irrational or excessive fear of a threat when a situation does not present one. One may also experience:
• Shortness of breath
• Pounding heartbeat
• Feelings of dread or being overwhelmed
• Fatigue or insomnia
• Anticipating the worst possible outcomes
• Restlessness
• Shaking (tremors) or sweating
• Upset stomach/diarrhea
• Frequent urination
• Irritability
Some at home ways to help you deal with anxiety include:

Thinking about your options: Think about a situation where you recently felt anxious and consider how you may think or behave differently if you found yourself in the same situation again. This can help interrupt counterproductive thought patterns and replace them with more supportive ones.

Eat healthier and increase activity: Food can affect mood. Eating more healthful foods and limiting alcohol can help reduce anxiety while focusing on getting more activity is a great way to enhance your self-care plan. Plenty of research shows that exercise is very important for managing anxiety and depression.

Read up on anxiety: Reading some self-help books based on anxiety can help you understand the condition and offer helpful tips.

Try online therapy: Research suggests that online programs for anxiety and depression can be just as effective as face-to-face and may be particularly useful for people without access to strong community resources.

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Frustrated stressed single african mom having headache feel tired annoyed about noisy active kids playing at home, upset disturbed black mother fatigued of difficult disobedient misbehaving childrenSuffering from anxiety can be an extremely debilitating experience, making it difficult to understand and cope with in everyday life. It’s important first to recognize the various types of anxiety disorders before moving forward with understanding how to manage your personal anxieties effectively.

Today, we will be breaking down the most common types of anxiety disorders into simplified terms and providing essential explanations so that you can better understand what each one is about. By educating yourself on these topics, you will be able to better equip yourself for when worrying or anxious thoughts arise so that you’re confident tackling any form of distress head-on.

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or nervous. It can be a debilitating disorder affecting individuals in many ways. Some people with anxiety disorders experience constant worry and rumination about everything from minor everyday occurrences to major life events. Specific phobias, such as a fear of flying or social situations, plague others.

For some, separation anxiety can be overwhelming, making it difficult to cope with even temporary separations from loved ones. While anxiety can be challenging to manage, it’s crucial for individuals who experience symptoms to seek professional help and support to find effective coping strategies.

Anxiety disorders are common in today’s society, impacting a significant portion of the adult population. Studies show that nearly 30% of adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Understanding the prevalence and nature of anxiety disorders is essential in breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health and promoting greater awareness and acceptance for those who struggle with these conditions.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental health condition affecting millions of people worldwide. This disorder is characterized by excessive and persistent worry or fear about everyday situations, events, or activities, and the intensity of these anxious feelings can interfere with the person’s ability to function normally.

While it’s normal to experience some level of worry or anxiety in life, people with GAD have difficulty controlling their worries, and the distress they experience can be overwhelming. Some symptoms of GAD may include depression, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, stomachaches, and trouble sleeping.

It is essential to understand that GAD is not a temporary phase that will simply go away with time but rather a chronic condition that needs proper diagnosis and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with excessive worry and anxiety, seek help from a mental health professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment options.

Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is a condition where individuals have an overwhelming fear of social situations. The anxiety and fear can be debilitating, whether meeting new people, speaking in public, or even going out with friends.

Those who suffer from social anxiety disorder may experience physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, and an increased heart rate. They may also have negative thoughts about themselves and worry excessively about being judged or criticized by others.

It’s important to seek help for social anxiety disorder as it can greatly impact daily life and relationships. Treatment options include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes such as exercise and avoiding caffeine. With proper treatment, individuals with social anxiety disorder can learn to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation anxiety disorder is a condition that affects both children and adults, causing intense feelings of anxiety or fear when faced with the possibility of separation from a loved one or familiar environment. This disorder can manifest in various ways, including physical complaints such as headaches and stomachaches, difficulty sleeping, and emotional symptoms like excessive worry and fear of being separated.

While it is normal to experience some level of discomfort or sadness when saying goodbye to someone or leaving a familiar place, individuals with separation anxiety disorder often find these feelings overwhelming and disruptive to their daily lives.
Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder affecting millions of people worldwide, regardless of age or gender. Those with panic disorder often experience sudden, intense feelings of fear and anxiety, known as panic attacks, which can manifest into physical symptoms such as heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

These panic attacks can occur unexpectedly or in response to a trigger and can be incredibly debilitating for those who suffer from them. Seeking help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, can greatly improve the well-being and quality of life of those with panic disorder.

Phobia-related disorders are a type of mental health disorder that can produce extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and avoidance behavior in those who suffer from them. They are often characterized by a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that is out of proportion to any actual danger posed. Common phobia-related disorders include agoraphobia, arachnophobia, or claustrophobia.

These disorders can significantly impact daily life, causing withdrawal from social situations, avoidance of particular places or activities, and interference with work or school. Seeking professional help can be instrumental in treating phobia-related disorders and improving quality of life.

Anxiety disorders can be debilitating and affect a person’s daily life, but several different types of treatment are available. Medications are commonly prescribed to manage symptoms. However, there are other options for those who would like to try an alternative route.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a commonly used psychological treatment that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a relatively new alternative that uses goal setting and mindfulness to help reduce negative feelings. In addition, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation, can effectively reduce anxiety.

Individuals need to work with their healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for their specific needs. With a variety of treatment options available, individuals struggling with anxiety disorders can find relief and regain control over their lives.

Reducing Anxiety

Reducing anxiety can be tough, but with the help of Anxiety Rescue, you can help to support healthy mood balance and cognitive function. Through various ingredients, this unique formula can help target multiple aspects of stress, mood support, and anxiety. Anxiety Rescue begins to work quickly and improves benefits and support as the weeks go on.

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Raise your hand if you have felt nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation! It happens to all of us, but when that feeling is constant and the pressure to be in a room full of people if too much to handle, that is an indication of a health problem. Social anxiety disorder is defined as the constant fear of social or performance situations in front of unfamiliar people, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. While it might feel that you’re alone, this disorder affects millions of people every year.

Psychiatrist, mental health expert and educator Dr Rashi Agarwal recently took to her Instagram account to share all about social anxiety and how you can manage it.

How to handle social anxiety?

Social anxiety, if left untreated, can be debilitating and may lead to severe consequences. Dr Rashi writes, “Anxiety can cause changes in your body that make you uncomfortable. For example, your breathing might get fast and shallow. This can make you even more anxious. You might feel tense, dizzy or suffocated.”

1. Control your breathing

Social anxiety can cause uncomfortable physical changes that might affect your breathing as well. This is brought on by stress, which is why breathing exercises can help calm you down. Several studies, including the one conducted by Stanford University, found that breathing exercises can help ease social anxiety.

2. Physical exercise can help

Regular exercise has been proven to reduce anxious thoughts and improve your mood. Dr Agarwal recommends exercise or progressive muscle relaxation to lower social anxiety. “Research shows that certain physical activities like jogging can help lower your anxiety,” she adds.

exercise with sauna
Take a sauna bath post your workout routine for the added benefits! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Prepare well

If you know you will have to face a social situation that might make you nervous, Dr Rashi suggests planning in advance. It may help you feel more confident. “You might feel the urge to avoid some situations because they make you anxious. Instead, try to prepare for what’s to come,” adds Dr Agarwal.

4. Start small

Do you feel anxious at bigger events? If you know that big situations can trigger social anxiety, you should try to start small and not jump into big social situations. Try to meet your friends and family members first so you can get used to showing up in public before you enter a meeting.

5. Focus on things around you

Sometimes, the situation is much better than we imagine it to be. The reason is that we are so bothered by our own thoughts that we lose track of what’s going on around us. Dr Agarwal suggests you shift the focus to what’s happening around you than what is going on in your head to help yourself calm down.

6. Don’t let negative thoughts overpower you

You might feel you can’t do anything about these negative thoughts brought on by social anxiety, but they can. These negative thoughts contribute to fears and anxiety, which make the situation worse. The best way to tackle and reduce social anxiety is by challenging these negative thoughts.

7. Use your senses to calm yourself down

Dr Rashi recommends using all your senses like sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, which can help you calm down and keep you from feeling anxious.

restless leg syndrome
Here are some tips to deal with social anxiety. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

8. Social anxiety therapy

If none of the above options works, you can always go for therapy. The best way to treat social anxiety is through cognitive behavioural therapy or medication, and often both suggest Dr Agarwal. As per the National Institutes of Health, cognitive therapy behaviour can be beneficial for people with suffering from the problem.

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An attack can come crashing in like a storm on a clear spring day. In an instant, your heart pounds, sweat soaks you and you struggle to breathe.

March 29, 2023Penn State Health News

Agonizing minutes tick past, and then, quick as they arrived, the symptoms are gone.

What that heck was that? It was so violent, intense and painful, you might have been convinced you were having a heart attack.

Instead, the experience may have come from a different organ altogether – your brain.

You’ve had a panic attack. As much as 4.7% of U.S. adults have these extreme wrestling matches with anxiety. They’re often confused with anxiety attacks, which cover a whole gamut of maladies, but all are less intense with fewer physiological manifestations than panic attacks, which are the granddaddies of them all.

Like anxiety attacks, panic attacks are often triggered by an object, a smell or a memory, but often the impetus is so subtle the attack can seem causeless.

Dr. Ramnarine Boodoo, a child psychiatrist at Penn State Heath Children’s Hospital, and Megan Nguyen, a third-year medical student at Penn State College of Medicine, discuss panic attacks, anxiety attacks, what you can do about them and how they aren’t all in your head.

What is a panic attack?

“A panic attack is a surge of intense anxiety that peaks within minutes,” Boodoo said. It’s at its most intense within about 10 minutes, and then it resolves itself.

Symptoms include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Tingling in the limbs
  • Fear of dying or going crazy

The whole experience affects your ability to function normally. Sometimes, one panic attack can feed into the next – and you go through life feeling anxious about when the next storm is coming.

When the panic attacks cause worry about future panic attacks or change your behavior, you may have what doctors call panic disorder.

How is a panic attack different from an anxiety attack?

Anxiety causes a whole spectrum of problems, and nearly everyone feels anxious at one point or another.

When Nguyen first started at Penn State College of Medicine, the crush of hard work and pressure to succeed filled her with anxiety. She had trouble sleeping and worried she’d fail to live up to her own expectations. She sought help through the College of Medicine’s mental health resources and talked it over with her peers.

“It took about a month,” she said, but soon she felt better.

Boodoo has had his own battles with anxiety. As a medical student, he felt some of the same pressures from which Nguyen sought refuge. Even now, despite enjoying caring for patients, Boodoo admits to having significant professional anxiety. “We always want to make sure we care for our patients,” he said, “but nobody is perfect.” He worries over making a mistake, and industry pressures weigh on him.

He eases the tension through mindfulness meditation and confiding in people he trusts.

On the anxiety spectrum, full-blown panic attacks are at the top in terms of severity. The term “anxiety attack” isn’t mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But that doesn’t mean what people refer to as anxiety attacks aren’t real.

“Fear is an emotional response to an imminent threat,” Boodoo said. “Anxiety relates to anticipation of a future threat.”

Anxiety disorders occur when this anticipation causes prolonged distress or impairment. For example, if you experience social anxiety and it affects your ability to go to work, a doctor may diagnose you with social anxiety disorder.

Other disorders include panic disorder, specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder.

Boodoo defines an anxiety attack is any sort of episode with higher than normal anxiety. So, a panic attack, really, is a subset of an anxiety attack.

During any anxiety attack, patients can feel restless, easily fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, feel irritable and have muscle tension. It can last from minutes to hours. Unlike panic attacks, people can generally function through them.

How do you treat panic attacks?

Doctors can offer psychotherapy and medicine. “We always try to use psychotherapy first,” Boodoo said.

Boodoo suggest strategies to help his psychotherapy patients during a panic attack, such as:

  • Deep breathing
  • Visualization exercises
  • Self-reassurance (understanding that you’re in a safe place, and even though you’re having a panic attack, it will pass)

If you know someone experiencing a panic attack, it’s important not to say, “Don’t worry.”

“They’re going to worry,” Boodoo said. “It’s that intense.” You can actually add to the angst of the moment by suggesting they stop doing the very thing they’re unable to in the moment.

Instead, let the person suffering the attack know you’re there for them and you’re going to help them through it.

The best studied form of psychotherapy for all anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, is cognitive-behavioral therapy, Boodoo said. This form of therapy tries to reshape thought patterns and types of mental conditioning.

What kinds of medicine work?

Ordinarily, doctors only prescribe psychiatric medications to people experiencing something like a panic disorder. If you’ve just had one episode, or if you’re experiencing a lower-level anxiety problem, pills might not be the answer.

Medications for panic attacks usually fall into two categories.

  • Antidepressants – specifically Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved varieties include sertraline or Zoloft, paroxetine or Paxil, and fluoxetine or Prozac. Patients take these pills every day, and over time they decrease the frequency of panic attacks – though you may still experience them. You can start noticing them working in two to four weeks.
  • Rescue drugs – These are taken during or at the onset of a panic attack and work fast and alleviate the symptoms. FDA approved rescue drugs include benzodiazepines such as clonazepam or Klonopin and alprazolam or Xanax. Doctors often turn to two drugs which aren’t FDA approved, because they aren’t addictive and safer in overdose: hydroxyzine or Vistaril and clonidine or Catapres.

But pills don’t work as durably as talking, with cognitive behavioral therapy generally considered to be longer-lasting.

If you go off the pills, the panic attacks can return.

If you get to what’s causing your anxiety, you have a better chance of making it go away permanently.

Related content:

The Medical Minute is a weekly health news feature produced by Penn State Health. Articles feature the expertise of faculty, physicians and staff, and are designed to offer timely, relevant health information of interest to a broad audience.

If you're having trouble accessing this content, or would like it in another format, please email Penn State Health Marketing & Communications.

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Girish ShuklaGirish ShuklaUpdated: 23 hours ago
What is 'stress sweat' and how to combat it?

Stress sweat is caused by the body's natural "fight or flight" reaction to stress. When the body perceives a threat or a stressful circumstance, it activates the sympathetic nervous system, causing adrenaline and other stress hormones to be released. These hormones stimulate the apocrine glands to produce sweat that differs from perspiration produced during physical activity or in hot weather.

Stress sweat's composition, which has a larger concentration of proteins and lipids, can make it more prone to bacterial development, resulting in a harsher odour. This is because bacteria flourish in warm, moist conditions, and the proteins and lipids in stress sweat provide these bacteria with a food source.

Stress sweat, in addition to its characteristic odour, can induce humiliation and anxiety in people who experience it. This is especially true for persons who suffer from hyperhidrosis, a disorder that causes excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis can exacerbate stress sweating by causing excessive sweating even in non-stressful conditions.

Stress sweat can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort for those who experience it. It can be particularly challenging for individuals who work in professional or social settings where they need to present themselves confidently and competently. The fear of sweat stains, body odour, and the judgment of others can be stressful and trigger even more sweat, creating a vicious cycle. This can lead to social anxiety and isolation, further exacerbating the stress response.

Thankfully, there are ways to address it. Here are 5 ways to combat stress sweat:

1. Stress-reduction techniques should be used:
Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or exercise are all examples of stress-reduction approaches. These approaches can help reduce tension and the amount of perspiration produced as a result of stress. Deep breathing and meditation assist to calm the body and mind, lowering stress levels, while yoga and exercise can also relieve tension and enhance overall well-being. Frequent use of these techniques can aid in stress management and perspiration reduction.


2. Wear breathable clothing
: Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing made of natural fibres such as cotton or bamboo. This can aid in the reduction of perspiration and bacterial growth. Synthetic textiles, such as polyester or nylon, can trap moisture, promoting bacterial development and odour. Natural fibres allow the skin to breathe while also reducing the amount of moisture and bacteria that can build up in the underarm area.

3. Use antiperspirants: Employ antiperspirants or deodorants containing aluminium chloride, which can help reduce sweating and odour. Antiperspirants function by obstructing sweat glands, hence lowering sweat production. Deodorants work by destroying the germs that generate odour. Certain antiperspirants also contain deodorant chemicals, so they guard against both sweat and odour.

4. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help regulate your body temperature and prevent sweating. While the body attempts to regulate its temperature, dehydration can cause the body to create extra perspiration. Consuming enough water keeps the body hydrated, lowering the quantity of stress sweat produced.

Stay hydrated

5. Get medical attention:
If stress sweat is creating major issues, visit a doctor. Prescription antiperspirants, oral medicines, and medical treatments such as Botox injections or surgery are all options. Prescription antiperspirants have larger amounts of aluminium chloride than over-the-counter antiperspirants, offering better sweat protection. Anticholinergics, which are taken orally, can help reduce sweating, although Botox injections and surgery are more invasive alternatives that can assist manage excessive sweating in severe situations. To find the appropriate treatment strategy for specific needs, contact a healthcare specialist.

(For more content on physical and mental health, download the Mirchi Plus app.)

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Young calm fit healthy African black woman sitting on floor at home doing yoga breathing exercise, meditating learning online training virtual class on computer. Exercises for mental health concept.Anxiety is normal, but it can become an issue when our worries and fears prevent us from living life to the fullest. Anxiety can be difficult to manage and control when it pops up in our lives.

Fortunately, there are ways to take back control of your worries and begin feeling better again.

In today’s blog post, we’ll give you some helpful tips on how best to manage emergencies involving anxiety so that you can effectively reduce its intensity without causing yourself further distress or harm. Read on for more information!

Anxiety affects people differently, from fear and worry to physical symptoms such as restlessness, headaches, and a racing heart. With anxiety being classified as a mental health disorder for up to 40 million Americans, it’s vital for those affected to understand the value of learning how to cope effectively with anxiety. Therapy is an important form of treatment that can help reduce anxiety, increase awareness of its triggers, and improve overall mental health.

Other beneficial methods for dealing with anxiety could include stress management techniques such as regular exercise and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, or meditation. Whether it is a social anxiety disorder or panic disorder, taking control of it is possible with proper care and intervention, leading to improved mental and physical well-being.

Anxiety disorders are a wide-ranging and complex set of conditions, making it tricky to uncover the exact causes. Fortunately, research has identified several components that could be potentially linked to anxiety. These might include genetic factors beyond our control, such as a family history of anxiety, traumatic experiences during childhood or adulthood, and preexisting mental health issues like depression.

Additionally, anxiety may also be related to physical health conditions such as heart arrhythmias or thyroid disorders; even certain personality types could contribute to anxiety. All these possibilities indicate the importance of being aware of the many factors that can influence anxiety to better understand and aid in treating it.

Some symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Fatigue and Insomnia
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Diarrhea
  • Feelings of dread
  • Frequent urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritability

There are some lifestyle changes that can help with anxiety such as:

Physical Activity and Healthy Diet – Taking anxiety self-care into your own hands requires making good lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet and reducing alcohol consumption. Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and B vitamins can help to reduce anxiety symptoms and promote relaxation.

Additionally, participating in physical activity has been proven to be a great way to help manage anxiety symptoms. Regular exercise can lead to an increased sense of well-being while providing an escape from the stresses of your daily life. Incorporating both dietary and physical activities into your anxiety self-care plan can be highly beneficial in helping you to combat anxiety.

Online Therapy – The use of online therapy can make anxiety-provoking therapies more accessible, as well as offer a wider variety of options for one-on-one counseling.

Additionally, for those who suffer from especially severe anxiety, the flexibility of an online session format may be preferable over making visits to an in-person therapist. Online therapy is an incredibly valuable tool that everyone should consider if they or someone they know is struggling with anxiety.

Meditation – Studies have demonstrated how regular practice of mediation yields significant results, such as lowered anxiety responses when faced with stressful situations. By taking a few minutes each day to practice focused meditation techniques, your anxiety levels can be kept at healthy states.

Furthermore, other health benefits can come from regular meditation practice, including improved concentration and better immune system functioning. Invest a little time into meditation, and you can soon enjoy the benefits it brings.

Through simple lifestyle changes, anxiety symptoms can be reduced. While much more research is needed to understand the condition fully, studies have shown how these easy changes can help.

Managing Mental Health

Reducing anxiety can be tough, but with the help of Anxiety Rescue, you can help to support healthy mood balance and cognitive function. Through various ingredients, this unique formula can help target multiple aspects of stress, mood support, and anxiety. Anxiety Rescue begins to work quickly and improves benefits and support as the weeks go on.

Stress can take a toll on the brain, affecting concentration, memory, and overall cognitive function. The Smart Pill can help counteract these effects through nine ingredients that help support, nourish, and maximize brain health and cognitive function. These include ginkgo biloba, huperzine A, bacopa extract, rosemary extract, and a B vitamin complex. This unique formula helps boost circulation, fight free radicals, and help to promote clear thinking.

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Poor dental hygiene, diet, dry mouth, and underlying health problems are some of the main causes of bad breath. Studies have shown at least 50% of adults have had bad breath at some point in their lives. Bad breath can be definitely embarrassing when you are interacting with your colleagues and a great source of inconvenience to others who come in your close proximity. This causes social anxiety in many people who face this problem. But above everything else, it can point to serious health problems and should therefore never be neglected. 

Bad Breath: Identify The Reason

Before addressing the problems, one needs to decipher the reasons that can lead to halitosis -  an oral health problem where the main symptom is bad-smelling breath. Bad breath is generally caused by bacteria present on the teeth and debris on the tongue. Sagar Awatade, the founder of Oracura - a developer and marketer of innovative dental healthcare products - shares the following causes for bad breath:

Poor Dental Hygiene: This is one of the leading causes of bad breath, says Sagar. He adds that most of us do not have a proper dental routine in place. We all may be brushing twice a day but it’s simply not enough. Manual brushing can help clean the visible parts of the teeth but the insides remain untouched. That is where the food particles get stuck the most and start decaying, also attracting bacteria which leads to an unpleasant odor.

"Adopting a dental routine that is advanced enough to ensure your mouth remains bacteria-free is crucial. An ideal suggestion is to clean teeth twice a day with an electric toothbrush to ensure power cleaning and use a water flosser to clean the mouth at least once a day if not after every meal," shares Sagar Awatade.

Certain Foods and Drinks: The breakdown of certain foods may cause the bad breath to linger for a while until the food moves out of your body. Intense flavoring foods like onion and garlic do leave a pungent odor unless cleaned thoroughly. It is recommended to floss regularly after eating so everything you’ve eaten can be washed off your mouth thoroughly. Besides this, it is ideal to avoid frequent consumption of strong beverages like coffee to avoid bad breath.

Dry Mouth: This is another cause of bad breath. Dr Anil Arora, Advisor from Oracura, explains, "Saliva helps to naturally cleanse the mouth, so a dry mouth can lead to an increase in bacteria and a resulting odor. This can occur due to medication side effects, mouth breathing, or dehydration."

Gum disease: Chronic gum disease, also known as periodontitis, can cause a foul smell due to bacterial growth below the gum line.

Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as sinus infections, respiratory infections, and liver or kidney problems can contribute to bad breath.

Also read: Exclusive: Dental Hygiene Tips - Should you Brush After or Before Breakfast, What's the Verdict?

7 Steps To Fight Bad Breath

Dr Arora further adds that understanding the reasons behind bad breath can help in its prevention and management. Here are some key steps that you must follow:

  1. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleaning
  2. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding certain foods and drinks can also help alleviate bad breath
  3. Stay away from frequent munching and indulge in a wholesome diet to prevent bad odor and other dental issues
  4. You may be required to get a professional dental cleaning in case of periodontal disease
  5. Change your brush heads every three to four months
  6. Rinse mouth after consuming even the beverages
  7. Schedule timely visits to your dentist

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Although there is no clear link between undergoing oral immunotherapy (OIT) for peanut allergy and anxiety in children, it appears possible that children with peanut allergy who are older, female, non-White, and/or have asthma may be more likely to experience anxiety. These were among study findings published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Researchers sought to explore the relationship between undergoing OIT and clinical anxiety in children with peanut allergy. Toward that end, the researchers conducted a prospective cross-sectional cohort study in 2021 comparing anxiety between children undergoing OIT for peanut allergy and children with peanut allergy not undergoing OIT (the control group).  

For this community-based study, children in the OIT cohort were from the New England Food Allergy Treatment Center in West Hartford, CT, and children who did not undergo OIT were enrolled from the Connecticut Asthma and Allergy Center in West Hartford. All patients undergoing OIT were volunteers and typically achieved maintenance of 500-600 mg peanut protein daily dose around 6 months. Patients were advised to continue treatment daily at home and were followed annually. Patients with prior history of OIT therapy with discontinuation were excluded.

The study involved a younger cohort (<7 years of age; n=80) and an older cohort (≥7 and less than 19 years of age; n=125). Data was collected through electronic survey questionnaires, filled out by children and/or parents, with age-appropriate anxiety scales. The younger cohort received the Pediatric Anxiety Score, a 29-question Likert scale instrument intended to be completed by the parent(s). The older cohort received the Screen for Childhood Anxiety Related Disorders, a 41-question Likert scale instrument. Anxiety levels between patients on OIT and not on OIT were compared using generalized linear regressions.

Patients and families not completing the survey in entirety were excluded from analysis. Among the 241 OIT patients initially contacted, 114 (n=38 <7 years; n=76 ≥7 years) patients were eligible for analysis. Among the 742 control patients contacted, 91 (n=42 <7 years; n=49 ≥7 years) were eligible for analysis.

White, non-Hispanic boys were predominant in both cohorts. Average was 4 years of age in the younger cohort and 12 years of age in the older cohort. Patients in the younger cohort were comparable to their control group with respect to sex, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Patients in the older cohort were well matched with patients in the control group. In the younger cohort 74% of patients on OIT were on maintenance dosing and 26% on build-up. In the older cohort, 95% of patients on OIT were on maintenance dosing and 5% on build-up.

Although our study was not able to identify a relationship between OIT and anxiety scores, it did show interesting signals for anxiety being associated with race, age, and comorbid asthma in food-allergic patients.

The younger cohort included 30% of patients with asthma and over 50% with eczema, with comparable levels in the OIT and control groups. In the older cohort, a greater proportion of patients in the control group vs OIT group had asthma (63% vs 42%) and eczema (49% vs 26%).

Among the younger cohort, the OIT group reported family history of anxiety disorder 42% of the time vs 29% of the time in the control group. Approximately 56% of all parents in this cohort reported anxiety specifically related to their child’s food allergy.

Among the older cohort, there was no meaningful difference in the OIT vs control group with respect to reported family history of anxiety disorder (22% vs 18%) or patient- reported diagnosed anxiety disorder (15% vs 16%). When parents completed surveys (which occurred for 55% of cohort members), 43% in the OIT group and 62% in the control group said they experienced anxiety specifically related to their child’s food allergy.

Researchers found a low prevalence of diagnosable anxiety across patients on OIT and controls in the younger cohort. They noted a higher prevalence of anxiety in the older cohort but no clinically meaningful difference between anxiety scores of patients on OIT and those in the control group.

Patients with asthma vs without asthma in the older cohort were more likely to have higher mean anxiety scores (P =.04) as did girls vs boys in the older cohort (P =.004). Researchers noted subanalysis of the older cohort (7-12 years of age vs >12 years of age) revealed that in the younger subgroup, non-White race (P =.04) and eczema (P =.02) were meaningful predictors of higher separation anxiety scores. Additional subanalysis of the older cohort suggested non-White race was a meaningful predictor of higher social anxiety scores (P <.02).

Study limitations include underpowered sample sizes, limited racial diversity, lacking pre- and post-OIT measurements of anxiety, unaccounted-for variation in how long patients on OIT had received this therapy, all of OIT treatment in a single-center, possible participation bias, and surveys completed by parents may not accurately reflect the child’s anxiety level.

“Although our study was not able to identify a relationship between OIT and anxiety scores, it did show interesting signals for anxiety being associated with race, age, and comorbid asthma in food-allergic patients,” said study authors. “The clinical implications of these findings suggest that allergists should particularly consider screening food-allergic children for anxiety and anxiety-subtypes among patients who are non-white, female, and/or have asthma,” said the researchers.

Disclosure: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

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Many individuals experience morning anxiety on a regular basis and it can be quite tough to handle. Here’s how to stop feeling anxious in the morning.

It is a known fact that life can get pretty stressful. Everyone is dealing with stress related to work, academics, relationships and other similar goals. A recent pandemic has added to our worries. These occasional feelings of anxiety are normal, and almost every human experiences it at some point in their lives. However, the trouble starts when these symptoms become persistent. Anxiety disorders are linked to excessive fear or nervousness.

Midss’s experts point out that the symptoms of an anxiety disorder are more severe than the occasional anxiety that everybody feels from time to time. Anxiety disorders can make your life difficult; everyday tasks might feel like a huge burden on your shoulders. Some people experience anxiety during working hours, while others face difficulty sleeping due to anxiety. However, morning anxiety is getting more common, as well.

What Is Morning Anxiety?

Everybody likes to start their day off right, as mornings set the tone for the rest of your day. Some people even follow different habits before bed, such as not using electronic devices, to ensure a good night’s sleep and a peaceful morning. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to have a “good morning.” Morning anxiety is known as  feelings of excessive worry or fear at the start of each day. While it is not a medical term, morning anxiety is still considered authentic, as it affects many people who are battling mental health issues. The worry may be related to something that happened the day before or sometimes, there is no apparent reason for it. Due to morning anxiety, for some people, starting each day can become the worst part of their day.

The Causes and Symptoms of Morning Anxiety

Morning anxiety might be directly linked to anxiety disorders in many individuals. Our bodies contain different stress hormones, with cortisol being the primary one. According to research, cortisol is the highest in the first hour of waking up among those dealing with anxiety, this phenomenon is known as CAR. Your eating habits can also play a role in morning anxiety, for example, skipping breakfast results in low blood sugar, which can worsen anxiety. Sugary foods and caffeine can increase feelings of stress, too. Symptoms of anxiety may vary from person to person. Some of the symptoms include a pounding heart, irritability, difficulty breathing, exhaustion despite having a full night’s sleep, etc.

How to Reduce Morning Anxiety?

Morning anxiety can make anyone dread waking up and starting a new day. Don’t be discouraged, though! Here are some tips that can help you minimize morning anxiety and enjoy your mornings.


Physical activity is great for our general well-being. It comes with loads of benefits for our brains, bodies, and our mental health. Anxiety can be minimized by going for a short walk, hitting your local gym, or running. If you suffer from morning anxiety, try to incorporate exercise into your morning routine. However, if you are not a fan of exercise, then meditation can help you, as well.

Positive Thoughts

Thinking negatively might as well be one of the causes of your morning anxiety. At times, our brain has a tendency to instinctively think about negative things. For example, you may believe that you will not be able to get through the day or that you might fail a test. Negative thoughts are difficult to manage, but practice can help you overcome them. Positive thoughts should be used to challenge negative thoughts. Consider the things you have accomplished in your work or daily life and how many tests you have passed. It can be helpful to incorporate therapy into your routine, such as keeping a gratitude journal or writing about the things you look forward to during your therapy sessions.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Breathing properly has a great impact on anxiety. When you feel difficulty breathing during a panic attack, it means that your body is not exchanging Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide properly. Breathing exercises ensure that your body is properly oxygenated and shift your focus to your body. There are several breathing techniques available on the internet.


CBD is another safe and effective way to cope with morning anxiety. It has proven to be beneficial for different types of anxiety disorders including, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBD oil can help improve the quality of your sleep, which is important to reduce morning anxiety. You can access useful information available on the internet that highlights the benefits of CBD for anxiety.


Morning anxiety can be exhausting and challenging to overcome, but implementing strategies like establishing a consistent routine, engaging in regular exercise, and practicing good sleep hygiene can help. While it may take time to see results, staying committed to self-care can lead to a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

It’s important to remember that seeking additional support, such as therapy or medication, can also be effective in managing morning anxiety. Everyone’s journey with anxiety is unique, and it’s essential to find the approach that works best for you. With patience, dedication, and a willingness to explore different strategies, it is possible to break the cycle of morning anxiety and enjoy a more calm and centered start to your day.


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Do you find yourself running in the opposite direction at the mere sight of a spider? Does the thought of flying make your palms sweat and your heart race? Do you avoid heights like the plague? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you're not alone. Phobias affect millions of people worldwide.

The good news is that with the help of technology, there are more ways than ever to overcome your fears and live the life you want. In this article, we'll introduce you to 10 effective tools that can help you conquer your phobia once and for all.

PsyTech logo in front of person wearing VR device

Built for use with the Meta Quest VR headset, a popular VR platform for gaming, education, training, and education, PsyTech VR includes a long list of virtual experiences to help you overcome various phobias.

For example, the app can help you overcome your fears of public speaking, bacteria and germs, unsanitary conditions, cockroaches and flies, dogs, airports, airplanes and flight, darkness and night, enclosed spaces, heights, spiders, needles, and driving.

Take public speaking, for example. If this is something you've struggled with, the PsyTech app will allow you to rehearse your performance in front of a virtual audience—and the virtual audience will react to you as you speak.

If you get carried away and forget about interacting with the audience, or if you use a monotonous tone and don't make eye contact, then the audience will provide feedback by chatting and ignoring you!

By making the experience as real as possible, but in a zero-consequences environment, PsyTech VR can help you improve your public speaking skills and your confidence overall.

According to the company's website, the app will be growing in 2023 to integrate biofeedback sensors to track your physiological responses, such as heart rate and breathing, and use this information to adjust the level of exposure to their fear in real-time.

From psychosis to depression to addiction, there are many ways VR is being used to improve mental health. Ovrcome is a mobile application that uses exposure therapy and cognitive-behavioral techniques to help you overcome phobias.

Ovrcome offers a range of customizable exercises designed to help you gradually desensitize yourself to your fears. One of the key benefits is that it allows you to access therapy anywhere. All you need is a smartphone and the Ovrcome app, available on both iOS and Android devices.

If you have a fear of spiders, Ovrcome's spider exercise can help you gradually expose yourself to spiders through a series of challenges and activities. For example, the experience will start by exposing you to a simple, cartoon-like spider—and it will gradually build up until you are comfortable being in front of a life-like, hairy-legged, eight-eyed arachnid.

Face Your Fears is a virtual reality app for the Oculus VR headset that will expose you to a variety of terrifying experiences, including being attacked by birds, snakes, spiders, possessed children, and even a robot attack.

For example, in one scenario, you'll experience the fear of being a child in a bed in a room where things are not what they seem. In another, you'll be flying in a plane when the engine suddenly stops.

Face Your Fears is highly immersive and engaging, with high-quality graphics and sound effects that can help you feel as though you are really in the situation but be warned, while this app can help desensitize you to scary situations, it is not built on a foundation of exposure therapy and is designed more for entertainment.

There are other more serious apps you can consider that are dedicated to overcoming your fear of flying if you're looking to genuinely tackle that particular phobia.

Screenshot of Fearless VR app

One of the key benefits of tech like Fearless is that they allow you to experience your phobias in a highly realistic and immersive way but in a safe and controlled environment.

Fearless is not a game, but it's also not a horror experience like Face Your Fears. Fearless follows well-proven techniques of exposure therapy, which means it starts slow and lets you progress at your own pace.

It's available on the Meta Quest 2 as well as Gear VR and includes opportunities to overcome fears such as spiders, cockroaches, bees, and wasps.

Screenshot of VR Heights Phobia

VR Heights Phobia is a super simple VR app that you can download on the Google Play Store and is designed to be used with a Google Cardboard headset to help you overcome your fear of heights—or at least experience what it's like to be walking high above the city.

While much less advanced than other options on this list, the app offers an immersive experience that simulates a range of height-related experiences, including walking narrow wooden platforms at the height of high-rise buildings.

While VR is already being used to treat conditions like PTSD, VirtualSpeech.com is an online platform that offers virtual reality training specifically designed to improve your public speaking skills. This is a great option for anyone looking to strengthen some of the most important skills needed to succeed in business.

The platform offers a variety of virtual scenarios, including presenting at a conference, presenting in a TEDx-style theater, delivering an elevator pitch, giving a presentation in an office boardroom, and even being ambushed by reporters in a hotel lobby!

In addition to its exposure therapy, VirtualSpeech.com also offers tools and resources to help you become a better speaker, such as vocal exercises, testing your speaking pace, and calculating speech length.

Fear No More, Technology is Here

There are various forms of technology that offer unique and specialized approaches to help you overcome your phobias, from the highly immersive experience of PsyTech VR to the speech analysis tools and personalized feedback of VirtualSpeech.com.

So whether you're struggling with social anxiety or a fear of small spaces, you can start your journey toward conquering your fears, and with the help of technology, you can finally begin taking control of your life.

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Read: Exploring the link between chronic physical, mental-health conditions

Over time, the repeated activation of stress takes a serious toll on the body and studies suggest chronic stress contributes to hypertension, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits and causes brain changes that contribute to anxiety, depression and addiction, said Hnatyshyn-Webster.

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, so it’s normal to feel anxious about something new — a job interview, presenting in front of colleagues at work or having a difficult conversation, she noted. This is considered normal anxiety that comes and goes and doesn’t interfere with a person’s everyday life. However, when it comes to an anxiety disorder, she added, this feeling of fear might be constant. “It’s intense, debilitating and can even cause someone to stop doing the things they enjoy.”

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of emotional disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association, women are more likely to receive an anxiety disorder diagnosis than men, said Hnatyshyn-Webster.

When it comes to other mood disorders, depression is a condition that will affect one in eight Canadians at some point during their lives, she added, noting it changes the way people feel, leaving them with mental and physical symptoms for long periods of time — and looks quite different from person to person. “Depression can be triggered by a life event, such as losing your job, the end of a relationship or other stressors like a major deadline, moving to a new city or having a baby. And sometimes, it isn’t triggered by anything at all.”

Read: Survey finds majority of Gen Z, millennials dealing with anxiety, depression

One of the most important things to remember about depression is that people who have it can’t just snap out of it or make it go away, she said. It’s a real illness and is actually the leading cause of suicide. That said, about a third of people with a chronic illness like diabetes or heart disease experience depression, she added. “Individuals with chronic physical health conditions experience anxiety and mood disorders at twice the rate of the general population.”

People can help counter their stress by using a combination of approaches that elicit the relaxation response, noted Hnatyshyn-Webster, citing the example of exercising when feeling stressed. In addition to deepening breathing, exercise also helps relieve muscle tension. And movement therapies like yoga and tai chi, as well as mindful movements with deep breathing and mental focus, can have calming effects. “Social supports can be beneficial, too — friends, acquaintances, colleagues, relatives and spouses can provide a life-enhancing network that may increase longevity.”

As the coronavirus pandemic winds down, individuals with social anxiety will require help transitioning back to the office, she added. “For most people, returning to the workplace can induce short-term anxiety symptoms. But individuals with social anxiety will need to develop a plan for a more gradual return to work.”

For employers that are bringing these employees back to the office, Hnatyshyn-Webster suggested they tell them to practice driving to and from the office, which will allow them to work through feelings triggered by this step. Another way to coach this type of anxiety, she said, is by encouraging employees to spend more time with their colleagues in advance of returning to the office.

Read: Sick leave, accommodation, mental-health considerations for a post-pandemic return to work

Employers have a responsibility to ensure their workplaces are safe for everyone, she added, noting they can host a welcome-back gathering to help employees become reacquainted. They must also acknowledge that some employees may find it difficult to return to the office and let them know they can reach out directly to have a private conversation. “Make sure employees have someone to confide in. The more they talk about their anxieties, the more they normalize them — and hopefully, the better they’ll feel about returning to the office.”

Employers can also be proactive by consulting the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s managers toolkit, added Hnatyshyn-Webster. “This can help them have meaningful conversations with their employees about how they can support them. Mental health matters — and for employees, having open and honest conversations with their managers is one of the first steps that can be taken to improve mental health.”

Read more coverage of the 2023 Chronic Disease at Work conference.

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