Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health conditions out there, with millions of people across the globe affected by them. Anxiety disorders can hamper your productivity at work, make it difficult to maintain quality friendships and even keep you from being able to enjoy yourself or focus on hobbies and things you love.
These days anxiety is easy to come across, especially with all the fast-paced and demanding jobs and life-styles many of us lead. It’s easy to fall prey to the clutches of anxiety and in many cases it even seems almost impossible to avoid.
There is some good news, however. Even though anxiety doesn’t have a tangible medical cure, there are many ways to deal with anxiety by getting a handle on the symptoms and in turn making your day-to-day life smoother and less-stressful. In this article we’re going to take a look at the different types of anxiety and how we can tackle them in order to be more productive and happier.
Types of Anxiety
Many suffer from some form of anxiety, but to pin point exactly what the problem might be we’re going to break it down into a few separate types of anxiety. There are 5 major types of anxiety which we’ll go through here.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, manifests itself with exaggerated tension and worry and chronic anxiety, including times when there are no concrete reasons to trigger it.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, commonly referred to with its acronym OCD, is also an anxiety disorder. This disorder is characterized by unwanted recurring thoughts and repetitive behaviors. These are consecutively considered obsessions and compulsions. A few examples of repetitive behaviors are checking, counting, cleaning, hand washing, or an aggravated sorting of objects. These actions are often carried out, whether consciously or subconsciously, with the intent of chasing away or preventing obsessive thoughts. These habits, or “rituals” as you might want to refer to them, sometimes cause temporary relief but often intensify the obsessions and make it even harder to cope.
Panic Disorder is characterized by recurring unexpected episodes of intense fear which often come with physical symptoms such as a pain in your chest, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, abdominal distress, or dizziness.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is one you may have heard of but might not have been aware that it also falls under the category of anxiety disorders. It is characterized by excessive self-consciousness and overwhelming anxiety in your everyday social situations. There are cases when a social phobia will be limited to only one type of scenario that provokes it, for example being put on the spot by speaking in front of a number of people or even eating and drinking in front of others. In its most severe form, however, the anxiety can be so broad that the symptoms show up as soon as they are around other people.
What is Good for Anxiety?
It’s important for those with an anxiety disorder to find ways to reduce or manage their anxiousness in their daily lives. There are various methods of doing this, both through actions and medication. First we’re going to take a look at a few mental and physical ways to get a handle on our anxiety and try to bridle it in order to relax our minds.
Anxiety is a state of mind centralized on worrying about the future, so whenever you find yourself getting lost in all the “frightening” possibilities of the future, try and pull yourself back to the present and ask yourself what’s going on right now. Are you safe right now? Is there something you have to take care of right now? If there isn’t, then make yourself an “appointment” for later in the day when you can check in with yourself and take a look at what you were worrying about so all the distant future scenarios won’t throw you off.
Very often a panic attack will induce a feeling like you’re having a heart attack or dying. Relabel what’s happening by telling yourself “I’m not dying, just having a panic attack. This is real, but it won’t seriously harm my body. This is temporary and will be gone soon without me having to do anything.” It may also be helpful to realize that what’s happening to you is quite the opposite of a sign that your body is giving up. It’s actually a sign that your body is actively fighting to keep you alive and keep you going. Your fight-or-flight response has been activated due to what’s going on in your brain.
If you’re battling anxiety it can be easy to fixate your mind on worst-case scenarios. A good way to fight these thoughts is to analyze them and think about how real or possible they actually are. Let’s say you’re stressed about a big presentation at work. Instead of thinking, “I’m definitely going to fail,” tell yourself “I might be nervous, but at least I’m prepared. Logically, some things might go well, and some things might not.” If you make a habit of second-guessing your fears and rethinking them it’ll help train your brain to find rational ways to deal with your fears and anxious thoughts.
Another thing that can be good against anxiety is deep breathing. This is even a technique to navy seals. When is stressful situations or feeling an onset of anxiety, breathe in and out deeply. Count to four on each inhale and again on each exhale. It isn’t actually important how many seconds you breathe in and out. The reason for the counting is just to make sure you’re breathing in and out evenly. So if you can do so without the counting, it will work just as well.
There’s a little technique called “the 3-3-3 rule” which has been known to help center people who are going through a nervous episode. First, look around and name three things that you can see. Second, listen and name three sounds that you hear. And finally, move three parts of your body; your head, your fingers and toes, for example.
Sometimes anxiety can be triggered by doing nothing for too long. If this is the case, try getting up and doing something even if it’s a small thing like throwing away a piece of trash or standing up and stretching. This can help you feel like you’ve got control over yourself and bring you back to reality.
When anxious, our brain might tell us to protect our chest since this is where our lungs and heart are located. Because of this we might hunch over causing our back to curve which automatically puts us in a submissive positions. You can try squaring your shoulders or pulling them back in order to straighten your back. This will give you an automatically more assertive position, and even though it might seem silly that a simple bodily posture would boost your confidence, it has been proven the posture can greatly improve the way our brains perceive ourselves.
The Best Supplements for Anxiety
So now that we’ve covered a few techniques for getting control of the mind through physical and mental means, what about medication and supplements? Well the good news is that there are quite a few options for battling anxiety with supplements and very often nervousness can be brought on by a lack of vitamins in our bodies. Here are a few the best supplements for fighting anxiety.
B-complex supplements contain many B vitamins that are necessary for a healthy nervous system. These can also help get rid of symptoms of depression and anxiety. The average dosage is between 300mg (milligrams) and 500mg a day, although this may vary.
Vitamin A is a vitamin often lacking in people with anxiety. It is an antioxidant that’s been proven to help manage the symptoms of anxiety. The average dose is approximately 10,000iu (international units) daily. This amount usually comes in a single tablet.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that assists the body in absorbing other vitamins. A lack of vitamin D can result in other vitamin deficiencies which may lead to heightened anxiety. The average recommended daily dose is between 1,000 and 2,000iu.
Vitamin C is another antioxidant that can which helps protect your nervous system from oxidative damage which can increase anxiety. Between 500 and 1,000mg is the average recommended daily dosage.
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant. When stressed, the body tends to use up vitamin E at an accelerated pace. Supplementing vitamin E might restore balance in your body by returning your vitamin E levels to where they should be. 400iu is the average daily supplement dose.
GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an amino acid as well as a neurotransmitter in our brains. Anxiety can grow worse with a lack of GABA. Between 500 and 750mg is the recommended dose for daily supplement intake.
Fish oil has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also antioxidants. EPA and DHA are omega-3 supplements that help reduce anxiety. The average dose may have up to 2,000mg of EPA, ALA, and DHA altogether.
Magnesium is a mineral essential for our health. We don’t need all that much of it, but if we aren’t getting enough then it can lead to symptoms of anxiety. The average dose is from 100 to 500mg.
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a neurotransmitter. HTP-5 is a precursor to serotonin which is our “happiness neurotransmitter” in our brains.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It has a calming effect which can help to sooth the nerves.
Lavender is an age-old remedy that has been used to sooth the symptoms of stress. The subtle effects of lavender on the central nervous system could also help decrease anxiety and depression.
All in all, there are many ways to try and fight anxiety. We’ve got vitamin supplements as well as several mental and physical techniques to keep our minds on track. Try out different methods and see what works best for your unique situation. With the right help, your anxiety should be a lot more manageable and your daily life should be a whole lot smoother.