Anxiety is something we have all felt at some time or another throughout life. Usually it only lasts for a short time. It is a natural flight or fight response to a fearful situation. But then there are other situations that can make us anxious. When we can fight through that type of anxiety, we often find that things turn out well. Much of the time we discover there was nothing to be anxious about.
For others anxiety is a part of their everyday life. It is no longer normal when it paralyses you with fear so you stop living your life as you want to. Anxiety becomes a sustained worry that is an unbalanced fear response to different things in your life.
How does anxiety affect you? While it is a necessary emotion, when it is out of control it is important to rein it in. There are a huge range of causes such as environmental factors, concerns about world problems and genetics that can predispose you to being more anxious than others.
Feeling anxious is not the same as an anxiety disorder. Feeling anxious is an emotional response defined by tension, stress, worry and physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure and headaches. On the other hand, when you have an anxiety disorder you experience ongoing intrusive thoughts and worries and other criteria that can help a doctor make a diagnoses.
Here we explore some of the reasons why anxiety happens.
If you are having trouble getting your anxiety under control, there may be an underlying medical reason that can trigger anxiety. For example:
- A brain tumour which can cause a wide range of symptoms including physical symptoms such as headaches, personality changes and anxiety.
- An under or overactive thyroid gland can trigger anxiety as well as restlessness and an inability to sleep.
- The female hormone estrogen will cause anxiety during your menstrual cycle and menopause.
- Infectious diseases such as Lyme disease and Guillain-Barre syndrome may trigger anxiety and a range of other symptoms.
- Anxiety can be a symptom of a vitamin deficiency or too much of one vitamin, or poor nutrition.
While anxiety is genetic and some people can be predisposed to anxiety, a range of environmental factors can also have a strong influence when your family has a history of anxiety. But you do not have to be genetically predisposed to have an anxiety disorder.
A 2016 review found that some genetic factors had a link to social anxiety disorder and panic disorder in women. Another 2017 review, concluded that generalised anxiety disorder, panic attacks and social anxiety disorder were all linked to specific genes.
Environmental links to anxiety
Environmental factors such as trauma, family dynamics, religion and culture can affect your anxiety levels according to research. As a child how you experience the world affects your behavioural, and physiological responses, and they way you think as you get older according to a 2020 research review.
If your childhood experiences are negative, it can lead to making poor life choices as an adult. This includes developing a drug addiction and alcohol abuse, for example, which can trigger anxiety disorders.
Life stresses can be why anxiety happens
Many stresses of life can be why anxiety happens. Many people feel stressed by life which can cause anxiety, where it does not affect others.
Racial discrimination and anxiety
Racism is insidious and can lead to psychological distress in many people. Constant racial discrimination can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as a wide range of other mental health issues in affected people. This is because they come to expect to be discriminated against in some way because of what country they come from or the basis of their culture. Feelings of anxiety are often high as they do not feel accepted in the society they live in.
For many people social situations are a source of anxiety. It is perfectly normal to feel nervous in social situations, especially where you know few people or are giving a presentation in front of your boss and work colleagues. You may fear being judged, humiliated, criticised or laughed at. Where most people feel this type of anxiety, it is usually only briefly. But some people can find it paralysing which may eventually turn in to a social phobia. Some people even fear eating in public in front of people they do not know. Social anxiety is real. Avoiding social interactions will only make dealing with social anxiety more difficult.
Sexuality and gender anxiety
There is much stigma surrounding sexuality and gender identity that causes a lot of anxiety. A 2016 study found that gender minorities had a lot of anxiety compared to heterosexual people. And bisexual people were found to have even higher levels of anxiety than other people which suggests it is their exclusion from both homosexual and heterosexual groups that could cause their anxiety.
Environmental doom causes anxiety
Worrying about the environment and the lack of action to look after the planet can also cause anxiety. This is sometimes called eco-anxiety and the American Psychological Association describes this as a “a chronic fear of environmental doom”.
While this is not yet a diagnosable condition, a study of climate change over10 years found that 70% of respondents worried about climate change and 51% felt powerless when faced with the current situation.
Anxiety becomes a disorder when you have severe anxiety that persists over time. According to Our World in Data, in 2017 3.8% of the world’s people had an anxiety disorder. Of that figure, 4.7% were female and 2.8% were male. And it was ranked as the number one single mental health issue across the world.
When you have an anxiety disorder, you feel anxious most of the time. This will prevent you from doing the things you enjoy and can even stop you from leaving your home. You need to talk to your health professional for a diagnosis and treatment.
There are different types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder is being afraid of others judging you in social settings.
- Separation anxiety disorder. Separation anxiety disorder is a fear of leaving your home or being separated from the people you love.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is extreme anxiety after experiencing a traumatic event.
- Illness anxiety disorder. Illness anxiety disorder was previously called hypochondria and is ongoing anxiety about the condition of your health.
- Panic disorder. Panic disorder is when you often experience panic attacks that come from out of the blue. This can cause anxiety about when the next one will occur.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder. Obsessive compulsive disorder is the continuous occurrence of irrational thoughts that causes you to do repeat specific behaviours. For example, checking your home’s security over and over again before going to bed or out for the day.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack
Attacks of anxiety manifest differently for everyone. But it is often an overwhelming feeling of apprehension, fear, distress or worry. It can build slowly and get worse as a stressful decision or event gets closer.
In general, anxiety attack symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Increased heart rate
- Feelings of fear, worry or apprehension
- A dry mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Rapid breathing
- Hot and cold flushes
- Numbness or tingling throughout the body.
Diagnosing anxiety disorders can be difficult and your doctor will go through a range of things including taking a full medical history to complete a full assessment. They may also order physical tests and examinations to rule out other conditions that could cause your anxiety.
While some people may not need treatment, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or sedatives to help you cope. But making lifestyle changes and some natural remedies can be enough to help control your symptoms.
Lifestyle changes can include:
- Avoiding caffeine
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Giving up smoking
- Not drinking alcohol
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising to stay active.
According to research some of the foods you eat can be beneficial for your brain when you experience constant anxiety. Some of these foods include the following:
- Chamomile tea
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea.
Brain Wellness Spa
When anxiety takes over your life it can be paralysing, especially if you do not know how to control it. It can affect your mental, emotional and physical health, and all areas of your life. Trying to deal with anxiety on a constant basis can be stressful and even make you feel more anxious. You need to do something about your anxiety when it starts taking over your life. If not, until you do something about how you feel, it will continue to negatively impact you and those around you.
The Brain Wellness Spa is pioneering a new technique, a natural treatment for anxiety that may help. It only requires you to relax. Highly trained facilitators help you learn how to relax and recognise any underlying triggers. It may help you find inner peace so you start feeling emotionally happy again. You may even notice an improvement after the first session.
With some simple changes to your life, and with practice, you can learn to deal with anxiety better. Discover what triggers your anxiety and learn how to manage them.
If your anxiety has become a problem that affects your life, it is time to change it before it gets worse. Do something positive about it. Seek help. Take back control. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start feeling less anxious. Constant anxiety can hold you back from enjoying life.
If you struggle with anxiety, reach out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us. We can talk to you about getting your anxious feelings under control. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $49 so you may start taking back control of your life. We aim to help you cope with anxiety and any mental health challenges you may be experiencing. Our facilitators may alleviate the effects of these so you start to enjoy life again.
Let me help alleviate the effects of anxiety and fear
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people for more than a decade. My aim is to help manage your symptoms and anxiety triggers. This can give you new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years. Listen to what xxxxx has to say about my program after only a few sessions.
Take charge of your life. Book a free 25-minute telehealth consultation with Brain Wellness Spa founder, Terri Bowman. Or discover a seamless way that may help you manage your emotional and mental health by becoming a member. It will give you access to more than 75 audio programs that may help you to live an inspired life.
What are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose.