At some stage, we all experience a sensation of anxiety. It could be before an interview or a speech or while waiting for an important call or letter. That fluttering of butterflies in the stomach is perfectly natural. Most people would agree that you would not be normal if you never felt a little anxious about something.
People who’ve only had so-called normal anxiety can never fathom what chronic anxiety feels like. They wonder why someone with anxiety can’t ‘get a grip’ and just relax. Little do they know that the person with anxiety would give anything to be able to do that.
What is anxiety?
Simply defined, anxiety is a sense of apprehension, nervousness, or concern about a situation with an uncertain outcome. For example, you could feel anxious about an upcoming test or exam. You’re worried about how well you’ll perform because the result is not a foregone conclusion.
When these feelings become excessive to the point of having an impact on your day-to-day life, there’s a chance that you have an anxiety disorder. This is a mental health issue that can affect your behavior and cause physical symptoms.
What causes anxiety?
There are too many factors that lead to anxiety to list. They differ from one person to another. What causes anxiety to one person will have no discernible effect on the next. A lot of people experience anxiety due to a combination of two or more causes.
There are five broad causes of anxiety, including brain chemistry, medical conditions, genetics, environmental stressors, and substance abuse or withdrawal.
Brain chemistry can induce anxiety when there is an imbalance of hormones or if the electrical signals in the brain do not function correctly. Genetics is a significant factor as people from a family with a history of anxiety are more likely to experience it themselves. Some medicines can trigger anxiety. Stress from a lengthy recovery from and illness or operation can also be a contributing factor. Emotional strain from stressors in the work or home environment can lead to the onset of anxiety.
Alternative treatment for anxiety
The pressure of situations and people that stress you out can aggravate your anxiety. You can’t always walk away from them. It could be your job or your family that is stressing you out to the point of anxiety. The best approach is to learn how to deal with it and manage the stress. When you master the causes of your anxiety, you’ll be better able to tackle it.
You might need to seek professional help to sort out the underlying personal relationship dynamics that are affecting you. Coming to terms with a trauma or life-changing event can make it less likely to induce anxiety.
Learning and practicing time management techniques will help to reduce stress at work. Make to-do lists and schedule tasks so that you finish them ahead of time and don’t have to panic about completing them at the eleventh hour.
Lavender is well-known for its relaxing properties. Massage some lavender essential oils into your temples or add some to your bathwater. You can even go as far as using a lavender-fragranced fabric softener!
CBD oil products are gaining popularity as a potential treatment for anxiety. Cannabidiol is the subject of extensive research as scientists seek to discover what healing properties it might contain and how they work.
It is believed that CBD is effective because it supplements the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system produces the body’s own form of CBD called endocannabinoids. They attach to receptors and help to regulate the stress hormone cortisol, which can trigger anxiety.
Diaphragmatic breathing can help to get anxiety under control. It stimulates your vagus nerve, which will help you to calm down and focus. This type of deep breathing can lower the heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of cortisol in your body. To learn how to breathe diaphragmatically, follow these steps:
- Put one hand over your chest and the other over your stomach.
- During regular breathing, the hand on your chest moves, but the hand on your stomach does not.
- Focus on getting the hand on your stomach and not the hand on your chest to move when breathing.