What is anxiety?
Most people experience some form of anxiety in their lifetime and according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) it is the most common mental illness in the U.S. and it affects over 18% of the population. Currently 284 million people globally are affected by the disorder and these numbers are on the rise.
But what is anxiety? Anxiety is a normal reaction we experience when we are faced with something stressful, embarrassing or threatening, think of the “fight or flight” response.
The problem occurs when the effects of anxiety are prolonged and we cannot control the feelings anxiety creates affecting our day to day lives.
What are the symptoms of Anxiety?
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
Constant worrying – Constantly worrying about daily issues, thoughts of the past and future are very common symptoms of anxiety.
Feeling Restless – Anxiety makes people feel on edge constantly.
Fatigue – Always worrying and feeling anxious puts the nervous system under stress which can make you feel tired and fatigued.
Poor concentration – Worrying makes it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand.
Tense muscles – Anxiety causes the body to tense up and is particularly common around the shoulder and neck area, as we find it difficult to relax.
Sleeping problems – People who are anxious usually find it difficult to fall asleep as the mind is continuously worrying.
Panic attacks – When anxiety becomes very extreme it can cause panic/anxiety attacks. This is an overwhelming feeling causing rapid rate and shortness of breath.
Social anxiety – A lot of people who suffer from anxiety also experience social anxiety, and are often uncomfortable meeting new people or being in large groups.
What causes Anxiety?
There are various different complexities and causes of anxiety ranging from environmental, genetics, consumption of medication and other external factors.
Environment – our environment plays a huge role in how we feel. If we are in a fast paced, high pressure job, stuck in traffic constantly or in a bad relationship for example it can cause stress and anxiety.
Past Experience – people who have suffered traumatic experiences in their childhood are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.
Genetics – those with family history of anxiety disorders are also more likely to develop a similar disorder.
Medication – birth control pills, cough and congestion medication, and weight loss pills can commonly cause anxiety as a side effect.
Caffeine – caffeine has been shown to promote anxiety disorders causing people to experience jitteriness. Caffeine in strong amounts is commonly found in coffee and certain pre-workout/energy drinks.
The natural alternative
When suffering from anxiety it is beneficial to try a more natural and holistic approach as prescribed medication and have a number of harmful side effects. Below are 5 great tips that can help:
1 – Ashwagandha powder – Ashwagandha is a natural adaptogen and reduces cortisol levels naturally. Cortisol is the hormone the body releases when we are stressed. People have used Ashwagandha for anxiety and depression for centuries.
2 – Cut out coffee – coffee is stimulant as it contains caffeine. This is known to make people feel jittery.
3 – 4-7-8 Breath – when you feel anxious, go somewhere quiet and try breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds and exhaling for 8 seconds.
4 – Don’t fight it – Accept you are feeling anxious and you know it will pass. Fighting it only makes the feeling worse.
5 – Go for a walk – If you are feeling anxious, go for a walk. Walking can help shut-off the anxious part of the brain and being in nature naturally makes us feel calmer. Pay attention to everything you see and hear this will help you be more present.
Feeling anxious at times is totally normal! Take the time to pay attention to how you feel on a daily basis. If you are always having negative thoughts, feeling nervous or on edge most of the time, understand this could be an anxiety disorder. Try evaluate your life and eliminate or manage the things that trigger anxiousness. A great way to do this is by journaling daily.
Before reaching for medication, try a more holistic and lifestyle changing approach as they can be just as effective as medication and they have no side effects.
It is always best to choose organic Ashwagandha root powder over blended ones, as the leaves can be toxic. Why not try a teaspoon with your favourite hot chocolate before you go to bed every night and see the difference.
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