Stress and Anxiety

Stress is ubiquitous. Society has created this world of stress. We are more stressed today than ever. Stressing about money, paying bills, work, school, relationships etc. It is all around us. The stress can sometimes develop into something more severe. They can develop into anxiety disorders. We all have our worries, and fears. Sometimes it can control our thoughts, change our brain structure, and cause physical symptoms out of our control. There were plenty of times I left school with a huge headache from all the talking I had to do. I have Social Anxiety, so having to speak up in class was a chore for me. I didn’t mind doing it. I liked speaking my mind, but my body didn’t like it. I would get heart palpitations every time I thought about speaking up, sometimes I wouldn’t attempt to speak up, because I was too nervous, but sometimes I decided to fight through it, because I really wanted to say what I wanted to say. This would end with me having a headache everyday, which wasn’t fun. When it comes to an anxiety disorder, you know your thoughts are irrational, but the limbic system of the brain-the emotion center of the brain-and the chemicals of the brain take charge, and cause physical symptoms. Anxiety can cause nausea, sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and other things. Now I like to discuss some anxiety disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder-People with generalized anxiety disorder display excessive anxiety or worry for months and face several anxiety-related symptoms(NIMH).

Panic Disorder-People with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; sweating; trembling or shaking; sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking; and feeling of impending doom(NIMH).

Social Anxiety-People with social anxiety disorder (sometimes called “social phobia”) have a marked fear of social or performance situations in which they expect to feel embarrassed, judged, rejected, or fearful of offending others(NIMH).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event(NIMH).

Anxiety is something cultivated by the world we live in. It is extremely hard to control, because your brain is restructured to become anxious and stressed in a given situation. Now it may be hard to get rid of anxiety and stress. There are ways to manage and cope with stress. Not everyone deals with these severe cases, but we all deal with stress and anxiety. There is no avoiding it. So what we should do is find ways to cope with it when it happens and also find ways to restructure our brain to handle stress in a better way. The chemical imbalances in our brain can be restructured, so that we don’t become more susceptible to stress.

One way that has helped me cope with Social Anxiety is the mindfulness approach, and meditation. I have and will speak on this a lot, because it a helpful tool. Mindfulness is all the present. Focusing myself to the moment gives me less time to worry about the future, and all my negative perceptions about it. Meditation always has a way of bringing me to a calmer state. My thoughts consume me at first, but after 10-15 minutes the thoughts subside, and I am at peace. I feel much more relaxed after it. Another thing that can be helpful is changing your mindset from a negative one to a positive. When it comes to anxiety, and thinking about the future. We think the worse, but we never think it will be better than we think. We don’t see the bright side. You probably think, ‘this is going to go awful,’ ‘this will be awful. You say all these negative things to yourself, but you can also flip that, and say ‘it will be fine,’ ‘I may enjoy it,’ or ‘it will go great.’ Remember, a situation is never as bad as you think it will be, it never is for me. I always think after the fact that is wasn’t as bad as my mind thought it would be. Just remember that the feelings of stress will pass, just like all emotions pass. We get happy, sad, anxious, it is cyclical. No emotion is stable through life. Things in life are too complicated for our emotions to stay stable. Just think about things you were stressed about a year ago, and if you are still stressed about it today? More often than not, you have moved on. You bounced back, and got through it. We are pretty tough, and can handle a lot more than we think, so try to believe you can get through the stressful time. Better times will come. As I mentioned the mind is a powerful tool, so let’s try to use it for some good for our own well-being. Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Aerobic exercises, Self-Help and Support Groups can also be helpful. Medication is also used, but using only medication will only alleviate symptoms. It will not help you cope and learn how to deal with stressful events. If you like to read more about those her is a link.

It all depends on what can be helpful for you, whatever works for you, try it. Maybe you can try doing something you enjoy, going out for a walk, listening to calming music, writing, drawing, doing puzzles. We all just have to find our own way to cope with stress, because if we can’t cope, it will consume us in a negative way mentally and physically.


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