These days, more and more people are talking about mental health, and we’re all for it. So many of us struggle with silent illnesses—one of which is anxiety. In the United States alone, one alarming statistic estimates that it affects 40 million adults. Imagine the amount of people who live with anxiety undiagnosed?

While it’s, more often than not, a topic of taboo in the Philippines, we must draw attention to the issue.

WHAT IS ANXIETY?

First things first: it’s important to know what anxiety is, and whether it differs from anxiety disorders. To answer the latter, yes, there is a difference.

Anxiety, plainly and simply, is a feeling of worry brought about by stress or fear. Like anxiety, anxiety disorders are also feelings of anxiousness, only way serious. It’s usually diagnosed by doctor when the same feeling of anxiousness won’t quit, sometimes to the point of being paralyzing. There are a few types of anxiety disorders—the 6 most known types, below:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobias (i.e. a fear of spiders)

Different situations may prompt any one of these disorders. Depending on which one a person may suffer from, the diagnosis may vary. The severity of the disorder also varies, so the situation is unique from person to person. More often than not, all produce the same feelings of fear, panic, and intense stress.

WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY?


Unfortunately, there is no one answer to what causes anxiety. For some people, it’s in the family. Others crack under pressure in certain situations. People also seem to fall into the issue, and seemingly, for no cause.

HOW CAN I MANAGE ANXIETY?

Whether you suffer from anxiety or not, it’s possible to learn to pacify our feelings of panic or fear. From alternative “medicine” to simple lifestyle modifications, anyone may use these 7 anxiety management tips and tricks in their lives.

Just note these are merely suggestions, and not foolproof solutions. Always consult your physician in case you are suffering from a severe case of anxiety.

1. Improve your quality of sleep. We know, we know: it’s cliché to hear, “sleep 8 hours.” There is, however, much truth to the age-old advice. Struggling to catch sleep? Consider a concoction that will ease your worries and put your mind to rest.
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2. Have a support system. Living with anxiety is hard enough as it. It’s even harder when you have no one you can speak to. When the anxiety hits, call on your mom, your most understanding friend, or any other figure who can support you. You’re never alone!

3. Try aromatherapy. As you probably know, specific scents have calming properties can affect your emotions. Whether you want to a pick-me-up or just something to pull you out of a panic attack, a whiff of a particular can work wonders. Carry a small vial of a soothing variety with you in case of emergency.
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4. Move! Exercise is known to be a great mood booster because of the endorphins it releases into the bloodstream. Make it a habit of engaging in a sport or activity that you enjoy. Perform yoga, run outside, dance, or jump rope. The options are endless!
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5. Eat healthy. While you may want to overeat when you’re anxious, making an effort to eat well can help manage your emotions and stress. Create a meal plan that will keep you away from the refrigerator. It’s also important to hydrate in order to keep your hunger levels in check.

6. Regulate your coffee intake. We know, we know: we can’t imagine a world without coffee either! Caffeine, however, may aggravate certain symptoms of anxiety. Opt for alternatives that will keep you alert without frazzling your nerves, like tea.
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7. Think positively! With practice, thinking positively is possible. Consider mediation or a hobby, like arts and crafts, that will help you channel your negativity into something positive. It’s easier said than put into practice, we know. But with enough time, thinking positively can become a new habit.

Having anxiety is, without question, very difficult. But with some adjustments here and there, the quality of your life can improve. Keep your head up! We’re here for you.

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