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How to deal with stress and anxiety
The general opinion is that stress and anxiety motivate people to deliver their best. Thus, they should not always be considered bad only if you suffer from excessive stress or anxiety which, in turn, interferes with your daily activities or you’re plagued by irrational fears or worries, then taking anxiety-relieving measures and seeking medical help becomes the need of the hour.
Stress and Anxiety: What’s the Connection?
Stress and anxiety are not interchangeable terms as many people may think. However, high-stress level is one of the triggering factors of anxiety. Stress is related more to physical or mental tiredness and tension.
You can become stressed if you’re given more work than you can handle or if you are in situations that are unnerving or frustrating, you’re likely to become stressed. Stress leads to anxiety where you become fearful or uneasy. Anxiety is marked by feelings of uneasiness or when you’re overwhelmed by worry and fear.
Experiencing some level of anxiety is considered normal. As such, you may become nervous before appearing for an interview or exam. Though, after the situation passes, you normalize too.
Anxiety is also accompanied by depression or bipolar disorders in some cases. Under generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety is accompanied by other mental illnesses.
What are the different stages of stress?
Our bodies go through three different stages of stress when placed in stressful situations, having varying mental and physical effects – both are part of the body’s defense system for stress management. Further, the three stages of stress are part of the General Adaption Syndrome (GAS).
The first stage os stress is ‘Alarm’ where the body activates the ‘fight or flight’ response, resulting in an adrenaline rush. An increase in heart rate and tensing of body marks this stress stage.
Under the second stress stage ‘Resistance’, the body counters the ‘Alarm’ stage while attempting to calm down. Upon the cause of anxiety persisting, you are discomforted by sleeping disorders, inability to concentrate, tiredness, and irritability – to list a few.
Upon combating stress for extended periods, your body enters the third stress stage that is ‘Exhaustion’. Your energy and immunity levels start dwindling during this phase.
As a result, you tend to fall ill often while increasing your chances of suffering from depression, diabetes, and various other mental and physical illnesses. In addition to medical issues, chronic stress can result in financial difficulties, job losses and disruptions in relationships as well.
What about Normal Stress?
Due to your hectic schedule, you tend to get stressed which is considered normal. Everybody experiences normal stress that lasts for few hours or days. Only if you are rendered unable to carry out normal activities because of stress that rages on for extended periods, consider taking measures to cope with stress.
One of the easiest ways to deal with stress is by following a regular sleep schedule, irrespective of weekdays or weekends. Consequently, you start going into ‘deep sleep’ mode for longer and feel rested and refreshed in the morning.
More so, you can engage in body relaxation exercises for combating stress. These include listening to soothing music or indulging in stretching exercises.
What are the different ways of managing stress and anxiety?
Start consider taking measures to reduce stress and anxiety for your overall benefit. A good way of dealing with stress and anxiety is by paying attention to your mind and body responses during situations. Then, if you feel stress due to a situation, you can anticipate your reaction and be better prepared.
Some natural remedies for managing stress and anxiety are shared below. You can practice them alongside medical treatments.
Consume nutritionally-balanced meals
Restrict alcohol and caffeine intake
Sleep for around 8 hours during night-time
Perform deep-breathing exercises
If not able to cope with stress and anxiety on your own, do not hesitate to take medical help. They will apply a range of therapies for your timely recovery. Under Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you are trained to recognize anxiety signs and adopt a positive attitude for their management.
Mental health providers apply systematic desensitization and exposure therapy as part of phobia management. Here, you are exposed to anxiety-stimulating situations for managing your feelings of fear and uneasiness.
Also, medications constitute treatments for anxiousness arising out of stress or, in other words, stress anxiety.
Cortisol and Stress: What’s the relation?
The body’s stress hormone is Cortisol. The adrenal glands secrete Cortisol that performs several important functions from regulating blood pressure to glucose metabolism to releasing insulin for maintaining blood-sugar levels to boosting immunity, Cortisol is responsible for all of them.
During the morning, Cortisol is found in high quantities in the body; and at night, in lesser amounts. A small rise in Cortisol levels in the body has a range of positive effects as seen below:
Lowers pain sensitivity
Maintains homeostasis in the body
As a response to your query on how Cortisol works, note that with heightened Cortisol production by the adrenal glands and subsequent release of the hormone into the bloodstreams, glucose rushes to your large-sized muscles as an energy source. Besides, Cortisol restrains Insulin production to stop glucose storage while being available for use.
However, the body releases Cortisol in high amounts in the bloodstream during stressful situations. Along with the hormone epinephrine, Cortisol narrows the arteries for increasing your heart rate, and pumping blood at a rapid rate, to tackle the present threat.
To reduce Cortisol levels you must practice stress-management techniques. An effective way of managing stress is by leading a low-stress lifestyle. Be sure to sleep well at night, follow a regular exercise schedule, practice deep-breathing exercises and meditate.
Surely, Cortisol helps in the body’s reaction to stress, but practicing body relaxation techniques becomes important for the body functioning to normalize. And if you fail to do so, then the rise in Cortisol levels within the bloodstreams can prove to be harmful where you suffer from:
- Reduced cognitive ability
- Impaired thyroid function
- Blood-sugar disparities like hyperglycemia
- Lower immunity levels
- Fall in muscle tissue and bone density
- Heightened stomach fat which leads to strokes, heart attacks, and an imbalance of good and bad cholesterol levels.
Talk to your doctor if you are exhibiting symptoms of chronic stress. A saliva test measures Cortisol levels in your system.
What are the different anxiety symptoms?
Anxiety that lasts longer than few days and continues over several weeks, months, or even years, so much so that the symptoms start affecting your daily indicate that the person is at the moderate or chronic disorder stage.
As part of your anxiety symptoms, you sense an irregular heart rate, feel dizzy, or experience tiredness. Shortness of breath, restlessness, moving much in your sleep, inability to focus and severe sweating are other high anxiety symptoms.
Under social anxiety symptoms, you may not feel confident among a crowd or think they are analyzing your every move.
Further, with anxiousness, you start expecting the worst to happen and activate your body’s fight or flight responses. You are most likely to suffer from depression and panic attacks as well.
Also, Insomnia is known to be one of the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Anxiety relating to past events is an indication of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Anxiety symptoms in children include stomachaches, throwing tantrums, poor sleep, and headaches.
What are the varied types of Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders can be of different kinds, as studied.
Fear of particular situations that perceive the person to feel trapped; and hence, they tend to avoid them
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Constantly worrying about daily or routine events can give rise to symptoms such as stomach troubles, headaches, and sleeping troubles.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Having worrying or intrusive thought patterns as a result of which the patient displays obsessive behavior.
During panic attacks, the person experiences chest pain, palpitations, breathing difficulties and perceives impending doom.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
As part of PTSD, the patient has flashbacks of disturbing situations of the past and may be unable to sleep and, in turn, suffers from Insomnia and other disorders.
As a parent, if you perceive your child is not able to talk in particular places or situations, then maybe they are suffering from selective mutism.
Separation anxiety disorder
A childhood condition where the child becomes anxious when separated from their parents and leads to disrupting their daily schedule.
Fear of certain situations, events or objects can result in the person expressing a strong desire to avoid them. All the same, people having fear of spiders (arachnophobia) or fear of small spaces (claustrophobia) causes them to have panic attacks when exposed to the things they fear.
While a weighted blanket therapy is usually beneficial for anxiety, it can be tricky for people with claustrophobia to use a weighted blanket.
How to deal with postpartum anxiety?
New mothers are known to show symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety. They record a fall in Progesterone and Estrogen hormones during delivery that causes stress or makes them panicky or fearful. Since they feel responsible for their newborns and want to keep them safe, they are also deprived of sleep – which is another symptom of postpartum anxiety.
Among the common signs of postpartum anxiety, you may perceive new mothers are unable to relax and overcome by a sense of dread or worry too. Appetite loss, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), nausea and dizziness are other postpartum anxiety symptoms.
As part of your postpartum anxiety treatment, consider joining new mother forums or groups; they offer the required support. To reduce anxiety, exercising outdoors is advisable too. Go for a walk during the early morning or evening hours for spending time in the sun and to feel better. Individual psychotherapy can help to counter anxious thought patterns as well.
What is separation anxiety in adults?
Separation anxiety is perceived in both adults and children. Separation anxiety in adults and children is marked by fearful thoughts of their family members and loved ones dying or getting harmed.
Children show symptoms of separation anxiety between the ages of 6 months to three years. However, some children are diagnosed with child separation anxiety disorder during late childhood. And if the trend continues during adulthood, they are said to be ailing from adult separation anxiety disorder.
As part of the separation anxiety disorder, the patients get anxious if they are away from their loved ones or family members for long durations. In adults, as parents, they get over-involved in parenting; and in relationships, they become overbearing partners.
What are the Anxiety Remedies?
If you are seeking anxiety remedies, then go with the natural therapies for the best results.
What are the natural remedies for anxiety?
Some natural remedies for anxiety are shared below.
- Regular exercise: One of the best natural remedies for anxiety and depression is body exertion, albeit the low-impact exercises. When you exert your body, the feel-good or endorphins are released in the body. In the process, your mood enriches and body stabilizes.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and recreational drugs: Do not consume caffeinated drinks and alcohol and drugs, and stop smoking cigarettes, if you want to reduce anxiety. It is not easy to fall asleep after drinking coffee.
- Induce body relaxation: The health experts opine chanting a mantra or engaging in meditation, and performing Yoga Nidra for relaxing the body. Most importantly, get enough sleep at night, so you are relaxed in the morning. If the body normalizes, you can counter anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses with ease.
- Nutritious Diet: Eating healthful foods strengthens the body and increases its ability to combat disorders. As part of your healthy diet, raise your intake of lean proteins (such as fish and chicken), whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- Use herbs: Consider using herbal supplements because they contain phytochemicals for alleviating anxiety symptoms. Under herbal remedies for anxiety, you can avail herbal supplements that are available in varied forms – such as tinctures and capsules. Chamomile, lavender, and kava kava – all are effective herbs for treating anxiety.
- Homeopathy for anxiety: In homeopathic remedies for anxiety, consult your homeopathy doctor for homeopathy medicines, which are free of side effects, safe and cost-effective.
- Think of availing weighted blankets: People who are sleep deficient remain susceptible to a variety of disorders – with the inclusion of anxiety, among other mental disorders. For catching up on their lost sleep and reducing their anxiety levels, they should consider using weighted or gravity blankets when they are sleeping. Weighted blankets work on Deep Touch Pressure principles and can effectively reduce anxiety pangs. Read more about the benefits of using a weighted blanket here.
- Engage in stress management activities: For relieving stress, maintaining a positive attitude is a good recommendation. Other than that, asserting your feelings rather than becoming aggressive helps. Further, you must learn to let go of matters that are beyond your control. Under stress management activities, opt for tai-chi and yoga to bring down your stress levels. For example the Butterfly Hug is a form of bilateral stimulation used as a grounding technique. This technique has been proven to be highly effective for anxiety, stress and feeling overwhelmed.
- Consider the option of stress relief gifts: Among gifts for people with anxiety, consider a panda squishy that is squeezable and helps to relieve frustration. Other stress relief gifts that are available include lavender room spray for anxiety relief through relaxing the body and helping to sleep soundly.
FAQs about Anxiety and Stress
Does stress cause constipation?
If you suffer from high-stress levels, the body releases greater amounts of stress hormones. In turn, you complain of gastrointestinal issues, including constipation.
Can anxiety cause heartburn?
Stressful events heighten your sensitivity to refluxed acid, lowering your threshold for pain and raising the severity of heartburn symptoms. Additionally, stress increases your sensitivity to pain arising due to heartburn.
Do anxiety disorders go away?
In cases of mild anxiety, the disorder symptoms alleviate on their own after the episode causing the anxiety passes. Though, chronic anxiety symptoms persist and do not go away on their own and worsen over time. Consult an experienced anxiety specialist for treating your frequent anxiety pangs.
Does anxiety make you dizzy?
One of the common symptoms of anxiety stress is dizziness where the person experiences a sense of wooziness or light-headedness. Often, dizziness is caused by vestibular disorders that bear relation to anxiety. Work with your Physical Therapist to learn more about how your vestibular system functions and managing the distressing situations better.
Can anxiety cause migraines?
Many anxiety sufferer experience that anxiety or stress can lead to migraines if you do not sleep well.
Does anxiety cause nausea?
Anxiety is part of your body’s reaction to stress, causing physical and psychological symptoms. You may experience churning of the stomach where you might head to the bathroom. Vomiting and dry heaving are related to anxiety-related nausea as well.
Can anxiety cause back pain?
Back pain constitutes an anxiety symptom. Anxiety causes changes in your breathing patterns, leading to strain in the mid-back. Also, hunching your shoulders gives rise to pain across your upper and middle back.
Can stress cause acne?
Stress contributes to acne breakouts because of the release of stress hormones by the body. In turn, the stress hormones cause alterations in your pores and lead to a spike in skin oil production which causes acne.
Can anxiety cause chest pain?
Frequent anxiety attacks cause chest pain because of an increase in heart rate and the force of your heartbeat becoming stronger. Also, the person experiences shortness of breath and tightness of chest muscles which leads to chest pain.
Can anxiety cause dizziness?
Anxiety and Vestibular disorders go hand-in-hand. Now, dizziness is one of the symptoms of vestibular disorders. Thus, persons who are suffering from anxiety could experience dizziness or light-headedness.
Can anxiety cause fever?
Fever is a symptom of anxiety; the body’s temperature changes when inundated by anxiousness. As a stress response, the blood vessels constrict and restrict blood flow to the skin, causing the person to feel chilly or cold. So, yes, anxiety can cause the person to become feverish.
Can anxiety kill you?
You may feel like you’re going to die during a full-blown anxiety attack. Breathing troubles, skin flushing, heart beating rapidly, and chest pain – all can make you feel faint. Though, anxiety attacks do not cause death, even though you feel overwhelmingly terrified.