Why does anxiety rock your world?

A person blocking their face with their hands outstretched to the camera

Anxiety is the feeling of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear. It is an emotion that everyone experiences, but for some, it may be more extreme.

Anxiety affects people in many different ways. For some, it can cause excessive worry or lead to panic attacks. It could also cause someone to have racing thoughts, difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and headaches.

Regardless of whether the person has a neurological condition or not, anxiety can be detrimental to anyone’s health. But anxiety is a normal, healthy emotion that is experienced by everyone at one point or another.

How fear and anxiety interact

Fear is the feeling of danger, whilst anxiety is the feeling of uncertainty. Many people experience anxiety as a response to a stressful situation, like sensory overload or to something that is going on in their lives, or even just a lack of control over their own mental well-being.

Anxiety can be completely debilitating and can cause a person to have a chronic feeling that the world is out to get them. It may manifest as a constant worry about work, family, finances, health, or anything else.

Anxiety is a feeling that everyone experiences, but for some it may be more extreme. The important thing to remember is that no one enjoys feeling anxious and that everyone’s feelings are valid.

The effect of anxiety on the body

Anxiety can make the heart beat faster, cause breathlessness, and make a person feel like they are on the verge of a panic attack. When an individual feels anxious, their fight or flight response may go into overdrive, which can make anything from an everyday situation to a challenging event seem more daunting.

The body reacts with a fear response as if it’s in danger or threatened by something, even when there’s no actual reason for it.

Once anxiety has taken over the body may go into one of these states:

  • Flight mode – where there is a strong urge to run away
  • Fight mode – reflexes in the body take over and you feel mentally stronger
  • Freeze mode – the body becomes paralysed and is unable to function at all

Some triggers that can cause anxiety

  • Lack of sleep
  • Stressful life events
  • Negative thinking patterns
  • Stress
  • Phobias
  • Sensory overload

Many people who suffer from anxiety have a hard time living their lives due to the intense and debilitating thoughts that come with it. Some of these thoughts are about the world itself, such as how it is going to end or why there is so much suffering, whilst for others, their thoughts are much more personal, and related to aspects of daily life.

Ways to manage your anxiety :

  • Talking about it – the ability to talk about anxiety is an important aspect of living with anxiety
  • Physical activity such as yoga or aerobic exercise. Exercise helps get rid of anxiety by helping to improve moods and sensitivity to the environment
  • Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing
  • Practising positive thinking or affirmations. Affirmations are statements that when spoken can embed in the subconscious mind. For example “I’m smart, powerful and beautiful”
  • Eat healthily to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Where possible avoid things that trigger anxiety
  • Take medicine if prescribed by a doctor
  • Get plenty of fresh air