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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Anxiety: What is it and how to cope with it?

The times have proven difficult for most of us, with the raging pandemic and work/study from home conditions. In these trying circumstances, researchers have seen a hike in stress and anxiety-related issues, especially among the youth. Whether you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or are freshly experiencing a simple increase in your agitation, this article might prove helpful in understanding this rather common but distressing issue. Let us start by looking at what exactly does anxiety feel or look like.

What is anxiety?

Simply put, anxiety is excessive and persistent worry about one’s circumstances or future. In each person, it displays itself in different forms and levels of severity but the core issue remains the same. It can be felt as uneasiness, restlessness, dread or fear. Let’s say, you have an important exam to take. In this situation, anxiety caused by stress is a natural human response. It is when this response becomes distressful and hampers daily functioning is when we have an issue. The physical symptoms of anxiety are easy to spot. They include –

  • Fidgeting
  • Feeling irritable or easily annoyed
  • Feeling restless or agitated
  • Self-comforting behaviours like shaking your leg
  • Not being able to sit still
  • Nail biting or picking at your hair
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These symptoms are often accompanied by fear or worry, as previously mentioned, and a sense of losing control. The trouble with sleep and often feeling tired also indicate a certain level of anxiousness.

How to manage anxiety?

Although many would advocate medication for handling severe anxiety, actual lifestyle changes go a long, long way than that. Just by practising a few healthy habits, you can manage your stress or anxiety levels at home.

Exercise. Working out or simply moving your body releases natural endorphins which help alleviate the mood. Going to the gym, dancing or aerobics are some good options.

Ditch caffeine. Excessive coffee or drinks containing high amounts of caffeine may cause a surge in anxiousness and make you jittery. Replacing these with natural juices may help in the long run.

Practice deep breathing or meditation. Meditating and regulating your breath every day has scientifically proven to be helpful in achieving a calmer and clearer state of mind.

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Get sufficient sleep. While sleeping may be disturbed by anxiety, practising good sleep hygiene will slowly but definitely set your biological clock right.

In the end, while anxiety might seem overwhelming at times, it is always manageable and the control is in your hands.

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