Have you ever gotten out of a test and suddenly the headache you didn’t realize you had suddenly disappears? Or perhaps your jaw finally unclenches after a good hour of teeth grinding, leaving you with an aching jaw. When my anxiety levels are high, I get fidgety, my attention span is nonexistent, and a tension headache builds. If it goes on long enough, my appetite completely disappears and I have to force myself to not skip meals.
Do you know how your body portrays anxiety?
You might be wondering: why does it matter? Everyone has anxiety.
And your right, most people report being anxious or worried about something at any given time. The Anxiety and Depression Association report that anxiety disorders are one of the most common of mental illnesses, affecting 18% of the adult population in the America (source article:https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics). If you aren’t aware, anxiety disorders extend past the well-known general anxiety disorder (also known as GAD) or social anxiety disorder, but also includes specific phobia (meaning that a phobia of a specific thing is developed, i.e agoraphobia or chionophobia), and panic disorders.
Some anxiety is normal – even a good thing.
Even with general anxiety disorder, there always seems to be a million different things to be worried or anxious about – despite that aproximately 85% of what we worry about actually never happens (source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/don-joseph-goewey-/85-of-what-we-worry-about_b_8028368.html). Though, before we can completely write off all anxiety as pointless – how much anxiety was “undue” because the anxiety caused us to do preventive measures that resulted in the worrisome possible scenerio to never develop is under question. If you are anxious about a final exam in a class – you are more likely to study for that exam. This raises your chances of passing that exam, and if you do, than failing the exam, the thing you were worried about in the first place, doesn’t take place.
Everything, especially anxiety, in moderation.
But being overly anxious is dangerous – as Doctor Hellerstein explains in his article on Psychology Today, depression and anxiety disorders can be the cause of brain abnormalities or be the cause of the abnormalities (source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/heal-your-brain/201107/depression-and-anxiety-disorders-damage-your-brain-especially-when).
Okay, so this can be bad – so what do I do?
If you are feeling anxious (as I’m sure a lot of people are feeling the pressure as final exams creep even closer), take time to take care of your mental and emotional health. Practice self care (resources can be found in my previous blog : Learning to Say No: An Aspect of Self-Care) . If you get to anxious, it isn’t uncommon that the anxiety actually causes us to freeze – unable to work anything, causing the anxiety to sky rocket and become worse. When this happens, take a break – take care of yourself. Watch some t.v, read a pure pleasure book, knit, go for a walk/run, color/draw, practice some spirituality for an hour, or meditate, which can be silent meditation or guided, as the following video demonstrates.
Self-Care is Important – But so is Action
In addition to self-care, it is also important to make sure you don’t procrastinate and push off addressing the things/tasks that are causing your anxiety. Lastly, I also invite you to, as the titles says, “invite anxiety to tea”. What do I mean by this? What I mean is sometimes the best way to deal with anxiety is to meet it head on. If you don’t confront your anxiety and resolve (either by yourself or with the help of a professional) it can grow and become a bigger a problem.