Bhave Institute of Mental Health

Bhave Institute of Mental Health

Let’s talk about anxiety

In today’s world, thanks to a growing awareness, words like anxiety and depression are being heard quite commonly. But what exactly does it mean to have anxiety? Many people who suffer from anxiety often don’t realise what is happening to them till symptoms become unmanageable or the person is unable to handle their daily life well.

How can anxiety manifest itself?

Most people know that anxiety can be felt as excessive nervousness, restlessness, uneasiness or being worried about trivial things. But these aren’t the only symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety could mean avoiding social situations, second guessing your behaviour or your decisions, imagining that others are making fun of you or don’t want to be with you and feeling low on confidence. If you have been consistently having trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, feelings of guilt and shame or constant feeling of being on an edge, you could be suffering from anxiety.

Sometimes anxiety can also present in the form of physical difficulties like breathlessness, a racing heart or palpitations, dry mouth, tremors in hands, headache, sweating, abdominal complaints like acidity, bloating, belching, nausea, loose motions or loss of appetite, skin problems like flaring up of psoriasis, eczema etc.

Anxiety can be generalised i.e., present constantly or it can be specific to some situations like performance anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, panic attacks, phobias etc.

What are the potential outcomes of suffering from anxiety?

Anxiety leads to self-doubt and lowering one’s confidence in one’s own abilities. People are then often unable to realise their own potential. This falling short of expectations from self and of others reinforces the feelings of anxiety and this vicious cycle sometimes becomes hard to break.

Being anxious often makes people engage in people-pleasing behaviour and constantly seeking reassurance from others. Such persons have trouble being assertive. They can find themselves becoming victims of peer pressure.

Anxious people are more likely to pick up on other people’s negative emotions and facial expressions (especially anger).

What to do when anxiety strikes?

Being aware of anxiety and catching it early helps. Talking to a trusted person and unburdening yourself helps. You need to be aware that you are probably more hypervigilant about your flaws than required. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes facing the feared situation repeatedly helps you handle it better. Some useful affirmations of anxiety can be “it feels like this feeling will never pass but I know it will” or “I have survived this feeling before and I will survive it again”. Regularly practising stress reducing rituals like meditation, deep

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