World Health Day: Useful ways to understand anxiety symptoms and identify triggers
Every year on 7th of April, World Health Day is celebrated to promote awareness about health and well-being. There is no health without mental well-being!
Every year on 7th of April, World Health Day is celebrated to promote awareness about health and well-being. There is no health without mental well-being! Anxiety is one of the leading concerns that is affecting mental health these days. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful challenges and can be beneficial in some cases. One may feel anxious before a test, walking down a dark street or waiting for any kind of results. This kind of anxiety is useful and can make us alert and productive. It can also help us prepare ourselves in the face of danger. Such type of anxiety usually fades once we are out of the situation.
For many individuals, anxiety can stay longer and could worsen over time, thereby negatively affecting their ability to function efficiently on a daily basis. Samar Hafeez, a Psychologist and a Certified holistic health coach, helps us look at some of the associated symptoms of such anxiety and identify anxiety triggers.
Physical symptoms- Muscle tension and twitching, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating, breathing heavily (hyperventilation), dizziness, cold chills, hot flashes, abdominal discomfort related to constipation, hyperacidity or diarrhoea, frequent urination, sudden weight loss and headaches.
Emotional symptoms- Restlessness, feeling jumpy, anger outbursts, nervousness, irritability.
Cognitive symptoms- Recurrent intrusive thoughts, poor concentration and memory, poor judgement, apprehension, negative thoughts.
How to identify anxiety triggers
It is important for you to identify anxiety triggers, as anxiety could be triggered due to numerous reasons. Work-related frustrations, relationship problems, conflicts at school, college or home, health problems, pregnancy, medications and finances could be some of the major contributors.
You can also fill an Anxious Thought Awareness (ATA) diary/notepad in your cell, which includes all your anxious and negative thoughts, this helps in keeping a track of unhelpful thoughts on a daily basis.
Clinical tip- Do a quick less than minute check on your breathing pattern by placing a hand on your chest, if breathing involves extensive movement of the chest, instead of your abdomen then, it is an indicator that you are under some kind of stress/anxiety.
Using diaphragmatic breathing to subdue symptoms
Breathing exercises are simple to learn and give relatively quick results. An anxious person takes small, shallow breaths, using his/her shoulders/chest rather than his/her diaphragm. In addition, practicing 7-minute belly-breathing or diaphragmatic breathing gives some time to process the anxiety-provoking situation. It is scientifically proven that deep breathing techniques can send calming signals and increase blood flow to the brain, thereby increasing attention and focus.
Coping with anxiety can be a challenge. If you are still unable to manage anxiety symptoms on your own, then seek professional help.