If you’re feeling anxious, you’re not alone.
For many people, anxiety is a part of life that can be difficult to control.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults over the age of 18. That’s nearly 20% of the population!
Anxiety can have a significant impact on your life. It can interfere with work, school, and your relationships. If you’re struggling to manage your anxiety, you may be looking for ways to break the cycle.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common questions about anxiety-what it is, how to break the cycle, and how to let go of this feeling.
What Is Anxiety?
Have you ever felt nervous or anxious about an upcoming event? Maybe you’re worried about a job interview, a first date, or giving a presentation. These are all common examples of anxiety.
Anxiety (also referred to as chronic worrying) is a normal human emotion that we all experience from time to time. It’s our body’s way of preparing us for a challenge or threat.
For example, if you’re about to give a speech, your heart may start to race, and you may begin to sweat. This is your body’s natural fight-or-flight response and can be helpful in certain situations.
However, anxiety can become more than just an occasional feeling for some people. It can be constant and overwhelming, interfering with your daily life. When this happens, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional.
Symptoms of Anxiety
There are many different symptoms of anxiety. Some people may only experience a few, while others may experience many. The severity of your symptoms will also vary.
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak or tired
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking about anything other than the anxious thoughts
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Avoiding situations that trigger anxiety
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you determine if your symptoms are due to anxiety or another condition.
Causes of Anxiety
Many different factors can contribute to anxiety. It often occurs when we feel like we’re not in control of a situation. For example, you may feel anxious about an upcoming test if you’re not confident in your ability to pass.
Other common causes of anxiety include:
- Stressful life events, such as divorce, job loss, or the death of a loved one
- A history of trauma or abuse
- A family history of anxiety or other mental health disorders
- Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid problems, heart disease, or diabetes
- Substance abuse
Anxiety can also be caused by certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure or heart conditions. If you think your medication makes your anxiety worse, talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dose or switch you to a different medication.
How to Break the Cycle of Anxiety: 7 Proven Wellness Tips
If you’re struggling with anxiety, you may feel stuck in a never-ending cycle of anxious thoughts and feelings. But there are things you can do to break the cycle and find relief.
Here are seven tips to help you get started:
Identify and Understand Your Triggers
One of the first steps to breaking the anxiety cycle is identifying your triggers. What situations or events make you feel anxious? Once you know your triggers, you can start to avoid them or find ways to cope with them.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) recommends keeping a journal to track your anxiety symptoms. This can help you identify patterns and triggers.
An anxiety journal can also be a helpful tool for your mental health professional. They can use it to track your progress and tailor treatment to your needs.
Talk Your Way Out of Anxiety
Let’s say you’re about to give a presentation at work. You’re feeling anxious, and your heart is racing. One way to calm yourself down is to talk yourself through it.
Tell yourself that you’re prepared and that you can do this. Remind yourself of the past events when you’ve felt anxious and made it through just fine. This can help you gain confidence and ease your anxiety.
You can also use positive self-talk to cope with anxiety at the moment. For example, if you’re feeling anxious about a social event, tell yourself that you’re a great person and that people will like you. This can help you relax and release some of the anxious energy you’re feeling.
If you can’t seem to talk yourself out of anxiety, ask a friend or family member for support. They can help you reframe your thoughts and offer reassurance.
Bring Your Attention Back to the Present Moment
Anxiety is often caused by worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. You may worry about an upcoming event or a situation that’s out of your control. This can make it hard to enjoy the present moment.
One way to break the cycle of anxiety is to bring your attention back to the present moment. This can be done through mindfulness practices like meditation or yoga.
Mindfulness involves focusing on your breath and the present moment. It can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Regular mindfulness practice can help you feel calmer and more in control. It can also ease anxiety symptoms and improve your overall well-being.
So practice mindfulness every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You may find it helpful to download a mindfulness app or participate in a guided meditation.
Challenge Your Anxious Thoughts
The vast majority of chronic worriers tend to have one thing in common: They believe their anxious thoughts are true. But this isn’t always the case.
Anxious thoughts often contain inaccuracies and exaggerations. For example, you may worry that you will fail an important test. But this is unlikely to happen if you’ve studied hard and are confident in your abilities.
The first step to challenging your anxious thoughts is to identify them. Write down your worries or anxious thoughts in a journal. Once you’ve identified them, you can start to challenge them.
For each worry, ask yourself:
- Is this thought based on facts or my opinion?
- What evidence do I have that this thought is true?
- Is there another way to look at this situation?
Answering these questions can help you see your chronic anxiety in a new light. It can also help you develop more realistic and helpful ways of thinking.
Take a Deep Breath
When you’re feeling anxious, your nervous system goes into overdrive. This can lead to a racing heart, shallow breathing, and muscle tension. Your anxious thought may feel more intense when your body is in this state.
One way to calm your nervous system is to take a deep breath. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of four. Then, breathe out through your mouth for a count of four. Repeat this process until you feel more relaxed.
Deep breathing can help you control your anxiety and ease your symptoms. It’s a simple practice, but it can make a big difference.
Stop Worrying About What Other People Think
If you’re a chronic worrier, you may spend much time worrying about what other people think of you. You may be afraid of being judged or rejected.
This fear can be paralyzing, making it hard to live your life. But the truth is, you can’t control what other people think of you. And their opinion of you doesn’t have to define you.
The next time you worry about what other people think, remind yourself that you don’t have control over their negative thoughts. Focus on what you can control, which is your own opinion of yourself.
Interrupt Your Anxious Thoughts
When you’re feeling anxious, your mind may feel like it’s on a constant loop. Your anxious thoughts can quickly become overwhelming.
To break the cycle of anxiety, you need to find a way to interrupt the constant flow of anxious thoughts. One of the most effective ways to do this is to focus on something else.
Try to find an activity that you can do that requires your full attention. This could be something like reading, playing an instrument, or working on a puzzle.
When you focus on something else, your mind will have a chance to rest, and you’ll be able to break the cycle of anxiety.
When to See a Medical or Mental Health Professional
If your anxiety is severe or impacts your ability to live your life, you may need to seek professional help.
There are many effective treatments for anxiety, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy and medication. A mental health professional can help you identify the proper treatment for you.
Anxiety is a common and treatable condition. But left untreated, it can have a significant impact on your life. According to Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School), anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States.
If you’re thinking about seeing a medical or mental health professional, there are a few things you can do to prepare.
- Write down your symptoms and how they affect your life.
- Make a list of questions to ask the professional.
- Find out if the professional has experience treating anxiety.
If you’re thinking about seeking professional help for your anxiety, remember that you’re not alone. Millions of people suffer from anxiety, and many effective treatments are available. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you’re struggling.
Can You Just Let Go of Anxiety?
It’s not always possible to simply let go of anxiety. But there are things you can do to reduce your anxiety and improve your quality of life. Some people find that deep breathing, mindfulness, and other relaxation techniques can help them control their anxiety. Others may need to seek professional help.
What Is the 333 Rule for Anxiety?
The 333 rule is a way to help you control your anxiety. It involves naming three things you can see, three sounds you can hear, and moving three parts of your body. This can help ground you in the present moment and interrupt the cycle of anxious thoughts.
How Do I Break My Anxiety Cycle?
The easiest way to break your anxiety cycle is to have a reality check. This means looking at your anxiety from a different perspective. Most people with anxiety tend to overestimate the danger of a situation, and they underestimate their ability to cope. Reality checking can help you see your anxiety for what it really is.
What Is at the Root of Anxiety?
There is no one cause of anxiety. It can be triggered by various factors, including stress, genetics, and life experiences. But anxiety is also a normal part of life. It’s only when it becomes excessive and interferes with your daily life that it becomes a problem.
What Does Crippling Anxiety Feel Like?
The symptoms of crippling anxiety can vary from person to person. But some common symptoms include feelings of panic, dread, and overwhelming fear. Crippling anxiety can make it difficult to function in everyday life. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s vital to seek professional help.
While letting go of anxiety can be difficult, it’s not impossible. There are things you can do to stop feeling anxious. If you’re struggling to control your anxiety, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are many effective treatments available.