In stressful situations we all get anxious, and that's completely normal. If we have money worries or a sick loved one we feel stressed and worried.
If we see an item on TV that is disturbing, such as a terror attack, we feel horror, temporary distress and dismay, yet we continue with our activities and can put it out of our minds.
However, some people may see the same item on TV and suffer considerably more distress and worry. They may be up all night worrying about what to do if such an attack came to their town, and this worry can go on for days. This type of ongoing, all-over anxiety is called generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
If you experience this level of anxiety, you feel worried about many things. You worry about your finances, your family, your car, your pets, literally anything can cause concern. Sometimes even thinking about how to get through your day makes you feel anxious. This is mentally and physically exhausting.
Can I control my anxiety?
There is a light out of the tunnel though. You are in control of your anxiety. Over time, with improved self-control, coping strategies and changes in lifestyle, you will be able to either remove your anxiety completely, or manage it down so much that it is a minor inconvenience at best.
Your doctor or medical professional will be able to recommend a strategy tailored for you, but many people prefer to learn anxiety self-help strategies and tackle things on their own. This is completely understandable - anxiety and stressful feelings are a very personal experience.
Why am I anxious right now?
Anxiety can be contributed to by a number of factors, but is often the result of built up stress over a long period. The causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood. Traumatic life experiences can trigger a disorder in people who already suffer from anxiety.
In some cases an underlying health issue can be linked to anxiety and related symptoms, but this is not usally the case for generalised anxiety disorder. Medical problems that have been linked to anxiety include heart conditions, diabetes, respiratory disorders, chronic pain, drug abuse and withdrawl symptoms, withdrawl from alcohol or other medications.
It is possible for anxiety to be a side effect of certain medications.
For many people suffering from anxiety, stress is the primary factor. However, the cause and types of stress are unique to each person and can vary significantly. Some people can be overwhelmed by small stresses in their environment such as fears about germs, cleanliness, things being out of place or not done in the correct order. Other people are affected by only one fear, or just a small number, but these can be just as debilitating.
What can I do to learn more about dealing with anxiety?
If you or a loved one are affected, looking for help with anxiety can feel like you're trying to climb a mountain - that you have such a huge task to get well. I can share from personal experience that some of the strategies and lifestyle changes you can put in place can bring rapid improvement - in hours and days, not weeks and months. You may need many steps to fully banish your anxiety, but you can start taking back control of your life from the start.