I, for one, would love it if my blog post title was a typo and this piece was about how to STOP anxiety. Wouldn’t that be brilliant?
But, it’s ‘How To Spot Anxiety’ because, like all mental health issues, it’s something that we humans are all too happy to ignore or brush under the carpet.
You may be one of the lucky members of the population that suffers neither stress, anxiety, or, any other mental health issue. However, I’m willing to bet that you know someone that isn’t so fortunate.
I don’t say unlucky as I’ve heard somewhere that some creative and business people do their best work while under pressure. I wish I was one of them but alas I’m not. You’re more likely to find me hiding under the desk with sweaty palms than thriving in a stressful situation.
The good people at Kalms have put together an infographic and video to help us spot the signs of anxiety. I notice several symptoms already in my repertoire.
I had a weekend of anxious thoughts as it revolved around my partner’s children. We get on brilliantly; they are not the cause of my stress levels being on high alert just to be clear!
However, at events both on Saturday and Sunday we had to also spend time with the partner’s ex-wife. This was the first time of meeting her properly. Therefore the first time of being prepared to find out if she really was the awful creature my lovely boyfriend and his friends portray. (I do take a little comfort in the fact they say I’m the most ‘normal’ girlfriend he’s ever had!) Both days were busy and the 2 main incidences were crowded places which is never a good combination for me!
Everyone was very polite which was what I was hoping for but certain things were said and done which trigger my nerves and though I don’t think she or the children picked up on my small reactions, he did.
We spoke about it once the children were back home on Sunday night. All is well but I know he feels I should be able to control being so sensitive. I, of course, in turn, think he should be more accepting of my state of mind.
I also feel that, at 11 and 14, the children are old enough to be spoken to in quite an adult way about health and well-being. Therefore I’ve told him that I’m happy to talk to them honestly if I have a little panic attack or something in their presence.
My go-to little helper on these occasions, as I think I’ve mentioned before when I’ve written about my anxiety, is Bach’s Rescue Remedy but I’m curious about the new lavender supplement from Kalms too now.
Research into the uniquely prepared, pharmaceutical quality lavender oil – which is the active ingredient found only in Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules in the UK-suggests that it can reduce the overstimulation of nerve cells leading to an improvement in symptoms of anxiety.
I also use breathing techniques to help me calm down once I’ve got het up, as, trust me, if you’re having a mini meltdown in a public place, you want it over with as soon as possible!
Stress and anxiety – Do you know the difference?
The terms stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably, but can you recognise the differences? The term stress usually describes feelings experienced when the demands made on an individual are greater than their ability to manage. We often know precisely what it is we are feeling stressed about, e.g. starting a new job, sitting an exam or attending an interview.
But, anxiety is an unease about something with an uncertain outcome – and that unease can exist even when the cause of the worry is gone. Symptoms of anxiety include feelings of worry, apprehension and uncertainty. Sufferers might find they are worrying all the time, perhaps about things that are a regular part of everyday life or things that are unlikely to happen – or even worrying about worrying! Anxiety can also affect the body, causing issues such as a racing heartbeat, nausea, headaches, and muscle tension.
Anxiety can become problematic when it is excessive or present over a long period of time. Long term, anxiety can impact on quality of life and wellbeing.
The Anxiety Imbalance
Anxiety symptoms can occur when nerve cells in the brain become over stimulated. This is due to the excessive release of neurotransmitters – the brains chemical messengers – such as dopamine and adrenaline. This leads to hyperactive nerves which are excessively ‘switched on’ – an imbalance which can result in symptoms of anxiety.
There’s some debate over whether the things I feel are stress or anxiety. Personally, I equate them as one and the same thing. However, I am only too aware that the word stress is more likely to be attributed to the strong, and, anxiety to the weak. This does very little to help the cause of getting people to talk about the root of their troubles.
There is nothing either strong or weak about stress and anxiety, they are both simply part of the human condition. Nothing to be ashamed of and everything deserving of help.
You may get your help through talking, medicine, meditation, or simply grabbing a loved one for a hug. You’re entitled to a little help if you’re struggling.
Would you know how to spot anxiety?
How do you help yourself get through it?
*Collaborative post. I received no reimbursement for this blog post; as an anxiety sufferer I just wanted to help raise awareness of this important issue. Amazon link is affiliated.