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Anxiety: Knowing the Symptoms and How to Manage it

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 10:45 AM

Anxiety is a common mental illness. However, many don’t know they have it and millions of people can go undiagnosed. The feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious are common among those with this illness. These feelings can start to impact different daily activities or even relationships. How can you know when you are showing signs of anxiety?

Mother and Daughter discussing anxiety

Common symptoms and signs of anxiety are:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending panic or doom
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating and trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired and having difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems or muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

If you are showing some of those signs or symptoms, how can you manage anxiety? Lara Jakobsons, PhD, Psychologist at NorthShore, shares these tips:

  • Work with a therapist or physician if your anxiety is upsetting you or is difficult to control.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Write in a journal about when you’re feeling anxious and what you’re thinking at that time to look for a pattern.
  • Maintain a balanced attitude. Try your best to replace negative thoughts with more balanced, realistic ones.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine. These can aggravate anxiety and possibly trigger panic attacks. Instead, try decaf or drink water.
  • Take a time out. Practice yoga, meditate, learn some relaxation techniques or download a relaxation app. These strategies allow you to step back from problems, clear your head, decrease muscle tension and help you to stay in the present moment.
  • Invest in a self-help book that can help you find more ways to manage your anxiety.

Some of these tips may not work for everyone. Talk to your physician to find more coping techniques that work well for you.