April 02, 2016

Beating anxiety and stress

Anxiety is your body’s response to Stress it is a coping mechanism designed to help you deal with that stress. While experiencing anxiety may be normal during stressful times, if unchecked, it can develope into an excessive and irrational dread of everyday situations which then interferes with your daily activities.

Types of anxiety disorder Excessive worrying may be a symptom of Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder.

Symptoms Aside from experiencing overwhelming worry, all types of anxiety disorder display similar symptoms such as: Fast Heart Rate Difficulty Concentrating Fatigue / Trouble falling or staying asleep Muscle tension Feeling out of breath / Rapid breathing Nausea / Dry mouth / Problems swallowing Diarrhoea Restlessness / Startling easily Headaches / Dizziness Excessive irritability

Causes of Anxiety disorder While anxiety disorders are mental conditions that may not be completely understood, many different factors and day to day situations can spark the onset of an anxiety disorder, such as: Irregular levels of brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine Genetics Environmental stress Being female / Hormone fluctuations Health condition such as heart or lung disease, thyroid problems or dietary problems Substance use

Also situations such as: Starting a new job or school, moving to a new home, getting married, having a child, breaking up of a relationship.

Treatment Many cases of anxiety disorder respond well to therapies such as Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Psychological counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, during these therapies any negative and unhealthy thoughts and behaviours that contribute to your anxiety are identified and replaced with healthy and positive beliefs. Relaxation techniques such as visualization, meditation, tai - chi and yoga can also help reduce stress. These methods are easy to learn and may be practiced wherever and whenever you need to relieve anxiety. Check with your healthcare provider to see if any drugs or medicines you are taking can cause anxiety. Making the following adjustments in your lifestyle may also help manage anxiety and prevent ordinary worries from turning into a more serious disorder: Exercise daily Decreased levels of the brain chemical serotonin have been associated with depression. Exercise increases serotonin levels which help treat anxiety by lifting your mood and improving sleep quality. Generally, you may feel better after exercise because physical activity also releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins and lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Start slowly and gradually and aim at exercising at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week to eliminate anxiety. Maintain a healthy diet Stress may lead to loss of appetite or unhealthy food cravings. Unhealthy eating habits can deprive your brain of nutrients such as B-Vitamins and essential fatty acids which it needs to maintain normal levels of brain chemicals that help you cope with anxiety. Studies show that the B-Vitamins support the availability and production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Research has also shown that there is a close link between high consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids and lower rates of depression. Increase your intake of foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, flaxseed, and walnut and canola oil. You can also get B-Vitamins from natural food sources like egg yolks, organ meat, legumes and nuts. Eat fresh organic unprocessed produce whenever possible. Avoid alcohol and tobacco and Practise relaxation techniques.

While stress and anxiety may be inevitable in our daily lives, making lifestyle changes or getting appropriate therapy may help you manage anxiety so that you can get the most out of life.