We all get a little stir in our souls sometimes. Maybe you’re anticipating the birth of your child, an examination looms over you and is fast approaching, or you’re going to have that one long talk with your boss. That feeling of your skin crawling, your hands shaking, or your palms getting sweaty is what you would call anxiety.
Anxiety by itself is quite normal. People have all experienced some form of anxiety one time or the other. You feel it after moving office or changing your job, waiting for an important email, or a response from a person you asked out to the prom. In other words, anxiety is normal because it’s the human body’s natural response to pressure and stress. It’s what fear feels like or your anticipation of the outcome of an event.
However, when you think that your anxiety is too much to bear and you can’t find a therapist as well, you might as well start talking to people about it. So, if you’re feeling anxious these days, keep reading this article to learn about when anxiety isn’t normal and why it’s important to talk about it.
When is anxiety not normal?
The only time that anxiety isn’t normal is when it happens to you all the time even if you’re supposed to be having the time of your life. While ordinary anxiety is something that just comes and goes, an anxiety disorder is a more intense version that can be outright debilitating. You might stop doing your hobbies or even create fears that you never knew you had.
For instance, you might find yourself freezing at the crosswalk, refusing to enter an elevator, or, in a more extreme case, you would never want to leave your house even for the most basic of needs. If this is the kind of anxiety you suffer from, you require treatment. Fortunately, there are many ways you can seek rehabilitation. The internet is rife with the contact details of various clinics and professionals, which is why finding them could be done with a simple web search.
First identify your symptoms
Anxiety comes with myriad symptoms. But commonly, those with this unshakable, intense kind of nervousness would exhibit the following:
- Digestive/Appetite Problems
- Profuse Sweating
- Muscle Tension
- Unexplained Body Aches
- Feelings of fear, dread, or panic
Now that you know what the symptoms of anxiety are and when it’s not normal, the next step is to get familiar with the reasons why you should talk about your anxiety to another person.
Reasons why Why it is important to talk about your anxiety
1. To know your triggers and distract yourself
Observe what causes you to have such anxiety attacks. It could be a part of your morning routine, something you do subconsciously, or going to a specific part of your house or a website you visit. The purpose behind identifying these triggers isn’t just to know what to avoid, but what you can control. Let’s go back to one of the examples mentioned here: your morning routine.
If, for example, brushing your teeth and looking into the mirror makes you anxious, try walking around as you brush your teeth. The walking could prove to be more relaxing than you think.
To keep yourself from being anxious, you may also try switching up a few things in your everyday life. Trying something new and exercising would be ways of moving forward. Take regular walks outside your house, run or jog if you have to. If you have a set of weights, lift them.
Other factors that could intensify or trigger your anxiety may be substances you ingest. If you smoke, cut down on smoking or quit if you can. If vaping makes you feel stressed out, put the vape down. If you drink caffeine, minimize your intake. Sometimes a change of environment and pace can help you identify what sets you off and what puts you at peace.
One way you can keep track of this is by making a journal for your anxiety attacks. While motivation at this point is difficult, you have to try and keep track of what makes you anxious. Write the date and time that you started to feel anxious. When you’re calmer than you were while writing, you can go back and read about what made you feel uneasy.
Understanding your own anxiety is one way you can help yourself and it can be a good talking point when you choose to open up.
2. Receive Support from People Whom You Are Close to
If you confide in the presence of your friends and family, speaking about your experiences with anxiety can give them a more open mind. As your anxiety grows, uncertainty accompanies it, so you’ll need people who can hear you out. They might be able to encourage you from feeling like the world’s going to end all the time or stop you from constant worry. If anything, speaking to them is a start in building up your own self-confidence. Because they’re people whom you trust, they most likely know you and won’t judge or even shame you for being anxious.
Consider this to be an opportunity for them to understand you better, too. If you ease them in on your situation, you can slowly strengthen your bonds with them as they’ll know what you’re afraid of, what they can do to help you when the feeling gets too strong, and how they can keep you company when you’re on edge. Naturally, this means that they’ll understand not to do or say certain things that could upset you. Being honest and open with them is the key to all this as they may make compromises when they interact with you.
Then, when you feel that it’s appropriate, go and tell them everything you feel—how your day went, what dreams you had that night, what you felt when you started talking to them, so on and so forth. It’ll always feel good to have someone to listen to you and understand how you feel.
3. Talking about it can make you feel more confident about yourself
After speaking with friends and family, you might want to try assessing yourself. Give yourself a scoring system where 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest.
If your self-confidence is at a 1, then assess what is making you feel like a 1. Ask yourself what you should do to bring that self-confidence up a notch. If talking to your friends and family or spending time with them boosts those levels, then by any means, go do that. It’s always better that you look out for yourself first before getting other people to look out for you. After all, you don’t want to look too dependent on their eyes.
You could also write down what made you feel at ease and why it made you feel good. Could it be a compliment from a friend? A peaceful moment of quiet? Understand these things, too, and you should be able to gradually conquer your anxiety. Also, in keeping this journal, you might be able to share with your friends and family accurate instances of your experiences. This way, you won’t struggle remembering what happened and they might grow more compassionate to your needs.
4. You will know what/who you need
Based on what you might have written in your anxiety journal, you might be able to figure out and piece together what you need to get you through your moments. You might be looking for someone to talk to, someone to just hear you out, someone you need to spend time with, comfort food that might cheer you up, something to do, extra space, and then some. If you’ve got that therapist’s appointment, maybe you’d prefer that someone goes with you.
The people whom you talk with should be able to provide you with your every need. This is why you chose them and this is why they chose to listen to you. There will be times when you feel alone in this battle against your personal demons, but know that they’ll be there to pick you up whenever you fall down. All it takes is a few moments and company.
If there was anything they might have said that offended you or made your anxiety act up, leave them and write that down in your journal. You can always come back to them later and inform them how they might have worsened your situation. Do not shut them out; you need them. In most cases, asking for a hug can really make a difference.
5. To lift a burden from your shoulders
Imagine that your anxiety is a ball. The more that you get anxious or do things that don’t help your condition, that ball gets bigger and heavier. If you don’t change up your routine or study what makes that ball grow, it’ll continue to grow until you feel like you’re dragging your feet through the mud. It’ll get harder to lift and hold every day, which is why it’s important that you shrink it or at the very least try to let it go.
After determining what you need or what makes you anxious, you’ll know how to shrink this ball and make it lighter. One step you could make to at least deflate it is to take a deep breath and let out a slow, lengthy exhale through your mouth. This is a proven de-stressor as it physiologically affects your entire nervous system and your hypothalamus (a part of your brain in charge of releasing neurohormones). Practitioners of yoga, gym enthusiasts, and martial artists can tell you that this works for them.
Deep breaths hinder stress-inducing hormones that flow through you. Thus, this act can release a wave of unbridled relaxation all throughout your entire body. Doing this may also help you in stressful situations. When you reach that fight-or-flight moment, your body gets prepared for conflict or uncertainty by driving your nervous system into a calmer yet alert state of readiness.
Give it a try:
- Inhale deeply through your nose
- Keep your breath in for three seconds
- Open your mouth and let the air flow out from it naturally
The moment that you would like to open up about your anxiety, this would be the very first thing that you could do. It’ll de-clutter your thoughts and help you express yourself better as you’ll be in a more relaxed state. In doing so, your muscles should ease up and you’ll certainly feel that weight on your shoulders made lighter or even gone.
6. To grow as a person
As you talk more about your anxiety with your friends and family, you’ll soon realize that the different ways they handle these things may have rubbed off on you. You might see yourself in a more positive light even though the pain still remains. The things you have written in your journal reflect you as a person, and after looking through all of these pages, you might notice that you’ve developed a way to cope with your condition.
You’ll be stronger than before, doing things you never imagined doing, and it’s all thanks to your drive to conquer anxiety through conversation. With your journal lined with solutions to every single one of your problems, you’ve developed your own personal manual and you’ve become closer to the ones who have supported you.
If this is the future self you’re hoping for, then there’s no better way than to reach out to them. You’ll never know what you’ll learn.
7. To have a different outlook in life
Lastly, because you can grow into being a bigger, better person, your outlook in life will change. No more will you beat yourself up over things that you didn’t do, feel worthless every time you see yourself in the mirror, or feel tired all the time just because you couldn’t be more like the people supporting you.
If you’ve properly figured out how to whittle down your anxiety by talking to your loved ones, you’ll definitely be able to see a brighter side in life no matter what happens. If some old feelings come back to haunt you, you know you’ve conditioned yourself by knowing who you are, and you’ll go to sleep knowing that you’ll become even better tomorrow.
Take it one step at a time
Talking about anxiety is hard. It’ll always be hard to land that first step and there will be moments when it can be rocky. When it does get tough, don’t give up. Only your drive and motivation can save you from the rest of your life from being an anxious wreck.
Look forward to the sunrise and to speaking out to the ones who know you most; it’s time to speak out and be heard.