Worry and Anxiety
A little worry is natural for most people, but in excess it can negatively affect your life and your health. Too much dwelling on problems or situations that may or may not happen can turn into anxiety. If you often feel overwhelmed, have a hard time concentrating, or constantly feel tense and stressed out, you may be causing actual physical damage to your body.
Stress: Overwhelming worry can cause anxiety and stress that your body responds to by releasing hormones like adrenaline. This “fight or flight” response is a healthy reaction to danger. On the other hand, if it is triggered too frequently by stress, it can cause physical symptoms like headache, tense muscles, accelerated heart rate, trouble breathing and more.
Illness: Over time, people who frequently worry can develop serious medical conditions leading to weakened immune system, cardiovascular and digestive problems, as well as depression.
How to Reduce Anxiety and Worry
Work out: Exercising on a regular basis can help you reduce your level of stress and improve your health in many ways. Your body will use up any excess adrenaline produced as a response to high stress, and at the same time improve your immune system.
Nutritious, balanced diet: Many individuals who worry too much or struggle with anxiety also cope with symptoms that affect their appetite. Stress eating and lack of appetite are both unhealthy for your body, so it’s important to make an effort to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
Check with your doctor: If you feel that you worry excessively and it’s negatively affecting your life, see your doctor to determine if you are experiencing any health problems that could be contributing to your stress.
Lay off the coffee: Consuming too much caffeine can increase your feelings of stress. Caffeine is a stimulant that helps some people to wake up in the morning, but for others it can stimulate or even exaggerate symptoms of anxiety such as increased heart rate or nervousness. If you are a worrywart, avoid drinking too much coffee or other beverages that have a high concentration of caffeine.
Meditate: Meditation is a great way to learn to relax your mind and body. If you set aside time each day to meditate, you will feel more at ease and learn valuable calming techniques that can help you manage stress in a healthier way.
Relax: Many people who worry too much, have a difficult time relaxing and would greatly benefit from practicing relaxation techniques. There are numerous effective relaxation exercises such as calm breathing, meditation, yoga or even listening to calming music. Practicing calming techniques can help you develop the ability to relax in stressful situations, or when you feel overwhelmed with worry.
Connect with others: Having a strong support system of friends and family can dramatically improve your overall sense of well being and decrease stress. Feeling lonely can cause anxiety and even depression, so it’s important to maintain healthy relationships. Having someone to talk to and knowing others are there for you can help you worry less and improve your health.
Use this guide as a checklist to ensure you are covering all bases to keep anxiety under control. Always remember the big picture, life is short, so we must give our all and choose our battles wisely.