Your heart beats fast, and you feel dizzy. It seems as if you have to sit down so that you don’t fall. You have difficulty breathing. You experience a numbing feeling in your hands and feet.
There is a tightening pressure in the chest area. You think you might be on the verge of a heart attack. You think something is wrong with you, but you are far from dying.
You feel paralyzed as if there is nothing you can do. Basically, you are frozen with fear.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental disorder in which you fear almost anything, and you think that any outcome will pay off for the worst. It can occur at any time and is so frightening because the feeling of fear is so intense. Your mind will always be focused on it, without reason to be afraid. You will always feel that there is no solution to your unfounded fear and that there is no way out.
The relationship between anxiety and poor sleep
For many people, anxiety is also the #1 reason for poor sleep because it stops your mind from calming down. But the relationship between sleeplessness and anxiety is bidirectional. This means that not only anxiety disrupts your sleep, but poor sleep can also cause anxiety. And just like anxiety, not getting enough restful sleep affects how you function emotionally, mentally, and physically.
What are the symptoms of an anxiety disorder?
The symptoms of anxiety are something that most of us will experience at some point in our lives. They may not always be as severe as described above. Depending on the different levels of anxiety, the symptoms are sometimes a bit vague and general. Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Non-logical excessive worrying
- Problem-focused overthinking
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Compulsive habits to maintain routine
- Tremor (in some cases)
Whether or not you need to treat the symptoms depends on the severity of the symptoms and the cause. Also, in many cases, the condition is alleviated when the stressor is removed, and no further treatment is necessary.
The close connection between anxiety and depression
Some people experience short-term anxiety over a major stressor in their lives, even if it is a happy occasion. Any change can upset the peace in a person’s world. People feel comfortable with a routine, and a break in routine can lead to anxiety. Most of the time, these symptoms gradually disappear once the person feels comfortable again and has settled into the new routine.
However, anxiety is mainly about the need to control an environment that is out of control, and it can be triggered by depression. A situation occurs that causes a person to become depressed. The brain fights the situation with the fear of the unknown.
What happens when depression becomes chronic?
Chronic depression lasts longer than a few weeks and can come and go. In contrast, temporary depression caused by an event, such as the loss of a loved one or even a job, is usually resolved automatically. If it outlasts the stress event, there is a chance that it has triggered something that was already there.
If the symptoms are severe and persist, for example, the person does not want to get out of bed in the morning, has suicidal thoughts or has been depressed or anxious for more than a few weeks, it is time to undergo treatment.
Suicidal thoughts should never be ignored, even if it seems that the person is “faking” them to get attention. You never want to be wrong about such a call, so you are better off to be sure than to regret it. If a friend or loved one threatens suicide, don’t hesitate to call 911.
Anxiety and depression are widespread
Millions of people are on medication for anxiety and depression, and millions more are unfortunately trying to self-medicate with alcohol and illegal drugs.
While medications and therapies have proven effective in helping people who suffer from anxiety and depression, there are some things you can do to help yourself. These natural remedies to treat your condition can sometimes work wonders.
You need to address the root cause of anxiety
The root of the problem of most people with anxiety is the fear of the unknown: Fear of death, fear of losing one’s job, fear of what will happen in the future. Although we should be smart enough to realize that there is no guarantee for the future and that something can happen every day, the idea that our lives are not entirely under our control makes most people afraid. So what do we do to gain control? We are desperately looking for a way to control our environment.
We usually think that someone trying to control their environment is either what is called a “control freak” or someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder who has to have everything in a particular order in his house. We often call people anal-retentive when they need to have things in a certain way, so they don’t freak out.
The truth is that almost everyone fears the unknown and suffers from anxiety to some extent. We all would like to be able to control the world around us, but in reality, there are very few things we can control. So it’s rather how you deal with the challenges in your life whether or not you can overcome anxiety.
Helping yourself treat anxiety and depression
One thing is clear: If you are suffering from severe anxiety or depression, you can’t simply be cured by taking herbal supplements or doing yoga. Keep in mind that severe depression is a disease that can prove fatal and requires you to seek professional help.
That being said, in the same respect, if you feel a little down, there is no need to get tranquilizers and antidepressants immediately. There are certain things that you can do to heal both depression and anxiety on your own. Here are some tips on how to deal with depression and anxiety. You can use these methods even if you are under medication.
Establish a routine
Remember that anxiety comes from the fear of the unknown and loss of control. A routine is a safe harbor in an uncertain world. Sometimes it can be as simple as watching your favorite TV show every night. Those activities give you some sense of security in your life. You know that no matter how bad things get, you will still have that routine in which to rely upon.
Exercise is the cure-all for a lot of different ailments, including anxiety and depression. Again, this can be used in conjunction with medication, in case you need to take medication.
A workout is good for you, physically and mentally. It will raise your energy and serotonin levels as well as boost your metabolism and your immune system. On top of that, you will get into good physical shape.
Also, exercising puts you in control of your environment, which can alleviate anxiety. Remember, it’s the lack of control that makes you feel anxious. If you exercise, you can gain some control in your life in a positive manner.
However, when you are depressed, it is often tough to exercise. Therefore, start by taking small steps. Even if you just manage to take a short walk or do some simple stretches, the most important thing is to get yourself into an exercise routine. Just getting into the habit is what will help most with your anxiety or depression.
Can you overdo exercising? Some people with anxiety and depression become addicted to exercise. You will find them in the gym all the time, and they usually seem to be in excellent physical condition. Although addiction in any form is bad, spending all your time in the gym is better than spending it in a bar. You just want to make sure you don’t neglect other tasks to stay fit.
Yoga and meditation
Yoga is an ancient Eastern art that uses body poses and contortions to create inner peace. Meditation is also practiced in yoga. Both of these ancient practices are based on cleansing the body and the spirit through self-discipline.
Keep in mind that you do not have to distort your body into impossible positions to achieve the benefits of yoga. You also don’t have to chant to meditate. You can quickly learn yoga by watching a video or even reading a book. Yoga classes are available almost everywhere, even in your local gym.
Meditation can be practiced anywhere. You only need about five minutes of rest and peace and a chance to clear your mind. Think of happy, peaceful thoughts and then free your body from negative energy. Meditation is an art form in itself, but one that can really work to help you in difficult times in your life.
Eat healthy food
People who suffer from depression and anxiety often have a lack of vitamins and nutrition. Therefore, you should not only take a healthy, vitamin-rich diet (e.g., dark vegetables and fruit), but also omega fatty acid found, for example, in fish.
A healthy diet is good for everyone. If you stay away from simple carbohydrates, you will benefit not only mentally but also physically. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat ice cream or sweets from time to time. In fact, dark chocolate is beneficial to your health and can be a mood enhancer in itself. But you should limit your portions of these foods and make sure that you get the right mix of foods that are beneficial to your health.
Drink plenty of water
Skip the lemonade and alcohol and drink plenty of water. You should also limit caffeine intake. Drink your morning coffee or tea, but switch to water during the day. Drinking water not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps your metabolism. Water is a natural energizer. While some say that drinking eight glasses of water a day is a myth for health, most doctors will agree that water is very beneficial to your health.
Drinking water also purifies your system and keeps your immune system running. You’ll find it easier to fight colds by drinking more water. Instead of sweet drinks, which are just liquid sweets and have no nutritional value at all, drink water.
Limit alcohol and stop smoking
Although some anxious people say that they smoke to “calm their nerves”, smoking actually increases your blood pressure and constricts your blood vessels. Smoking makes you wired, just like caffeine, so it hardly “calms” you. In fact, you might feel much more relaxed after giving up the habit.
Alcohol is fine in a social environment, and a glass of red wine can be very beneficial to your health. Like everything else, drinking in moderation is fine. But when you use alcohol to cure your anxiety, you make a big mistake. Alcohol should only be used socially and never as a medicine.
We are social animals, and we all need human contact. It is probably no coincidence that the number of people with anxiety and depression has risen as steadily as we have isolated ourselves. Now, with the internet, many people work from home and do not interact at all with other people. While the idea of working in your pajamas in your living room is pleasant, it can also be depressing if you never have the chance to meet other people or talk to them.
There are many groups and clubs that you can join that allow you to interact with other people. Find something you like to do and join a club. Go to your local library and join a book club or take a look at the courses at your local community college or park department. Don’t rely on the internet and social media as the only source of socialization. We all need human interaction to avoid becoming depressed.
If you don’t know what to do, clean something. Choose a closet in your house and clean it. Being active will help you deal with your anxiety. You may have to force yourself to, but once you have started, you will notice a difference. The chances are that you will begin to focus less on your anxiety and depression and more on the closet or bathroom you are cleaning. And when you’re done, you’ll feel good.
Or do something creative to ward off unhelpful thoughts. Whether writing, painting, singing, or even dancing, use your talents, and enjoy your creativity. Even if you use your time to decorate your home, you can not only do something you enjoy but also keep depression and anxiety at bay.
All the ideas in this chapter are safe to do, even if you are taking medication. These ideas are all proven and true ways to treat your depression. If you get into the habit of using some of them, the chances are that you may be able to manage your depression and anxiety without drugs.