Has worry ever left you with sleepless nights? Have you ever worried about a problem all day long? You tried to concentrate on your job, but your mind kept wandering to your source of concern- your problem.
Chronic anxiety is like a cruel master that demands all of your attention continuously. Anxiety can cause physical and psychological changes to your mind and body. Is there hope from anxiety´s tyrannical reign, or are you doomed forever? Can relaxation help ease anxiety? Let´s find out.
What is anxiety?
Can you remember how it started? What brought you to this place of anxiety and unrest? Looking back, you´ll see it may have started with a stressful situation that did not want to leave.
Small doses of stress or anxiety are natural human responses and can help you perform at your peak. Your body has an automatic built-in system to handle this. It is called the fight or flight response. When you experience stress, your body goes into full-on protection and survival mode. Once the threat is over, your body goes back to business as usual. That´s the normal procession of things.
However, we live in a stressful world, and eventually, you will come face to face with a problem that gets your attention, hijacks your emotions, and steal your peace of mind. This problem seems to want to control you. What do you do?
The next logical thing, of course, (engage in stress-reducing activities like yoga, exercise, or relaxation techniques)? Nope. Worry! You choose to feed the monster with constant worry and establish its existence and dominance in your life. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
Anxiety is your body and mind reacting to unfamiliar, stressful, or supposedly dangerous situations. Anxiety can cause your body an unpleasant state of inner turmoil. You may become uneasy, worry unnecessarily, overreact, and experience a sinking feeling of dread.
Read more about stress and anxiety here.
Interesting stress and anxiety facts
Anxiety can reduce your quality of life.
Anxiety is the most common mental health issue.
Anxiety can start in childhood.
Anxiety occurs when worry consumes you.
Anxiety seeks and anticipates failure.
There is a link between anxiety and depression.
Studies show some people are more prone to anxiety due to their genetic makeup.
Stress may affect your hormonal balance, nutrition, and neurotransmitters.
Stress may overpower your mind and make it difficult to concentrate.
Stress may weaken the part of your brain responsible for coping mechanisms.
According to some studies, there is a link between anxiety and chronic illness (gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, and more).
What can cause anxiety and stress?
Anxiety causes changes in your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. There are many causes of stress, but financial stress is the leading cause of stress and anxiety.
Some other causes include:
- investing in a bad relationship
- family problems
- a bad job
- an unhealthy work environment
- being overwhelmed at school/work
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- trauma (witness a horrific accident, sexual assault, and more)
- past life experiences
What happens to your body when you relax?
Stress affects your body negatively, and relaxation positively affects your body. When you relax, you become less intense. You learn to loosen up and can immerse yourself in enjoyable activities. Relaxation produces many physical and mental benefits like:
- calms your mind and breathing
- reduces tension
- help control your body and emotions
- slows down your heart rate
- lowers blood pressure
- increases blood flow to your cells
- improves digestion
- reduces anxiety and panic attacks
- improves concentration
- releases positive hormones like adrenaline
- heightens sensitivity and alertness
Relaxation is a skill set that requires development and is very different from your body´s automatic fight or flight response system. You have to make time for relaxation and be willing to practice it regularly. If anxiety harms your health, deep relaxation techniques may be your solution out of the rabbit hole of stress, anxiety, and depression.
What does relaxation mean to you?
It should come as no surprise that a relaxed body and mind can achieve any purpose or goal that you set your mind to. Your creativity level is optimal in this phase, and joy and satisfaction are not far behind.
You can think clearly and make sound judgments and decisions. But how can you get to your place of Zen? Is it a nice warm bath, watching movies/series on Netflix, reading an intriguing book, or sipping from a small glass of wine? These can certainly be precious moments. But if you want to defeat anxiety and its friends. You have to go deeper.
Here are some additional ways to relax:
- meditation (Mindful, Guided, Affirmations, Visualization)
- abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing
- progressive muscle relaxation
- autogenic training
- hobbies (do things you love)
I can´t sleep anymore
pain came knocking on my door
I´ve lost my desire to eat.
My life has become a sad
and lonely place, where sorrow
and turmoil meet.
I remember the days of old,
when I was happy, vibrant, and bold.
But when this problem came,
it changed my life.
I don´t know who I am anymore.
I´ve lost control.
I´m at the mercy of my thoughts.
I can think of nothing else.
A voice calls for me out of thick darkness.
But I´m tired and want out of this madness.
By Elevate Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Chronic stress can lead to anxiety and depression. Anxiety has many negative side effects and can increase your risk of chronic diseases and depression.
Anxiety can make you lose control of your emotions and thoughts.
Relaxation has some positive effects on successfully dealing with anxiety. There are pleasurable forms of relaxation such as; soaking in a warm and inviting bubble bath, listening to uplifting music, or watching your favorite sitcoms/movies. They are lovely moments to have and enjoy.
However, if you want to combat the anxiety, you have to go deeper. Meditation, visualization, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercise, and the like can help.
Relaxation is not automatic. You must work at it and develop it into a skill with regular practice. Not all relaxation practices may be correct for you, and that´s okay because there are many choices. Choose those compatible with you and start your journey back to normalcy.
Some people may require medical assistance to get back on the right track. Get the help you need, speak to your physician, bounce back and live a fulfilling life.
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