Anxiety is body’s normal and natural reaction to any stressful or uncomfortable situation. Every individual experiences anxiousness at some point or the other, though the intensity of the experience may vary from individual to individual.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is defined as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” Anxiety is characterised by feelings of fear, dread, and unease. When anxious, one can start to perspire, feel agitated and tight, and one’s heart might start to beat quickly. For instance, one might experience anxiety before a test, before making an important choice, or even when presented with a challenging challenge at work. The anxiousness might make one more alert or help the individual concentrate.
Body alarms are activated by approaching danger, enabling evasive action. A faster heartbeat, greater sweating, and heightened sensitivity to the environment are all signs of these alarms. The approaching danger leads to an adrenalin rush, which activates the individual’s fight-or-flight-or-freeze response. This equips individuals to repel or flee any potential threats.
The experience of anxiety varies from individual to individual. There may be a feeling of disconnection between your mind and body that leaves the individual feeling out of control. From stomach aches to a racing heart, the symptoms of anxiety can vary. The symptoms of anxiety can be classified into three categories, namely, physical symptoms, cognitive symptoms and behavioral symptoms.
The physical symptoms include sweating, chest pain, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat and dizziness, a sense of “things not being real”, numbness and tingling in the hands or feet, nausea, vomiting, tight muscles, low energy and tiredness, shaking and jitters or urgency to urinate or faeces.
The cognitive symptoms include frequent worries, negative perceptions about one’s capacity to handle stress or emotions in the future, unfavorable predictions about the future, other prevalent ideas like “I am losing my mind, I am about to suffer a heart attack or I am about to pass out”, difficulty focusing and paying attention or a preoccupation with bodily experiences.
The behavioral symptoms include avoiding anything that makes one feel anxious, such as anxious people, places, circumstances, items, animals, memories, thoughts, and physical sensations, alcohol and/or drug usage, aggression, verbal abuse, and lashing out or compulsive behaviours, such as excessive checking or other damaging rituals or routines.
Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.
MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.
About the Author.
Shami Kundalia is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.