We calculate your level of physical stress and energy based on the evaluation of heart rate variability.
Feeling anxious in the face of real threats is norma. Your body lets you know you might be at risk and stirs you up. If you feel anxious when pulled over by the cops or about to give a speech in front of a crowd, there is no reason to worry. Your excitement will naturally pass when you figure out there is no real threat.
Anxiety is a problem when it happens for no apparent reason and takes over your life. Dr. David Baldwin, professor of Psychiatry at the University of Southampton, says anxiety becomes an illness when it occurs on more days than not for at least six months.
Other signs that you may have a disorder:
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental affections in the US.
Just some stats:
49% of entrepreneurs deal with mental disorders like anxiety. Oprah Winfrey, for example, had a traumatic past that resulted in severe nervousness in adulthood. She admits to having anxiety attacks when she has to make important decisions, and even when she is on air. However, she courageously fought her fears, launched her own production business and inspired people all around the world. “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free,” Oprah says. According to a recent study, lifetime prevalence of any anxiety disorder is 28.8%, which means one in four people suffer from anxiety at some point in life.
There are medical conditions that can provoke anxiety disorders, even when you are in a good place mentally.
Anxiety can stem from psychological issues, such as moral discomfort, emotional trauma, and even your lifestyle. Long hours, caffeine, and lack of sleep often backfire.
Dr. Luc Staner, sleep clinician from the Rouffach Hospital, notes that anxiety and sleeping disorders appear together in 38.6% of cases, while anxiety disorder is followed by insomnia in 43.5% of cases. He explains that significant sleep loss triggers excessive anticipatory brain activity. It means that emotional brain centers like the amygdala and the insular cortex work more than needed in sleep-deprived people and produce anxiety.
Other factors that provoke anxiety include:
Yes it is. Anxiety creates a feeling of fear and unease, so the body’s response is to flood you with adrenaline. This reaction is called “fight or flight”, and it triggers your instinct to survive a dangerous situation. Excessive worrying can trigger it for no good reason: there is no lion chasing you, you’re just overreacting to your job interview. When it becomes a regular occurence, your nervous system releases a lot of cortisol – a stress hormone. High cortisol levels can mess with your health in the long-term.
It can result in:
Unmanageable anxiety interferes with your appetite, lifestyle, sleep patterns, sexuality and job performance.
Avoid multitasking and make some time for yourself. It’s great to have career ambitions and long to-do lists, but spreading yourself too thin makes a great contribution to your anxiety. Some lifehacks on anxiety-free time-management:
Researcher Robert Baumeister concludes that people who fret and fuss are quick to drain their mental resources. The result — constant bad mood caused by raised cortisol levels. Other outcomes include:
Overall, anxiety disorder messes up with your work performance, social life, self-esteem, and mood.
Exercising daily has a very positive effect on your body. It keeps you fit, but it also helps your brain release mood boosters like serotonin and endorphins. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America gives some tips on exercising:
What to do
How to stay motivated
It’s not a remedy that can guarantee you will get your act together overnight. However, studies have shown that regular exercise is associated with lower sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity. It means that exercising can effectively address anxiety and make you feel better.
A healthy diet is key to fighting anxiety. Psychiatrists from J. S. S. Medical College of Mysore found that people with anxiety disorders have diets that lack essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. These, together with proteins, are essential. They are made of amino acids and synthesize neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and aminobutyric acid. This may sound like something your mom would say, but stop drinking Coke and put the donut back. Eating patterns that can reduce anxiety:
To sum up, make sure you eat food rich in key nutrients, avoid anxiety triggers like caffeine and alcohol, and track down the way daily meals influence your well-being in Welltory.
Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California Matthew Walker says:
“By restoring good quality sleep in people suffering from anxiety, we may be able to help ameliorate their excessive worry and disabling fearful expectations.”
To get better sleep, stick to these tips:
Sufficient sleep doesn’t guarantee you will get rid of anxiety at the drop of a hat, but it’s a very important move in right direction.
American scientists have found a group of nerves in the breathing rhythm generator of mice that correlates directly with the arousal center of a brain. In other words, respiration plays a key role in alertness, anxiety and stress. Slow controlled breathing is a powerful anxiety-reducing tool. There are several techniques that will help you calm down immediately and bid anxiety a farewell.
Dr. Lynn E. O’Connor, clinical psychologist, professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, says that meditation rewires our brains, makes us focus on what is real and lose ungrounded fears.
Once considered more of an amusement than a remedy, contemplation practices now pave their way in Google and other companies of Silicon Valley. Employees attend corporate meditation classes to cope with stress that comes along with working for a prominent enterprise. A PhD candidate from the University of Waterloo, Mengran Xu conducted an experiment with 82 people who had anxiety problems. 10 minutes of mindfulness daily demonstrated protective effects.
“We also found that meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their own internal worries to the present-moment external world, which enables better focus on a task at hand.” — says Mengran Xu.
Here are some meditations that can be your anxiety antidote:
The review, published in the internal medicine version of Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed the results of 47 randomized clinical trials involving a total of 3,515 participants. It considers mindfulness the most effective anti-anxiety nonmedical practice. Mindfulness is based on paying attention: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. Get into a comfortable position and become aware of your thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Don’t try to modify them, just keep attention on them. Let your brain be agile and embrace all the thoughts it brings, don’t judge yourself regardless of what thoughts pop up whatsoever. Always return your attention back to the present moment and your position in it.
Also called insight meditation. Take a seat with your back as straight as comfortable and your head aligned. Take three deep slow breaths. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on the muscle in the solar plexus, feel how it falls and rises every time you take a breath or exhale. Let your thoughts come in and out, but don’t move your focus from one spot of your body that moves while you are breathing. If your mind starts to wander off gently bring it back to rising and falling chest. Don’t try to breathe fast or slow, let it go naturally and notice every change. Try to keep focus for 15 minutes. In the course of the day when you feel anxious, bring your attention back to breathing in and out, rising and falling.
If you already had an anxiety attack, it doesn’t mean another one will necessarily strike you. Realize that for all its crappiness, this condition won’t last forever. National Institute of Mental Health confirms what most doctors say: anxiety attacks last for several minutes and get worse only with growing fear. We’ve already described in detail breathing techniques and meditation practices that can ease your anxiety. This is a brief summary how you can use them during the anxiety attack and what else can help :
Knowledge. Make yourself aware of the processes that anxiety triggers in your body and mind. Try to understand its anatomy with both physical and psychological components. When you’re aware of what is going on when you’re in the throes of an anxiety attack, it’s no longer a terrifying paralyzing mystery. Having got the explicit understanding of anxiety as a feeling, you won’t exacerbate your condition imagining you’re having a heart attack. You are not.
Breathing. First thing you need to do is to catch your breath. If you’re over breathing try to breathe out more than breathe in. Inhale slowly for a count of four, hold it in for a second, then exhale for a count of four. Grab a paper bag and place it over your mouth while breathing.
Distracting from the hustle. If you’re in a fast-past environment all the stimuli around may become additional triggers to your anxiety attack. Close your eyes to block them out and reduce visual stimulation. If you’re driving, pull over on the side of the road. Don’t try to fight it off and pretend you don’t feel anxious.
Mindfulness. If you have a feeling of being detached from reality, focus on what is happening right now around you. Concentrate on something physical around you: feel the texture of your clothes, dig your fingers into your hair, touch your hand with another hand.
Breathing lavender oil or having a cup of lavender tea. Phytomedicine scientists Dr. Woelk and Dr. Schlaefke have published a study proving that lavender oil has a calming effect compared to the one of Xanax or Valium. Keep a pocket size bottle of lavender oil or lavender sachet bag with you and breathe it when feeling anxious.
Finally, never run away from places or situations where you experienced anxiety. If you had an anxiety attack in a shopping mall, keep going there just the way you would normally do.
Welltory Team, 23 Dec. 2021
We calculate your level of physical stress and energy based on the evaluation of heart rate variability.
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