Anxiety is something everyone experiences at some point, and feeling anxious is a perfectly natural reaction to some situations.
Anxiety can make our heart race, make us feel sweaty, shaky or short of breath. Anxiety can also change our behaviour, so we become overly careful or avoid things that trigger it.
When anxiety becomes a problem, our worries can be out of proportion with relatively harmless situations.
The good news is there are plenty of things you can try to help cope with anxiety.
1. Self Help
Try to take a step back and put things into some form of context and perspective. Try to identify what's affecting you and what you need to take action on. For example, if it is public speaking, the only way you’ll become more at ease is to do more of it. Warren Buffett once took public speaking lessons out of university and later commented it was perhaps his greatest investment. Try to be assertive, in that you face the things you want to avoid and get to grips with the problem.
Exercise is vital for maintaining mental fitness and it can reduce stress. The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators. Scientists have found that regular aerobic exercise leads to a decrease in overall levels of tension, elevates and stabilises mood, improves sleep, and improves self-esteem.
3. Limit Caffeine
Caffeine is the most popular and widely used drug in the world. However, caffeine is a stimulant and that can be bad news for someone with anxiety. Caffeine increases alertness by blocking a brain chemical called adenosine that makes you feel tired, while at the same time triggering the release of adrenaline which is responsible for the physical symptoms of anxiety. Caffeine therefore stimulates your ‘fight or flight’ response and studies have shown that this can make anxiety worse.
Anxiety is a cognitive state connected to an inability to regulate emotions. Understanding anxiety is the first step in managing it. Research shows that consistent meditation can reprogram neural pathways in the brain which, in turn, improves our ability to regulate emotions. Research suggests that stress can be countered by eliciting the relaxation response from meditation techniques including deep abdominal breathing, a focus on a soothing words and the visualisation of tranquil scenes.
Anxiety is caused by the body being in fight or flight mode, where the brain issues distress calls to the body’s tissues which release stress hormones to increase the alertness and reactivity of the body. The physiological effects including an increase in heart rate as well as pulse whilst the physical effects can include sweaty hands and dizziness.
There is medical treatment available which block the action of the stress hormones. This alleviates the physical effects, making you much more calm, cool, and collected.
At Man Behind The Mirror, we offer Propranolol, available on prescription, which is an effective treatment for combating the physical effects of anxiety.
You may purchase our treatment here.
If you have any follow-up questions don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Mike Firth, GP and Medical Director
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.