Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder, with many people experiencing some form of anxiety in their lifetime.
Anxiety is a natural response when we feel stressed, afraid, or when we perceive something to be threatening. In a person with a well-balanced nervous system, the anxiety will pass as soon as the stressor has disappeared, and everything has returned to normal again.
In people with anxiety conditions, their anxiety can persist for a while after the stress response has been triggered and it may continue to be triggered consistently by less threatening events which can keep them in a heightened state of anxiety.
The interesting thing with anxiety is that most of the time, anxiety is caused by fears and worries surrounding things that may or may not happen in the future.
People can be more prone to anxiety due to their genetics, their environment, social status, or life experiences.
Feeling anxious now and then is quite normal, but when a person has uncontrollable anxiety, they may need some help to get it under control because it can have a severe impact on their ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, however, there are some things that can be done to support and deal with anxiety more naturally.
On a practical level you can do the following:
- Engage in calming activities – these include medication, prayer, yoga, deep breathing, spending time in nature
- Do something that promotes physical relaxation – take a warm bath, play calming music, go for a massage
- Become more mindful – bring yourself into the present and focus on today and today’s activities without too much focus on what needs to happen tomorrow or the day after that.
- Get enough sleep – your body will not be able to activate its rest and digest phase if you have not had enough sleep
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants as these over-stimulate your nervous system and worsen anxiety
- Eat lots of colorful foods and make sure to include complex, whole-grain carbohydrates in your diet, which are calming
- Keep yourself engaged socially and draw from the support of those around you who are positive influences
- Ask yourself: If I loved myself what would I do now? (Taken from the book by Eilat Averam)
Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 11 August 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am