• Falak Kashyap

How to : Manage Anxiety, I Asked Experts

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

The past year has been a rollercoaster ride, physically, mentally and any other way you can name it. If the first lock down gave you a panic attack just like it did to me, read on.


What were abnormal levels of anxiety 50 years ago, is considered normal today. Stress levels being on a high all the time and with social media not helping us in any way to cope with anxiety or stress, we are forced to just live with this crippling fear.


To help manage minimal amounts of anxiety, I asked a few experts questions about this disease and how we can deal with it. If you face a considerable amount, I suggest you see a doctor, like me, no shame in saving yourself.


What's anxiety and how do we identify it?

If you are new to mental health and don't understand the meaning of anxiety this might help. Lavangi Nathani and Kruttikka Sindhkar, Clinical psychologists say that anxiety is a feeling of being on the edge, a lot more than normal, and even the littlest of things trigger your anxiety. it's basically re-occurring thoughts, thoughts that trouble us.

Lavangi says that anxiety is important for the body. It's an emotion required for us to become aware and prepare for a response for a stressful situation. So basically it is a response but when this response is over done, it becomes problematic. In medicinal terms anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one's daily activities.


Now onto the next part of the question, how do we identify it?

Google says it's usually self diagnoseable. Just incase you can't, we got you.

From what I have known, it affects differently to different people. There are physically observable ways to identify anxiety. excessive sweating, difficulty in breathing, nail biting, skin picking, fidgeting, restlessness, are all ways you can identify if you suffer from anxiety disorder. Now coming on to the non physically observable way of anxiety, to name a few are feelings of persistent fear, gut wrenching, chest pain, a dry mouth, nausea, are indicators of anxiety disorder.


2. Is there a permanent cure to anxiety?


Both the psychologists I spoke to said we don't have to completely eliminate anxious feelings because they help us in situations of stress and help with quick thinking. Healthy levels of anxiety help us to prepare better in anticipation and feel in control of future situations. The goal should be to learn how to manage excessive levels of anxiety. How do we do that? With the help of mental health specialists. They teach you techniques and skills that help you identify your triggers and later empower you, which eventually improves quality of life.


3. What's the best way to handle anxiety or a panic attack without prescriptive medicine? Or not having a doctor at your disposal immediately?


The first step is to recognize that you are feeling anxious above normal levels. After having done that you can follow a few tips, though different things work for different people. So it may take a while until you can recognize something that is suitable for you.


a. Focused breathing/mindfulness/Yoga - All three of these techniques focus on regulating your breath. It is essential to focus on your breathing because we breathe shallow during a panic attack or an anxiety attack.


b. Progressive muscle relaxation - This is a guided relaxation method in which you tense up your muscles one by one from head to toe and then release it.

Below is a link to a guided muscle relaxation video.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXRVJtNfOBQ


c. Grounding techniques - "Since thoughts are usually around some sort of impending danger and feelings of worry and fear, therefore getting all your senses in touch with things around your environment helps. There are various ways to do this" says Lavangi Nathani.

Put your hands in water.

Pick up or touch items near you.

Savour a drink or food.

Take a short walk.

Hold a piece of ice.

The list is huge, you can follow the link below for all grounding techniques.


https://www.healthline.com/health/grounding-techniques


d. Anxiety-reliving box - You can collect things over time that calm you down, these little things can include but not be limited to, a soft pillow, warm blanket, comfortable clothing and the sorts. Prepare a box and keep it at your disposal, at all times.


e. Worry time - Lavangi says "Scheduling a specified time slot for worrying and being anxious at a certain time in your day helps clear up the rest of the day to carry out other activities of daily life."


4. Apart from affecting our mental health, does anxiety have any physical effects?


While we are anxious our bodies go into flight or fight mode, making all our organs work in over drive. Perpetual flight or fight mode of your organs can have severe physical effects on the body like, heart problems, various illnesses from a lowered immune system, gastrointestinal disorders, memory problems, and migraines.


5. What is a suggestion you’d like to give an anxious person?


Both the psychologists said that the advice would vary from person to person, but on a general note, a person should recognize their triggers. They should try anxiety management techniques. Seeking help shouldn't be stigmatized, it's a disease just like any other, and mental health is as important as physical health. Identify how your lifestyle or certain patterns of it can be altered to change the experience of anxiety.


Asking for help is good. Talk. Meditate. Take care of your mental health. You got you.




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