Anxiety, the emotional state characterized by a feeling of insecurity, disturbance, confusion. Often referred to as a feeling of anguish, the term anxiety is different from the former through the absence of physiological changes (the feeling of suffocation, sweat, pulse acceleration) that are never missing for anguish.
Various schools try to explain the birth of anxiety through the prism of their doctrinal positions. For the theoreticians of learning, this state may be a conditioned fear reaction, an acquired tendency. For psychoanalysts, on the contrary, anxiety may be explained by the frustrations of the libido and the interdictions ordered by the Superego; anxiety would be the signal of danger addressed to the Ego – i.e. the conscious personality – that, thus warned, can react through adequate measures or by also mobilizing its defense mechanisms.
Anxiety is the “in case of alarm reaction” of the organism towards a physical or psychological stress. A state of acute anxiety can appear before an important event, such as exam or a job interview, and it usually lasts for a short period of time. But for some people it becomes a permanent state that seriously affects their ability to handle day to day life. They suffer from chronic anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety:
Acute anxiety can manifest itself as a bad hunch, sometimes vague and undirected, sometimes clearly oriented towards something. It can be accompanied by physiological symptoms – stomach cramps, dry mouth, tachycardia, sweat, diarrhea or insomnia. Those suffering of chronic anxiety feel restless without knowing why. Some people have sudden panic attacks. The symptoms – feeling of suffocation, chest pain, tingles in their hands and feet, fainting, terror – can be so powerful that the onlookers can believe that they are going through cardiac arrest.
Whatever they are, the symptoms of anxiety are extremely bothersome and destructive leading, in time, even to an impact of physical health. This is why it is important to find a way to approach the cause of these problems and to ask for specialized help from a therapist or an organized support group.
Ways of Prevention Anxiety:
In times of stress the organism consumes its nutrients faster and if they are not replaced, the nervous system loses it resources progressively and anxiety sets in. This is why it is important to have a healthy diet – rich in complex carbs, like the ones found in whole bread and brown rice that can have a calming effect. Also include essential fatty acids (from whole cereals, nuts, seeds and vegetables), vitamins (especially from the B complex) and minerals in order to support the nervous system. Eat little and often during the day, in order to maintain the level of sugar in your blood constant. Keeping the balance between periods of rest, exercises and recreational activities will also help you feel better and to have a positive outlook on life.
Anxiety Calming Food Products
The tryptophan amino-acid has a calming effect on the brain, because this substance is transformed in serotonin, a chemical transmitter with a calming effect. Most food products that contain proteins also contain tryptophan. Yet is better assimilated in the presence of carbs. Here are some combinations:
– Milk and biscuits.
– Sandwiches with turkey meat or cheese.
Treatment of Anxiety:
If you suffer from acute anxiety, you may need the help of a specialist, but there are some things you can also do for yourself.
Self-knowledge: Some people are genetically predisposed to worry. For some, an event from the past may cause their predisposition towards anxiety. In this case, the first step is to try to identify that event. For example, overprotective parents, that constantly warn you on the risks and dangers inherent to a normal life, can transmit along their own fears. Another possibility is to have passed through a traumatic experience. Anxious people have usually a very vivid imagination and foresee all the possible unpleasant or disastrous consequences of any action or cannot just help themselves to think of them. If you suffer from a phobia, for example the exaggerated fear of going on an airplane, you will set your anguish on this phobia, but it is not easier to control than generalized anxiety. Try more likely to reach the profound reasons that cause your anxiety, with the help of an understanding friend.
When you suffer from anxiety and especially panic attacks, breathing becomes fast and shallow. This is hyperventilation. The normal levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are disturbed. In order to correct them, sit down, place a hand on the upper part of your abs and breathe slowly. The hand will move up and down each time you breathe in. this “abdominal breathing” will help you slow down your breath and deepen it.
Yoga breathing for calming down:
Yoga is excellent for anxious people because it relaxes the mind and the body, normalizes the breath and helps beat negative emotions. The following exercise aims at hardening and relaxing the thoracic and abdominal muscles and to harmonize the life energy flow (prana). Breathe five times in every step.
1. On your knees, with a hand on your abs and the other palm facing downwards on your thigh, feel your abdomen increasing when breathing in and withdrawing when breathing out.
2. Place your palms on each side of your stern. Raise and lower your chest as you breathe, compressing it with your hands during breathing to completely evacuate air.
3. Tense your abs. Raise your shoulders and the upper part of the chest while breathing in and then lower them while breathing out, relaxing the muscles of your abs.
Evolution has programmed the organism to react to dangerous situation through automatic physical changes that get him ready to “fight or run”. Unfortunately, in many of the situations we are facing today, being ready to fight or to run is not very helpful, so the nervous tension has few possibilities to manifest itself externally. You can contribute by yourself to the dispersion of this tension learning to relax both physically and mentally. This will help you face difficult situations in due time and not remain in a state of alert. Here are some ways:
– Join a gymnastics course or practice other intense physical activities to release muscular tension and nervous energy.
– Opt for leisure activities, like gardening or listening to a comforting music.
– Join a relaxation or meditation course or use one of the many audio or video tapes presenting relaxation lessons.
– Practice progressive muscle relaxation
Using statements helps reprogram your thoughts so that the accent is placed on the positive aspects of your own life and personality and not on the negative ones. Crete short phrases, specific to the situation. Repeat to yourself: “I am suitable for this workplace” if your getting ready for an interview or “I know and like everyone coming at my party” if you’re intimidated by larger groups of people. Say the phrase out loud or write it down a few times.
This type of exercise is part of the cognitive therapy that follows the change of natural or instinctive reactions more likely than understanding them. For example, your therapist might encourage you so find adequate explanations for other people’s behavior: the acquaintance that ignored you in the shop didn’t do that because he/she doesn’t like you, but because he/she did not notice you or he/she was preoccupied by something else. Once you get the point, you can use by yourself, to automatically recognize negative reactions as being what they really are and to replace them with more constructive, positive and realistic ones.
Anxiety increases or decreases your appetite. Choose food products rich in vitamin B complex, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium, taking into account that their lack may lead to anxiety. Reduce the ingestion of sugar and eat less food products based on white flour. Avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine. Instead of them drink spring water, fruit juices or plant teas.
If you are physically tense, massage your shoulders with essential oils or add them to your bath water or vaporizer.
– In order to prepare a massage oil, add 2 drops of geranium, lavender and sandal wood oil to 1 drop of basil oil and 2 teaspoons of cold pressed vegetable oil, like sweet almond or olive oil. In the first 20 weeks of pregnancy avoid basil oil.
– Place a few drops of geranium or lavender oil in your bath water or in a bowl with very hot water and inhale the perfumed vapors for 5 minutes.
– Drink a cup of verbine, wild oat or ginseng tea three times a day for two or three weeks. These plants have a regenerative effect on the nervous system.
– In order to reduce the tension throughout the day and to help you sleep during the night, add chamomile, linden flowers, valerian, hop or passion flower to this tea or consume it as tablets or tincture.
The following floral essences are all used in the treatment of negative feelings, some of them special for anxiety. You can use them separately or in combination, according to each type of personality.
– Take poplar, mirobola, larch, betony, red or white chestnut four times a day.
– For panic attacks, take the salvation remedy every few minutes, until you feel better.
The following remedies are helpful especially for short term crisis, when they can be combined with other therapies:
– Aconitum: anxieties caused by trauma.
– Arsenicum: permanent need for quiet.
– Gelsemium: tiredness, weakness or fear before an event.
– Phosphorus: irritability, sensitivity to noise.
The symptoms associated with anxiety can be solved also with the help of therapies as psychotherapy or skull osteopathy.
When to refer to a doctor:
– You’re suffering from serious bouts of anxiety or panic attacks.
– You’re also suffering from depression.
– You’re suffering from insomnia or dizziness
Ask for help immediately if:
– You’re suffering from any physical symptoms previously described.
Place your palm on the opposite collar bone and massage, using your fingers, the muscles of the shoulder and back of the head.