When you’re going through stress, grieving, or facing a tough situation at work, school, or home, anxiety becomes a familiar feeling. Understanding root causes for anxious feelings and developing healthy coping strategies to use when they arise is key to finding peace of mind and regaining a sense of purpose.
Anxiety Signs and Symptoms
Anxiety is a combination of physical sensations and emotional symptoms that often show up when dealing with difficult situations. Your experience of anxiety may include:
- Feelings of tension in the body, especially in the chest, neck, and shoulders
- Shallow and/or rapid breathing
- Increased pulse or heart rate
- Clammy Palms
- Heightened sense of urgency
- Increased stress
- Feeling trapped
Depending on your personality (and which symptoms are strongest), anxiety may make you frantic and unable to pay attention. Or you may feel unable to cope to the point that you shut down and disengage from activities or relationships. No matter how you feel, you are not alone. Millions of people live with anxiety every day and still live happy, meaningful lives.
If your symptoms last for an extended period of time and don’t seem to depend on whether a situation is painful or stressful, your anxiety could be affecting your mental health. Reaching out to a doctor, therapist, or mentor for support can help you find clarity and develop a unique plan to understand and manage your anxiety symptoms.
Healthy Outlets for Anxiety
You may not be able to eliminate anxiety completely, but learning how to manage your symptoms allows you to enjoy your life and your relationships more fully. The next time you feel anxious, try:
Journaling: Writing about your anxiety can help you get to the bottom of what you’re feeling, and can keep you from bottling things up for too long.
Exercise: Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress and it often gets rid of the jittery feelings that accompany anxiety.
Prayer: Praying (or asking for prayer) when you feel anxious helps you remember to “cast all your anxieties on him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Meditation: The stillness and deep breathing techniques common to most mindfulness meditation practices may help you feel calmer and more centered in moments when you suddenly become anxious.
Noticing Patterns: Next time you feel anxious, see if you can identify what led to your anxiety symptoms. Noticing patterns (and identifying triggers) may help you prevent more intense anxiety in the future. For example, if you feel more anxious after your morning coffee, try half-caff (or enjoy your coffee with a little food), noting any differences in how you feel along the way.
Help for Anxiety and Panic
If you feel anxious to the point of being overwhelmed, or if you are on the verge of physical illness or emotional crisis (panic attack, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, etc), you’ve found the place to get help for anxiety and panic. You can access our mentors by chat or email, and we are always adding more to our site to help you break free from painful emotional burdens.