Anxiety describes any feeling of worry or dread, usually about events that MIGHT
potentially happen. Most people experience feelings of anxiety before a big exam,
a business presentation or a first date. Some anxiety about stressful events is normal,
but for a number of people, anxiety can interfere with their ability to enjoy life.
When worry becomes excess, chronic and unremitting, it is classified as an anxiety
disorder. It is a psychological stress response typically brought about by a prolonged
thought process. There are a number of different types of anxiety disorders, including
panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder
and generalized anxiety disorder. Each has its own distinctive features but are held
together by a common theme: excessive, irrational fear.
Generalized anxiety disorder is fear about the future. It is characterized by
excessive thinking and dwelling on the "what ifs" in life. Some individuals
are unable to shut their minds off and stop such incessant thinking, which can incapacitate
them. Often the person believes there is no way out of their feelings of worry, dread
or disaster, which leaves them feeling depressed and fatigued.
Individuals are diagnosed with general anxiety disorder when their symptoms last
for more than six months. Many times there are no concrete triggers that provoke
episodes of uncontrollable anxiety. Their worries can be about everyday things, such
as jobs, finances, health or family, or more mundane issues such as chores, car repairs
or being late for an appointment.
Other symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder may include headaches, trembling,
twitching, irritability, frustration and an inability to concentrate. Sufferers may
also feel nauseated or as if they have a lump in their throats. Many also find it
difficult to relax and tend to remain in a state of constant motion. Sleep disturbances
also can occur.
Recommendations for wellness
- Create a scale from 1 to 10 to track how you feel. Rate yourself every day, with
10 being the most anxious and 1 being the least. If you score high, take the time
to reflect on what may have caused your increased anxiety.
- Focus on what is going on in your life, identifying what is causing the anxiety
and adjusting your life accordingly. Changing jobs, ending a relationship or moving
to a different location often can alleviate the anxiety being experienced.
- Take time to relax every day. It has been shown that people who spend a few minutes
every day relaxing, meditating or exercising experience less anxiety.
- Talk to a counselor, therapist or psychologist about what is going on. They may
be able to teach you methods and techniques you can use to alleviate and reduce your
- Try soaking in a hot Epsom salt bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Epsom salts are made
up of magnesium sulfate crystals, which can help calm the body and mind.
- Avoid caffeine or other stimulating substances.
- Studies indicate that a combination of valerian root and passionflower can help
reduce symptoms in people suffering from anxiety.
- Until recently, kava kava was the predominate remedy for anxiety. Because of
potential side effects, kava should only be taken under medical supervision.
- Calcium and magnesium are natural tranquilizers and can help you to relax.
- Gaba (gama-aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that decreases neuron activity
and inhibits nerve cells from overfiring. It can be taken to calm the body and slow
the thought processes without drowsiness or addiction.
- Nature’s Sunshine’s Nutri-Calm is a product designed to help the nervous system
cope with both short- and long-term stress.
- Try a flower essence, such as Nature’s Sunshine’s Distress Remedy, for rapid
relief of physical and emotional distress.