Everyone experiences some form of anxiety, fear is a natural tool given to us to help us stay out of danger. Anxiety can become an issue however when it is starting to negatively impact or impair your everyday life in ways such as, hypervigilance (constantly being on edge, looking around, constant feel of unsafe), social isolation, constant worry, feelings of being overwhelmed and even perfectionism.
Let me break down some of the specifics around different levels of Anxiety:
Mild anxiety can impact emotional, social and professional functioning. Mild anxiety symptoms may present as shyness, performance or social anxiety. This is usually experienced across all ages. If left unaddressed, mild anxiety can lead to maladaptive coping strategies or more severe mental conditions.
Individuals who experience moderate levels of anxiety have more frequent or persistent symptoms than those with mild anxiety, however will have better daily functioning than someone with severe anxiety or panic disorder. For example, people with moderate anxiety may report experiencing symptoms such as feeling on edge, being unable to control their worrying or being unable to relax several days or the majority of days in a week, but not every day. Although moderate anxiety symptoms are disruptive, people with moderate anxiety may have success in managing their anxiety with the help of medication, therapy or self-help strategies.
Severe anxiety is extremely debilitating, and symptoms of severe anxiety meet key diagnostic criteria for clinically-significant anxiety disorder. Symptoms of severe anxiety are frequent and persistent and may include increased heart rate, feelings of panic and social withdrawal. These symptoms can result in loss of employment, breaks in relationships, loss of functioning (bathing, eating, etc.).
Based on my experience there are various ways to help (in addition to meeting with a mental health professional like myself =)). Here is an example of a helpful mindfulness technique I like to use:
Focused Breathing Exercise:
Start with inhaling through nose on a count of 4 (1-2-3-4)
Hold for a count of 4
Blow out through lips for a count of 4
Do this at least 30 seconds to help regulate breath and provide oxygen to your vital organs that will help regulate your flight or fight response.
I hope this helps! I look forward to speaking with all of you soon. I hope to be much more active about blogging. Have a great day!