Let’s say you have an intense fear of dying. You begin to have obsessive thoughts about when you’ll die and how you’ll die; maybe in a car crash, a plane crash or even struck by lightning. You even envision yourself lying in your casket as your loved ones cry over your immobile body. You begin to think that you are dying soon and wait until your final day approaches until the next day comes and you’re still alive. Then the day after that comes and you’re still alive. Days go on, only for you to still be alive. This exact scenario describes someone suffering from anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorder is emphatically disguised as fear. The fear begins to take over your mind and body and usually has to do with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, rather than right now. It’s not just the fear of something bad happening, it’s the agonizing wait. In addition, the basis for anxiety disorder is getting trapped into feeling overwhelming fear in the absence of any danger.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the fear and anxiety that occur due to an anxiety disorder are drastically different than the brief episodes of these feelings that are commonly related to normal events, such as giving a presentation in front of a class or meeting people for the first time.
Anxiety causes overwhelming physical symptoms. It triggers what is known as the body’s “fight or flight” reaction, which gives an individual, as the phrase suggests, the energy to stand up to or run away from an imminent danger. Your body, in reacting to that “fight or flight” moment, releases stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine also known as adrenalin. These hormones produce intense physical symptoms that include a racing heart, sweating, trembling, nausea, or butterflies in the stomach. The symptoms described above tell your brain that you’re in danger, even if you know you’re safe. Once you’re well versed on what does anxiety feel like, there are multiple ways to handle it. Some rely on therapy and medication while others may involve natural remedies. Your first step may be to deal with your anxiety via therapy or counseling.
It is immensely important to note that having anxiety does not make you weak, crazy, or any less of a human being. You are human. You are valid. You are loved. Some days are just rough, but they won’t all be. Listed below are helpful tips that will help you find peace when your heart and mind begin to race.
1. Remind yourself that you’ve been here before
2. Channel your breathing
3. Be kind to yourself
4. Treat your anxiety like it’s separate from you
5. Listen to music you love
7. Take your medication
8. Prove your anxiety wrong