02 Feb Anxiety & 10 Signs it’s Shown Up in Your Life
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 18% of the population. Sadly, anxiety disorders are highly treatable yet only about 1/3 of those suffering receive treatment.
Do you think or say, “I’m so stressed out!” a good deal of the time? You may be describing anxiety not stress. Because anxiety differs from stress. Anxiety stems from a sense of helplessness. Think of it as recycled fear. Recycling is good for the earth, not for your mind or body.
Stress vs. Anxiety
“I am stressed because this work project is due tomorrow!”
“I am stressed because this work project is due tomorrow and I may do a horrible job, my boss will humiliate me, and I will be fired!“
Both scenarios cause a racing heart, but the 2nd one – ouch. You’ve hurt your sense of self. Whereas the 1st scenario is stress. Symptoms will decrease when the event is over.
Anxiety causes symptoms to continue. Re-playing the event in your mind is a horror show with you in the lead role. Essentially, a spotlight of shame in your mind. This rumination evokes the same feelings and physical symptoms of the actual event. The body doesn’t get a break.
Now bear in mind, some anxiety is good for us. For example, it helps us focus when we have a presentation to give. It gets us up and motivates us to handle our daily responsibilities. Too little anxiety, nothing gets done. Too much, it negatively impacts our quality of life.
And that’s the key. If your physical or mental health is impacted, you aren’t accomplishing what you know you’re capable of, and you can’t maintain or build new relationships then anxiety has become an issue.
Below are 10 signs that signify you’re experiencing anxiety. The list contains common signs. It is not meant to be all-inclusive.
10 Signs of Anxiety:
- Waking with a sense of dread or failure.
- Failure to sleep due to racing thoughts about one topic (incomplete project or angry client).
- Constant internal self-critic that analyzes your every move – harshly.
- Excessive worry about events that generally do not occur (getting fired or a plane crash).
- Canceling social events at the last minute even if you want to go.
- Headaches including migraines.
- Racing heart, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath.
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems; nervous stomach.
- Shaking hands, chattering teeth or clenched jaw.
- Ruminating over details of a conversation where you think you might have been offensive. The memory can pop-up years later and still evoke humiliation.
Anything sound familiar? Anxiety sucks. It doesn’t have to rule your life. Talk therapy is an effective way to learn how to understand your anxiety, figure out what is getting in the way, and learn how to deal with symptoms. If you are ready for change, call or email me to schedule a 30-minute consultation via the phone or in person.
Kate Murphy, LMSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Berkeley Lake, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often.
For more information:
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): www.adaa.org
National Institute of Mental Health – Anxiety Disorders: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders