Anxiety can affect people in different ways. How each person responds to anxiety can be different from person to person. Anxiety is more common than you think. It’s a feeling that most people will experience at some stage in their life. It’s the body and mind’s natural reaction to what it sees as a threat or danger. Our body is equipped with a system called the “Flight or Fight” response. When the body is in this mode it releases hormones such as adrenalin. This sets off many physiological reactions, preparing the body to face the danger. These emotions help us to stay alert and respond to the danger.

It’s a natural emotional response to a stressful situation. Anxiety before interviews and exams helps us to stay alert and perform to the best of our ability. Problems arise when your response to the stressful situation is out of proportion to the actual danger.

When anxiety becomes excessive, this is then considered an Anxiety Disorder. Along with depression, Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental health problem in Ireland. It can affect you at any age.

Let’s look at some common types of Anxiety Disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder.

Sufferers are self-conscious in social situations and fear being judged negatively or appearing foolish. If you suffer from this form of anxiety, you may be avoiding going into restaurants, meeting new people. Or going on dates, public speaking and attending events. The anxiety can cause blushing; which sufferers find embarrassing. It can cause sweating or palpitations. I am familiar with this type of anxiety. For me it manifests itself whenever I am asked to do public speaking. Over the years I have refused to do, so many times, because of my fear. Slowly I am overcoming this fear.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Sufferers worry excessively with uncontrolled thoughts. If you have this disorder, you might worry about the flight you have booked, to take you on the holiday of a lifetime. You may worry that something will happen to your children if they are out of sight. You may worry that the pain in your leg is a lot worse than a pulled muscle. Simple things turn into big worries. You have no control to stop the thoughts going round and round in your head. This type of worry causes untold distress. It can leave you feeling stressed, unwell, unable to eat, unable to sleep and can lead to depression.

So how can you help yourself?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is effective in treating Anxiety Disorders. CBT can help you break the vicious cycle of thoughts and habits that prevent you from facing your fears. CBT works well along with meditation strategies such as mindfulness.

Diet is important to support a healthy nervous system. Aim to cut back on alcohol, caffeine, sugar and processed foods. Processed foods are devoid of nutrients and can do more harm than good. Eat green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and oily fish for their essential fatty acids. Eat whole grain foods for B Vitamins. And remember to drink water.

Supplements that can help include, Higher Nature Balance for Nerves, excellent when you are feeling anxious, nervous, panicky or stressed. It is great to take before exams or public speaking. Jan De Vries Confidence Essence, does exactly what it says on the bottle. You can put it in your handbag or pocket and take as you need it. Flower Remedy, White Chestnut will help to switch off all those unwanted thoughts going round in your head. There are lots of other remedies that can help but these I have found particularly good.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

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