It’s all well and good to talk about anxiety awareness, but first, you need to know what to look for: What are the signs of anxiety, stress, and panic? Your body signals you to oncoming panic and anxiety in a variety of ways, and if you know what to look for, physically and psychologically, then you can figure out the best anxiety treatment for you.
Many Ignore Warning Signs of Anxiety, Stress, and Panic
The reactions and sensations associated with anxiety can significantly interfere with a person’s life, but a lot of people write them off. Warning signs of chronic stress or acute panic are often ignored because people may not realize that the signals their mind-body gives them form a pattern: A pattern of anxiety for which there’s help (Eight Anxiety Management Tips).
You can only effectively manage anxiety if you’re able to articulate what triggers your stress and panic. That’s easier said than done. Many people, even those who experience anxiety attacks, aren’t aware of the wide range of ways anxiety can present itself, nor of how best to handle the situation when it does arise. And if you don’t know how to combat anxiety and stress, that can lead to a vicious cycle of uncertainty and worry that perpetuates panic and instills fear.
Signs of Anxiety and Stress
If you answer yes to one or more of the following questions then you may well be suffering from stress or anxiety:
• Are you deeply uncomfortable in enclosed or crowded spaces e.g. the supermarket, cars, or the elevator?
• Do you get very tense or uneasy in situations that would not have bothered you much in the past?
• Have you struggled with intrusive thoughts, images or impulses that won’t seem to go away or stop?
• Do you fear driving over bridges, being stuck in traffic or at red lights?
• Have you felt irritable, restless or agitated most of the time, for a substantial period of time?
• Do you experience intense, apparently inexplicable fears of people, places or things?
• Do you feel the need to repeat certain behaviors and don’t really know why?
• Are you afraid of losing control?
• Do you spend a lot of the time wishing the world seemed safer, or avoiding activities because you are uncertain?
10 Early Warning Signs of Panic Attacks
Knowing the early warning signs of a panic attack can help you avoid it or get to a place that feels safer for you. Here are ten early warning symptoms of a panic attack:
- Overwhelming fear you may be losing control, even going crazy
- A racing heart with tingling sensations
- Obsessive worries or unwanted, intense thoughts
- Dizziness or nausea leading to panic
- Chills, hot flushes or the sweats followed by waves of anxiety
- Trembling or shaking
- Unexplained weakness or numbness in parts of your body
- Tightness in the throat or chest and shortness of breath
- Feelings of disconnection from what is going on in your body and/or environment
- The sense that anxiety may push you beyond what you can take
If you’ve had a few of these anxiety symptoms at some point, no matter how long ago, then you were probably having an anxiety attack (take this panic attack test). Panic attacks often become a source of fear and worry. You may even begin to obsess over them and experience anticipatory anxiety if you aren’t recognizing and dealing with all your symptoms.
Remember that anxiety can present itself in many ways depending on the individual and their circumstances. So the more you know about what stress looks like for you, the more effectively you can target and treat anxiety.
Train image from George Grie