Anxiety feels like different things to different people. I think it is important to talk about anxiety because, even in this day and age where there is more information about mental health out there and it has become the topic of broader conversations, it seems that there is often still a stigma attached. One of the things I have been very passionate about has been talking about what anxiety feels like to me and sharing what I go through, in the hopes that others can relate and can find comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
Living with Anxiety
One of the symptoms of anxiety that I have experienced throughout my life is difficulty sleeping. During particularly stressful times in my life, I found that difficulty sleeping has been one of the most challenging anxiety symptoms for me to deal with. On the nights that I have a hard time sleeping, I end up falling asleep much later than I intended, and then I do not end up getting a restful night's sleep.
Journaling for my anxiety is one technique that I have used in my life to help me cope with stress and anxious thoughts, and lately, it has become even more helpful.
Dealing with anxiety during COVID-19 is something foreign to us. It is hard not to experience stress and anxiety these days. I had planned to write this article about something else regarding anxiety, but I felt as though I would be remiss if I talked about anything other than what we are all going through right now and how it is affecting me since it is continuously a major part of my thoughts throughout the day.
Self-care for anxious times, such as the changes occurring due to the coronavirus, is so important. Not long ago, I wrote about experiencing anxiety when experiencing change. The current state of affairs in our world due to COVID-19 has been a major change in everyone's lives, and thus, due to these changes and the accompanying uncertainty, has truly impacted my anxiety.
How is perfectionism related to anxiety? If you cope with chronic anxiety, do you find that you often have fears of failure and inadequacy? Do you find that you often feel as though what you do is not good enough and that you are constantly trying to live up to certain standards?
Does exercise help you cope with anxiety? You've heard it before. You've been told to exercise to help your anxiety. But how are you supposed to do that when you have a million things on your mind? You don't get much sleep, you are often moody, and you can't seem to concentrate on anything. Exercise is the last thing you are thinking about and the last thing you want to do.
Have you found that you have often lost sleep due to worry and anxiety?
One of the biggest challenges I faced when I was in graduate school was trying to manage my time effectively. At the time, I was a full-time student, employee, mother, and wife. Juggling multiple roles was extremely difficult, and it often felt as though there were not enough hours available in the day. As someone who struggles with anxiety, you can imagine that this made my anxiety symptoms worse. I frequently experienced panic attacks, irritability, and constant worry. I was often sick and had a hard time staying focused. Eventually, I worked on ways to manage my day, and this is something I continue to work on.
What is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) and how does it create a stress response that triggers anxiety? Anxiety that comes up without any rhyme or reason is frustrating and a sign of the HPA axis in action. You can be feeling relaxed and calm doing something you enjoy, and yet somehow your body still starts telling you it's time to feel anxious. When this happens, it can be really difficult to cope because there isn't anything you can identify that is making you feel this way. In these times, understanding the physiological process involved in the experience of anxiety can help you relax through the experience and reduce your anxiety, so today I'm going to discuss the HPA axis and its role in anxiety.