Do I Have Anxiety?
Definition of anxiety
You might be asking yourself: do I have anxiety? If so, a follow-up question is often how to control anxiety. You might be wondering if the anxiety you experience is normal or not. You might even wonder whether what you feel is anxiety. Let’s take a look at what anxiety is.
You can define anxiety as the fear or nervousness linked to the possibility of misfortune or danger. When we experience anxiety, we worry about something. It can be something that has happened, will happen, or is happening in the present. Anxiety is a reaction to something internal or external that is or may be happening.
What happens when someone asks: do I have anxiety? They usually have a difficult experience with anxiety. Anxiety can be a normal reaction to a difficult or dangerous situation, but this is usually not the case. When people start asking themselves that question, it’s because anxiety is hurting their lives. People might also want to know how to control anxiety. Let’s take a look first at the symptoms of anxiety.
Do I Have Anxiety: What does anxiety feel like?
Anxiety manifests with thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms. In order to answer the question “do I have anxiety”, it may be good to consider what you are feeling and thinking about.
In terms of thoughts, anxiety is associated with a constant rumination – you think about the same things over and over again. You might find it hard to put the thing that makes you nervous out of your mind. Additionally, you might think about negative scenarios and outcomes. You might be focused on the possible negative consequences or negative development of the thing you are worried about.
Emotionally, anxiety manifests as restlessness, worry, nervousness, fear, or, in some people, irritability. You may feel this emotion distinctly or have a hard time identifying it as anxiety.
For many people, anxiety appears primarily through physical symptoms. There are many common physical signs of worry. You might have a high heart rate and fast and shallow breathing. Your hands or your whole body might start sweating. Nausea, abdominal pains, heart pains, stomachaches, or headaches are also common. Some people do not feel anxiety as an emotion but rather as a physical state. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be unpleasant and disruptive.
A person might find it hard to focus on something or maintain their attention because their mind is focused on worrying. Anxiety can be tiring and siphon a lot of energy away from daily activities. It can lead to insomnia or many nights that aren’t restful.
Do I Have Anxiety: Is my anxiety the sign of an anxiety disorder?
When you start wondering “do I have anxiety”, it can indicate that anxiety is a severe problem for you. When is anxiety a symptom of a disorder?
Anxiety disorders are a category of mental health disorders that are characterized by the presence of fear and worry. However, there are certain things that separate a normal reaction from a disorder.
First, anxiety may appear out of proportion to the situation. For example, you might stay up all night worrying about a phone call you need to make the next day. The situation is not very significant, but you worry about it like it was life or death. With problematic anxiety, you worry too much about many different things.
Another characteristic is the frequency of the anxiety. It’s not normal to worry very frequently or to worry all the time. Anxiety might also appear in relation to a wide variety of situations. For instance, any given day you might worry about your boss’s opinion, a possible accident, about getting fired, and so on. It’s not expected to worry all the time or about a lot of situations, especially if they are hypothetical. People with excessive anxiety may constantly worry about the future or the remote possibility of a disaster.
Another thing that distinguishes abnormal anxiety is intensity. You might experience anxiety as being very high or far too intense for the situation. Some people have panic attacks or anxiety attacks where the symptoms of anxiety may make them feel like they’re dying.
Do I Have Anxiety: What is the main characteristic of disruptive anxiety?
The main characteristic of disruptive anxiety is that it affects several areas. It might affect school, work, relationships, the daily routine, and so on.
How to identify if anxiety is disruptive or affects someone’s functioning? It might mean that the person doesn’t do things they want or need to do due to anxiety.
For example, a person might avoid career advancement opportunities because it worries them sick. Another example is a person who doesn’t go out with their friends because of anxiety, although they want to.
Another way in which anxiety can be disruptive is by affecting performance. For instance, a person with anxiety might struggle to focus on their work because they worry about doing badly. This leads to a lower productivity. Someone might also struggle with insomnia due to anxiety and do worse in their daily activities than they would otherwise.
Overall, anxiety is disruptive and requires attention if it’s a constant source of distress. If worrying too much is hurting you, then anxiety is a problem you need to address. Even if you don’t fit the criteria for a disorder, but feel that anxiety is hurting your life, you should definitely seek help or ideas for how to control it.
Do I Have Anxiety: What to do about anxiety?
Say you have an affirmative answer to the question “do I have anxiety?” The next question may be: how to control anxiety? What can make it less disruptive?
First of all, if you feel that your anxiety is severe or may be linked to an anxiety disorder, the best solution is to find professional help. A therapist can help you change the way you think in ways that will be beneficial for you and reduce your anxiety. You can also get medication that will bring down your symptoms to more manageable levels.
In addition to this, there are many things you can try to do. You may try to sleep more and eat healthier foods. Caffeine and alcohol are two things that don’t help anxiety at all. You might try exercising more in order to stimulate your brain and body. The release of endorphins and dopamine associated with exercise can help manage anxiety.
There are other practices directed at anxiety specifically. You might consider meditation, relaxation techniques, or other practices to help you relax. Even though they are not a universal solution, they can bring your worry under your control.
Many people find a lot of benefits in hobbies, especially artistic ones or ones tied to nature. Drawing, journaling, gardening, and any other hobby that seems appealing can be relaxing. Hobbies will let you enjoy some peace and quiet.
Overall, even if the answer to “do I have anxiety” and, especially to “do I have maladaptive anxiety” is yes, you have a lot of options to help you manage. Anxiety can be difficult, but there are many alternatives out there to get it under control. This is true even if it feels like a severe issue right now. There is help and relief if you need it.
PS You may want to check out my sister articles to this one: