“Generalized Anxiety Disorders” affect 1 out of every 10 people. Ever wish you were in one of those TV commercials for a Jamaican vacation? You’re sitting on a sunny beach with calm, turquoise blue water and sparkling white sand in front of you. Everyone’s all kicked back, relaxing in the carefree environment.In this pressure-cooker called life, it isn’t really like that every day. Sometimes we wonder if we’ll ever really “feel relaxed”. In fact, what you may not realize is that someone on that beautiful beach who appears serene and peaceful is actually experiencing a Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Ten percent of the American population has been through some form of anxiety attack. This may have happened once, or they may face an uphill challenge every day with one of several GED’s.
What conditions can be considered “generalized anxiety disorders”?
Many of us can appear poised externally even when our hearts are racing and our inner state is full of anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorders may not all be recognizable as outward “anxiety” in the way we think of nervousness or shaking, but can include:
- Panic Attack – feelings of terror with physical symptoms. These affect approximately twice as many women as men.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (like washing hands or cleaning house many times each day)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowds) or acrophobia (fear of heights)
- Eating Disorders
Although all the reasons are unknown, these can be caused by stressful circumstances, one-time traumatic events or long-lasting painful situations. A family history of any form of anxiety, even in a sibling, or a chemical imbalance may contribute. Sometimes the body’s primary “feel good” neurotransmitter – Seratonin – may be missing (yes, a sort of happy gene does exist!).
These occurrences can influence our physical, mental and emotional state, making us have unwanted thoughts and exhibit undesirable behavioral patterns that affect ourselves and others. Anxiety can also manifest itself as Depression and ADD/ADHD.
A good example of an “ongoing” anxiety disorder is OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder. The person does a certain activity over and over again. Ironically, they are doing this in the hopes that they never have to repeat it, or as an attempt to prevent some sort of event from ever happening. This causes bondage to the activity unless a proper solution can be found.
In most General Anxiety Disorders, these symptoms are also recurrently present: Restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbances.
Here are some helpful lifestyle tips that can decrease anxiety and reduce the stress response:
- Exercise can have a tremendous stress relieving effect on the nerves, body and brain.
- Prayer and meditation can move you toward inner peace.
- Deep breathing is exceptionally helpful – breathe in for 7 counts, hold for 7 counts, and take 7 counts to release. Repeat this three times in a row, and you will be surprised at the results.
- Listen to “Easy Music”.
- Spend time in nature. The flight of a butterfly or sunset on the horizon can take your mind off many daily obstacles.