How to Prevent Stress from Becoming a Full-blown Anxiety Disorder
by Ryan Rivera
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders that afflict millions of people worldwide. These disorders cover a group of conditions which share intense and irrational anxiety as their primary physical and psychological symptoms. Types of anxiety disorders include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder (with or without Agoraphobia), Social Phobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Experts have concluded that anxiety disorders are oftentimes caused by an individual’s inability to properly manage and deal with stressful events and situations. Stress, in small quantities, can truly be beneficial. It helps one become more motivated to learn and more productive at work. Also, stress can give that extra strength needed for emergency situations that demand it. However, too much stress can be harmful to the body. These stressful events make one feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. With frequent exposure to these stressful situations, one can develop general poor health as well as specific physical or psychological illnesses like that of anxiety disorders.
Fortunately, anxiety disorders can be prevented. These disorders which are usually characterized by irrational fear and worry that lasts for six months at a time can be prevented by simply altering one’s response to stress. Simple lifestyle changes are often the best means of preventing stress and anxiety and their debilitating symptoms.
1. Don’t take on too much.
At work, people oftentimes think that they are Superman or Wonder Woman. They take on too much workload afraid that turning down certain tasks from their supervisors might make them miss their chance for a promotion. At the end of the day, they end up terrorized by the number of tasks they have yet to finish on a deadline.
To avoid being stressed by work, it is then absolutely necessary for people to know their limits. They need to gauge how much work they can honestly handle and stick to that count. It is best for them to refuse any additional responsibilities for taking on more than they can handle is a guaranteed trigger for stress.
2. Never bottle up feelings.
Sometimes, people avoid expressing themselves fully in fear that such openness can lead to deadly confrontations and relationship problems. If something or someone bothers them, they keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves refusing a dialogue. Because of this bottling up, their resentment builds up over time and turns into a disorder. To prevent this from becoming a full-blown anxiety disorder, people have to communicate their concerns in an open and respectful manner. Doing so alleviates the tension and anxiety felt within and is replaced by relief and clarity.
3. Exercise regularly.
Physical activity has been found to play a major role in reducing the effects of stress on the mind and body. In various studies, researchers have found that regular exercise can help expel excess negative emotions and tensions from the body and helps people enter a more calm state. This is because when one performs exercise, there is an increased flow of blood to the brain which causes the release of hormones such as endorphins. These endorphins are morphine-like substances that can have a positive effect on mood. It produces an antidepressant as well as anti-anxiety effect on people creating a general sense of “feeling better”. Because exercise acts to give psychological lift, it counteracts the effects of stress and prevents the development of anxiety disorders.
4. Eat a healthy diet.
Being mindful of what people take in as nourishment is very important, especially for those who are in a great amount of stress. This is because a body needs to be supplied with enough energy from various sources such as meat, fish, vegetables, egg, milk, and whole grains in order to better cope with the daily stressors. Hence, it is very important that people avoid skipping meals and start their day right with a healthy breakfast and other nutritious meals throughout the day.
Also, people should reduce their consumption of caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and cola as well as reduce their intake of refined sugars. This is because the temporary high caused by these substances often end with a crash in mood and energy. Moreover, by limiting the amount consumed from these substances, a person can feel more relaxed throughout the day and sleep better at night.
5. Get enough sleep.
A tired mind and body is more likely to fail from effectively coping with stress and anxiety. With energy levels going downhill, people become more irrational by the minute making them unfit to make decisions and do related work. To restore the body’s normal functioning, it is then necessary that people get enough hours of sleep. A sleep of 6 to 8 hours everyday is recommended to ensure that the body recovers and restores the energy consumed the day before.
People often get so caught up with the hustle and bustle of life that they forget to take care of their own needs. This neglect causes them to be exposed to the dangers of stress and anxiety disorders. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, it is very important that people nurture themselves as a necessity and not as a luxury.