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The Truth About Anxiety

Mar 12, 2013

If people are always telling you that you’re a worrywart or accuse you of being angsty, chances are you’re already familiar with anxiety, but anxiety is actually very common and there’s a lot that most people don’t know about it. Find out more in The Truth About Anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a type of psychological stress that includes feelings of dread, fear, uneasiness and worry. It can be triggered by all sorts of different situations and things that are generally beyond our control, for example worrying about events in the future or situations we can’t avoid. For some people it is short term and minor (we all face anxieties in our day-to-day lives, whether it’s psyching yourself out about a test or worrying about how to act in front of classmates) and for others it is more long term and can be serious, sometimes requiring medication or treatment. Evolutionary theorists say that anxiety is a natural reaction that would have made us hyper-alert about possible threats in our environment. Here are some different types of anxiety:

  • Social Anxiety
  • Test/Performance Anxiety
  • Generalized Anxiety
  • Existential Anxiety
  • Decision Anxiety

Symptoms of Anxiety

Whether you’re biggest fear is embarrassing yourself in public (Social Anxiety) or the bigger question of why we’re all here (Existential Anxiety), anxiety has some key symptoms you can’t miss like restlessness, jumpiness, tenseness, nausea, sweating, trembling, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headache, stomach ache, and even dilated pupils. More extreme anxious episodes can result in anxiety attacks or panic attacks, in which you feel a heightened response featuring some or more of the above symptoms to the point where you may not feel that you can even move or breathe and that you may die or lose consciousness. There are many techniques you can learn (like learning to refocus and calm yourself through breathing) and even medications available if you feel you suffer from anxiety attacks.

Quick Facts

  • Anxiety is the most common mental illness in America (40 million adults are affected by it)
  • More women than men report feeling anxiety
  • Anxiety can affect your sleep and enhance nervous habits like biting your nails or tapping your feet
  • One plus side: studies say that anxious people are less likely to die due to accidents
  • Sometimes anxiety is the symptom of more serious health problems, like heart failure
  • The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard was the first to examine the issue of Existential Anxiety in his book The Concept of Anxiety.
  • Anxiety is often spurred by or the cause of irrational thoughts

Have Your Say

What gives you anxiety? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

53 Comments

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Anxiety poll

What's your worst symptom of anxiety?

  • Biting Nails
  • Inability to Focus
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Stomache Ache

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

rainbowpoptart
Goodness... I see where your mother is coming from: if you eat too much, no matter how healthy the food is, and don't work off the calories, you're going to gain weight. But she's being very obsessive and dramatic about it. There is nothing wrong with eating pizza or a cookie every now and then, and there's nothing wrong with relaxing from time to time either. As long as you aren't constantly eating junk and not burning the calories, then you do not have a problem. Eating unhealthy things every now and then does not make you fat. EATING every now and then does not make you fat. Try explaining this to her, calmly and patiently. Tell her that you don't want to be forced to do all of this exercising - being forced to exercise makes it a lot less interesting. Do not take "This is for your own good" for an answer; if you do not want to do it, it is NOT for your good. (This, of course, would be a different story if you were actually fat.) ALSO tell her that exercising too much and not satiating your cravings is JUST AS UNHEALTHY AS BEING FAT IS. If you were to not eat healthful meals and not snack every now and then, no matter how healthy or unhealthy the food is, plus exercise so frequently, you would not be healthy.  Eating is good for you, even if the food isn't. Eating too little and eating too much is not healthy. Exercise is good for you. Not exercising enough and exercising too much is not good for you. If you talking to her doesn't help, try telling another adult how you feel, and maybe they can help get it through to her. Regardless of what happens, take care of yourself. Moderate how much you eat, but don't limit yourself to less than you feel you need. Exercise, but don't do something you don't want to; working out should be fun. Good luck with everything. I'm really sorry that she makes you feel so badly about this.
reply 1 day
jake495
jake495 posted in Family Issues:
Make sure she knows its your body not hers In a respectful way of course
reply 1 day
ThePaleWalker636
I'm perfectly happy with myself. I'm around 5'6" and somewhere between 140-150 pounds, and I don't feel fat. But my mom is constantly telling me that I am, or, at least, that I'm going to be. She forces me to go to exercise classes because I don't like many sports, tries making me go on diets, but I don't want to. She tells me that if I continue the way I am, having an extra cookie once in a while and only eating cereal for breakfast, that I'll end up fat, and she makes sure to emphasize how horrible that is for a person to live with. She rolls her eyes and sighs whenever she sees me getting a snack, and just in general makes me feel awful for eating the things I like and for relaxing. I've told her that I don't want to do these things and that she makes me feel bad when she says things like that, but she swears it's for my own good and that I should never want to be fat, that it ruins people's lives. How should I deal with this?
reply 1 day
drowning
drowning posted in Friends:
"NS12" wrote: I meet this guy at a festival and we have been talking for the whole week and my mum has noticed I keep texting someone and I know I need to tell her but I don t know how I am going to tell her, I doubt she ll get angry or anything but he lives about 4/5 hours away from me. I know I need to tell her as I don t like keeping secrets from her. I know this was a bit ago, but I truly hope that you were able to be open with your mother. If you feel as if they won't get mad at you, then chances are that your guardian will not. Honesty is the best policy, and if you feel guilt keeping a secret, then it is one you probably shouldn't be keeping.
reply 2 days
drowning
I agree with @rainbowpoptart. You really shouldn't worry about relationships that much given your age. I promise, they're better things to worry about than boys and more secure romances occur later on in life anyways. But, given the situation, you shouldn't worry about either. The boy is unfaithful and so is your friend. If your best friend really valued your friendship, she would not have put it in a position that could end it. Don't waste your time on those who will not put you first just as you do for them; better people will come into your life and they are the ones who you should really worry about.
reply 3 days