THE ANXIETY HACKING REVOLUTION
“Anxiety is not a life sentence” and if you have heard this statement over and over again it is because it is true!
To be housebound because of overwhelming anxiety, or to be forced to make unwanted changes in your life just to accommodate your anxiety is unconscionable. It makes me mad, because as someone who overcame generalized anxiety disorder I know for a fact that you can manage and control your anxiety.
We have been hacking anxiety for years now and have since found solutions and ways to overcome it. Indeed, the research on anxiety has accumulated so much knowledge about it; we know about its triggers, its impact on our mental and physical health, and we also know what is effective against it. The knowledge and resources are all available to you for free, you just need to know where to look.
You need guidance and direction on how to understand the knowledge and apply it in your own life. This is what MindriseLife is about, we share those resources with you. We are your guide in your own anxiety hacking revolution, the one you are starting at home.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ANXIETY.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety is a feeling of dread and uneasiness about something real or imagined
“Something real” refers to an event about which you predict a negative outcome. For example, you are uncomfortable with your child playing on a swing, because you are convinced that she will fall and hurt herself.
“Something imagined” refers to a scenario that you create in your head about something that hasn’t happened yet. For example, you are uncomfortable with riding the subway, because you fear getting stuck in it without air.
WHAT IS AN ANXIETY DISORDER?
Anxiety becomes disordered when it has become a burden to you. It interrupts your normal rhythm, prevents you from functioning properly in society, is overwhelming, and makes you miserable.
Social sciences distinguish 6 most common anxiety disorders according to the source of the anxiety:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): source is internal
Social anxiety disorder (SAD): source is the social situation
Agoraphobia (AG): source is wide spaces and crowds
Panic Disorder (PAD): source is exaggerated attention to bodily symptoms
Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD): source is cognitive inflexibility
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): source is exposure to a traumatic experience(s)
DO ANXIETY & DEPRESSION GO HAND IN HAND?
Anxiety can in fact lead to depression, because it brings up a lot negative thoughts and feelings. Similarly, someone with depression could also experience anxiety and even panic attacks as a result of the negative thoughts and feelings aroused by this emotion. This is called comorbidity, because the disorders occur simultaneously.
Below is a list of symptoms* that if all present might indicate that the person suffers from both anxiety and depression:
Irrational worries or fears that won’t go away
Physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, rapid heartbeat, labored breathing or abdominal pain
Difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep
Changes in eating habits — either too much or too little
Trouble remembering, making decisions or concentrating
Constant feelings of sadness or worthlessness
Loss of usual interest in activities or hobbies
Feeling often tired and cranky
Inability to relax and live in the moment
Suffering from panic attacks, including the sense of losing inner control
The Awkward Yeti
CAN EXTROVERTS HAVE ANXIETY?
Yes, being an extrovert is not necessarily a protective factor against anxiety.
Anxiety is the result of a combination of many factors, including learnt behaviors and even certain personality traits.
As a matter of fact, people with the personality trait of extroversion could potentially develop social anxiety.
CAN PANIC ATTACK CAUSE CHEST PAIN?
Chest pain is common during anxiety or panic attacks. Typically, hyperventilation during panic attacks may lead to musculoskeletal chest pain, with strain or spasm of intercostal chest wall muscles.
Though it can feel alarming, anxiety chest pain is fleeting. Pain typically lasts around 10 minutes, though other anxiety or panic attack symptoms (like dizziness, shortness of breath, or nausea) may last longer.
Some panic or anxiety attack sufferers may also feel soreness in the chest area for a few hours after the attack, due to the intense muscle contractions in the wall of the chest that took place during the attack.
IS ANXIETY NORMAL?
Yes, anxiety is perfectly normal and everyone has experienced it to some degree.
Under normal circumstances, it increases vigilance and alertness while increasing your overall energy
Under abnormal circumstances, it renders you inert and unable to think clearly while draining your energy.
CAN YOU DIE FROM TOO MUCH ANXIETY?
Anxiety can deplete all your energy, and it can be so intense that at times it may feel like something bad is about to happen to you, BUT IT IS UNLIKELY THAT IT WILL KILL YOU.
CAN YOU HAVE MULTIPLE ANXIETY DISORDERS AT ONCE?
Unfortunately, yes it is possible to have more than one anxiety disorders. It is called anxiety-anxiety comorbidity, and research indicates that it is frequently more severe, more chronic and requires more treatment.
WHEN SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT MY ANXIETY?
If you are asking this question, it means that you should be concerned. If your anxiety is overwhelming, it disrupts your normal functioning, and you feel depressed and unhappy, then you ought to take action.
At MindRiseLife, we offer many resources and info to help you overcome or manage your anxiety on your own. However, if you feel that you cannot do it on your own, you should contact a healthcare professional.
Alternatively, if you don’t know who to contact, please consult our list of emergency contacts.
WHAT IS THE USE OF LEARNING ABOUT HOW CERTAIN BRAIN REGIONS ARE OVERACTIVE/UNDERACTIVE IN ANXIETY?
It is very helpful to understand what happens in the brain during anxiety, because it gives you perspective. Instead of believing catastrophic thoughts about the possibility that you might be losing your mind, you can calmly remind yourself that what is happening is due to a malfunction in a specific brain region.
Just as you would tend to a wound on your limb, you can tend to the dysfunction and research what you can do to help fix it.
Remember the mind-body connection: in the same way that your brain can affect your body, your body can also influence your brain.
ARE ESSENTIAL OILS EFFECTIVE AT REDUCING ANXIETY?
A number of studies have shown that essential oils could significantly alleviate anxiety, however it is not clear what dosage is effective.
In addition, lavender has been found to be the most effective anxiolytic essential oil (reduce anxiety)
Other common essential oils have beneficial effects for anxiety and depression:
Bergamot: calming and relaxing. Alleviates moodiness and helps reduce sleeplessness.
Chamomile: relieve stress. Helps induce sleep through relaxation
Clary sage: used to combat depression.
Frankincense: Relaxation and calming effects in stressful situations. Helpful with meditation.
Lemon: Could help soothe social anxiety through general mood-boosting qualities.
Neroli: Reduce stress and may stabilize mood.
Rose: Promote relaxation, induce calmness and improve sleep.
Sandalwood: Induce calm and harmony. Helpful with meditation
Sweet marjoram: Relieved fatigue and depression. Calm the mind
Ylang ylang: Boost moods through the release negative feelings.
IS ANXIETY THE SAME AS FEAR?
No, although anxiety and fear arouse similar symptoms in your body, they are distinctly different.
Anxiety is focused on events that have not happened yet, whether it be in the immediate future or in the near future.
Fear is focused on events that are currently happening and that necessitate a response.
WHAT IS A PANIC ATTACK?
A panic attack is a short episode of intense anxiety accompanied by acute bodily symptoms such as increased respiration, fast heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, etc… (among many other possible symptoms).
Although some people may feel like their panic attack lasts for hours, it is very unlikely that what they are experiencing is a single panic attack. What is more likely to happen is that they are having several mini panic attacks back to back.
ARE ANXIETY ATTACK AND PANIC ATTACK THE SAME THING?
No, the word “anxiety attack” is a misnomer, because it is often used interchangeably with the word “panic attack”.
A panic attack is a sudden onset of intense and acute physiological arousal with shaking, fast heartbeats, sweating, and other common symptoms. Fear is the characteristic emotion.
Anxiety, not anxiety attack, is a continuous feeling of discomfort with milder physiological arousal like muscle tension. Irritability and worry are the characteristic emotions.
WHAT IS HYPERVENTILATION?
Hyperventilation refers to the act of breathing fast or increasing respiratory rate. When we breathe normally, we take about 15 to 18 breaths per minute (one breath cycle includes on inhalation and one exhalation), but when we hyperventilation we take about 18 to 20 breaths per minute and this rate can go up to 30 breaths per minute during a panic attack.
The result of hyperventilation is that there is too much oxygen in the blood than is used and not enough oxygen reaches the brain. You can find out more about breathing and learn breathing exercises to help against hyperventilation here
CAN YOUR BREATHING STOP DURING A PANIC ATTACK?
No, even though it feels that way when you are in the throngs of a panic attack you will never stop breathing because of the panic attack (presupposing that you don’t have a health condition).
Although we have some control over our breathing, respiration is controlled by a portion of our brain that is essentially self-running. Respiration is a more complex mechanism than simply inhaling and exhaling, which is what we can control, because it includes various interdependent systems that work in a symbiotic fashion and that are under involuntary control.
TIP! did you know that during exhalations, you do not expel all the Co2 from your lungs? That could explain why we are able to hold our breath for a few minutes.
IS THERE A PARTICULAR TYPE OF FOOD THAT HELPS REDUCE ANXIETY?
There is not a particular type of food that helps reduce anxiety, but maintaining an overall healthy diet is absolutely primordial.
Staying away from alcohol and caffeine has been shown to help reduce anxiety symptoms. Similarly, eating more fruits, avoiding foods with high sodium content like fast foods and processed foods (e.g., chips) has also been associated with lower anxiety.
Vitamin B6 and B12 have been investigated and they were found to have anxiolytic effects (i.e., reduce anxiety) as well.
CAN ANXIETY CAUSE DIFFICULTY SWALLOWING?
Normally, the tongue pushes foods and liquids from the mouth to the throat. The foods and liquids then pass from the throat into the esophagus, which is the tube they travel through to the stomach.
To keep foods or liquids moving to the stomach, the esophagus muscles tighten and relax in a wave-like motion. However, acute anxiety can cause esophageal dysmotility.
With esophageal dysmotility, foods and liquids do not easily pass down the esophagus, which causes problems swallowing.
Furthermore, this dysmotility may lead to esophageal spasm, a well-described cause of noncardiac chest pain.
“Anxiety hacking ”- WHY?
Because you need to hack anxiety rather than simply relieve the symptoms, as it is the best way to obtain long-term results, even eliminate anxiety completely.
“Anxiety hacking” – how?
You don’t need to turn into a monk to control or manage your anxiety, you just need to understand how and what makes your brain respond with anxiety. Armed with this knowledge, you can start to build the skills that will allow you to overcome anxiety.
MindRiseLife helps you raise your awareness about your mental health through:
Easy-to-digest articles from experts in anxiety research and mental health
Quizzes and self-administered tests to help you identify issues that could affect your emotional health
Practice exercises that are known to bring anxiety relief
Tons of tips, hacks, and recommendations that are a direct application of science findings in mental wellness
“Anxiety hacking” – where?
The beauty of it is that you can do it at home, by yourself, at your own pace…and its free!
Don’t want to do it alone, MindRiseLife is also a community of people with the same goals and interests. By participating and making your voice heard, you become an active member of our community, so don’t be passive about your mental health.
“Anxiety hacking” – wheN?
Don’t waste any more time and get cracking.
Click here for categories related to well-being and anxiety and here for social anxiety.