For many, anxiety is an isolating state, a mindset where we feel in a rut, lonely and confused. At times, we may experience anxiety attacks as frantic reeling thoughts about how we may always feel this paralyzed, that there's something intrinsically wrong. These thoughts and feelings become debilitating, nearly unbearable, and can emerge without warning.
Anxiety can make you feel worried or scared and can result in physical symptoms such as palpitations. It is a normal human response to be anxious in certain situations, and it is important to understand what anxiety is, how to identify anxiety, and learn how to manage anxiety within our daily lives.
- What is Anxiety?
- Symptoms: How to Identify an Anxiety Attack
- Types of Anxiety
- Simple Ways to Manage Anxiety
- The Bottom Line
What is Anxiety?
We have all had the feeling of worry and fear. These are perfectly normal responses to certain situations. For example, you could be anxious about a job interview, financial worries, etc. Feelings of anxiety can raise a natural feeling or awareness of risk factors, often known as "fight or flight."
Our brains react and respond by releasing adrenaline. Even if the "risk" is not real, ultimately causing symptoms of anxiety. Once this feeling has built up, even after the "risk" has gone, it can leave us feeling like things will never get better. Everyone deals with anxiety differently and it has very different effects on us all. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms.
Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery. Often, daily rituals help many people with their mental wellbeing. Blending ritual into your lifestyle will help to generate a dependable structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose, which is an important aspect of contending with anxiety. A simple ritual can involve waking up at the same time each morning, going to bed at the same time each day, having ritual blend tea, or winding down with frequency healing or sound therapy. It is important to find rituals that work best for you to manage anxiety.
Symptoms: How to Identify an Anxiety Attack
When identifying an anxiety attack, it is important to look at both mental and physical symptoms. Here, we will outline a few symptoms to be aware of. For instance, some mental symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Racing thoughts
- Uncontrollable over-thinking
- Difficulties concentrating
- Feelings of dread, panic or ‘impending doom’
- Feeling irritable
- Heightened alertness
- Problems with sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Wanting to escape from the situation you are in, and
Some physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Heavy and fast breathing
- Hot flushes or blushing
- Dry mouth
- Hair loss
- Fast heartbeat
- Extreme tiredness or lack of energy
- Dizziness and fainting, and
- Stomach aches and sickness
Types of Anxiety
While we do not fully understand what causes anxiety disorders it is thought that factors such as genetics, life experience, drugs such as alcohol, and natural circumstances can be attributed to the onset of anxiety. It is important to acknowledge that many people will feel anxious in certain high-pressure situations that arise naturally in life, however there is a difference between feelings of anxiety and an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can lead to depression if left untreated. Different types of anxiety include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Health anxiety
- Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Now, we won't be exploring all of the different types in massive detail (if we did, the blog would be endless!).
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
This is more associated with overthinking and over-worrying about different things you feel are out of your control. You feel anxious often and on edge with GAD.
This will have a massive impact on your daily activities. Even if you're just sitting watching television. Your mind will be in hyper-drive. You experience a change in your work, you worry about going anywhere or leaving the house in general. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating. GAD is most commonly linked with depression and other anxiety disorders.
This causes regular panic attacks with little to no trigger. They come on very suddenly and can feel intense and frightening. This also causes anxiety about having another panic attack. Panic disorder symptoms can include the following.
- An overwhelming sense of dread or fear.
- Chest pain or a sensation that your heart is beating irregularly.
- Feeling that you might be dying or having a heart attack.
- Sweating and hot flashes or chills and shivering.
- A dry mouth, shortness of breath, or choking sensation.
- Nausea, dizziness, and feeling faint.
- Numbness, pins, and needles or a tingling sensation in your fingers.
- A need to go to the toilet.
- A churning stomach.
- Ringing in your ears.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Lots and lots of people get anxious about different social situations but if you have social anxiety you will have a specific fear of it. This will happen before, during, or after the event. Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following.
- Speaking in public or in groups.
- Meeting new people or strangers.
- Eating or drinking in public.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsession - an unwelcome thought or image that you keep thinking about and is largely out of your control. These can be difficult to ignore. These thoughts can be disturbing, which can make you feel distressed and anxious.
Compulsion - something you think about or do repeatedly to relieve anxiety. This can be hidden or obvious. Such as saying a phrase in your head to calm yourself. Or checking that the front door is locked.
You may have health anxiety if you spend a lot of time worrying about if you are ill. Or worrying about getting ill. You may worry that your doctor has missed something, you will regularly and frantically check your body a lot for signs of illness, you will be constantly worried about your health.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
You will get increasingly upset when you look at yourself in the mirror or when trying on clothes in the shop. The thoughts don’t go away and have a big effect on daily life.
It doesn't mean you're vain. You may believe that you are ugly and that everyone sees you as ugly, even if they tell you otherwise. Or you may believe that people are focused on an area of your body such as scar or birthmark. It can lead to depression.
You may spend a large amount of time doing the following:
- Staring at your face or body in the mirror.
- Comparing your features with other people’s.
- Covering yourself with lots of makeup.
- Thinking about plastic surgery when you do not need it.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
You may have PTSD if your anxiety symptoms developed after a stressful or distressing event. Or if you have experienced trauma over a long period of time.
- Life-changing incident or illness
Simple Ways to Manage Anxiety
For managing anxiety, begin by seeking community and building a support system that fits your given situation. You could be open and honest with family and friends by bringing up the idea and explaining where you are coming from and how you feel. Helping others empathize with you by communicating can not only inform them about how to lend you support, but these extraordinary interactions often build real trust and dependability.
Taking Cannabidiol (CBD)
For many, taking cannabidiol (CBD) is a convenient and effective treatment for anxiety. One of the reasons for the popularity of CBD is that several human and animal studies have been conducted that show it’s promise, making it an appealing alternative to other drugs that are typically prescribed for anxiety and depression, such as benzodiazepines. Unlike benzodiazepines, which are associated with unpleasant side effects (e.g., agitation, insomnia) and addiction, CBD has been shown to support heart health by reducing blood pressure and as well as limiting the inflammation and cell death that coincides with heart disease. This ability is commonly attributed to CBD’s stress and anxiety-reducing capabilities, as well as its antioxidant properties.
Many find drinking tea to be a simple and relaxing activity that reduces feelings of anxiety. Some tea may contain caffeine (although not as much as coffee), however, some tea may induce deep sleep, reducing insomnia and even nightmares. For all these reasons, it’s important to do your research on what teas make the most sense for your daily lifestyle and pay attention to both the physical and mental effects of drinking tea.
- Peppermint Tea - Research shows the aroma may reduce feelings of frustration, anxiety, and fatigue and gives you an overwhelming sense of calmness if drank before bed. Therefore allowing you to have a better sleep. inhaling the scent of peppermint might even soothe anxiety in people who were hospitalized for heart attack and childbirth.
- Camomile Tea - Sometimes excessive stress and anxiety may cause sleeplessness. Chamomile tea not only reduces stress and anxiety but also helps treat insomnia. Chamomile tea has great benefits in relaxing the muscles and reducing irritability.
- Lemon Balm Tea - Lemon Balm is a calming herb that reduces the stress hormone called cortisol and relaxes the body without causing drowsiness. It also helps to elevate the mood.
- Passion Flower Tea - Passionflower tea is a natural remedy for stress and anxiety. This is because of the flavone chrysin contained in passionflower which has anti-anxiety benefits. Passionflower tea helps induce peaceful sleep. Keep in mind that, although it's safe and doesn't cause effects when taken with other sedatives, it's better to avoid passionflower tea if you're taking such medication. Children under 6 months and pregnant and lactating women should avoid this.
- Green Tea - The polyphenol in green tea helps combat anxiety and stress. Although green tea contains a lot of caffeine, it keeps you alert yet calm enough without making you fatigued.
It is important to remember that tea is not a cure for anxiety - it can be an aid. Soothing beverages, especially consumed as part of a relaxing ritual, often help contend with the feelings of anxiety and reduces and potentially the feelings of helplessness.
When feeling overwhelmed with the emotions and feelings that come with anxiety, practicing meditation can be a helpful way to de-stress. Closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, and clearing your mind can bring your body and mind back into alignment and facilitate a more peaceful headspace.
The Bottom Line
Life changes constantly, and we understand little about ourselves. For managing anxiety, you do not have to confront the challenge by yourself. Anxiety can be exacerbated by isolation and a lack of structure in life, especially when you feel a lack of support. Therefore, we turn to build support systems and communities around us, why we turn to balancing rituals that help us to relax and feel centered.
At Empress Teas, we are here to help. We believe in the power of communities and the importance of learning from each other’s unique perspectives and differences. Regardless of where you come from or your walk of life, understanding anxiety and arriving at a solution to manage it is an essential aspect of leading a more positive lifestyle. Treat yourself to the daily rituals you deserve: sit, sip, and self-reflect.