The world is not what it once was. We are bombarded with more and more stressful situations and learning to cope with them is often not easy. The added stress and development of anxiety can affect the body but also the mind as well. In many people – upwards of almost 25% of the population – people begin to develop forms of anxiety. Can you recognize warning signs of anxiety disorder?
Of course to be properly diagnosed, you should seek a medical professional. However, if you may be wondering if you may be suffering from anxiety, here is a list of 9 warning signs of anxiety disorder.
#1. You Constantly Worry
Generally, it is natural for people to worry about things. Some things but not EVERYTHING! Do you find yourself constantly worrying about your loved ones, your job, your relationships, the weather, and even things that have not even occurred yet?
If you are perpetually overthinking situations or scenarios or even imagining how things COULD happen, you may be experiencing some anxiety.
Like I mentioned, worrying about some things is normal but when it gets to the point that it is negatively affecting your life, you need to seek help.
#2. Your Mind Never Turns Off
The sun is shining, your kids are playing peacefully, and you are enjoying a book by one of your favourite authors. Everything is just peachy and there is no need to be feeling stressed or anxious. Yet your brain is going a mile a minute and refuses to slow down and relax. It is presenting you with a million possibilities about situations that are not even necessarily on your radar. This may be a warning sign of anxiety disorder if it is constantly occurring.
#3. Constant Muscle Tension
I would like you to sit back in your chair right now and focus on the muscles in your body.
- Is your jaw clenched?
- Are your shoulders raised and tense?
- Are your hands forming a fist?
- Are you scowling?
If your muscles are constantly tense, it may be your body’s way of dealing with anxiety. If you find that muscle tension has become your norm, you may find it is also triggering migraines.
You may find it beneficial to get a massage on a regular basis to relax those knotted muscles and relieve tension. Even some regular exercise can help to alleviate it. You may not even realize how much pain you are in because you have grown accustomed to it.
#4. You Display Some Peculiar Habits
Think back to the last situation that made you feel uncomfortable or nervous. And to the one before that. Were you displaying some odd or peculiar habits?
Did you begin talking to yourself or tapping the side of your leg incessantly or perhaps twisting and pulling your hair?
If you are demonstrating this habit or habits every time you become uncomfortable, your body is reacting to the situation and attempting to cope.
#5. You have Stomach Issues
Our bodies are amazing machines and when something is not right, they will send us signs of stress or anxiety – one of the most common being stomach issues.
Often things like stomach cramping, bloating, excess gas, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, or nausea are signals that should not be ignored.
Keep in mind, it is normal to experience some of these issues periodically and are not a sign of anxiety. Note things that you have eaten and/or how often you experience these symptoms. If they worsen or become more frequent, pay attention and seek some medical advice. It will only get worse the longer you ignore it!
#6. Your Breathing Changes Randomly
For whatever reason, you are suddenly feeling anxious. Your breathing pattern changes almost instantly. Maybe you start having short, rapid breaths or only breathe through your nose. Perhaps it feels like you are not getting enough oxygen and you feel lightheaded.
Be cognizant of these changes in your breathing and you must seek some medical help.
#7. You Seek Validation Constantly
Those people who have anxiety often find that they are always questioning themselves. They are filled with worry and an overwhelming amount of self-doubt, no matter the situation. As a result, they have an incessant need to find assurance and validation from those around them.
It is relatively normal to want to receive that validation and approval from other people. Who doesn’t want to make sure they are doing things correctly? However, someone with anxiety will never be satisfied with the amount of reassurance given. It is difficult for them to think rationally and others’ validation only momentarily. Then their mind goes back to doubting themselves completely.
#8. You Develop Compulsive Behaviours
Compulsive behaviours are often a common symptom of anxiety. However, they can also make the anxiety even worse.
When we feel we MUST complete a certain task, that overwhelming feeling can become even worse if we cannot do it. For example, do you feel the need to organize and reorganize your kitchen pantry over and over? The mere thought of not being able to do it feels like it will drive you crazy? Or perhaps you must check that you have unplugged the hot iron 4 times even though you know you did it the first time?
When these types of behaviours become so compulsive that they are interfering with your daily life, you know that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Pay attention to these behaviours as possible warning signs of anxiety disorder.
#9. Suddenly You are Emotional!
When we are under stress and anxiety, our emotions can sometimes get the better of us. However, pay attention if you feel like crying out of nowhere or you want to punch something for no reason on a regular basis.
I stress “on a regular basis” because if you see a sappy commercial once and begin crying and wonder why, it probably is not anxiety – perhaps it was a rough day or it brought up memories of a loved one who has passed. However, if it is constantly occurring, that is when you need to look further into it.
If your feelings are overwhelming you, try to focus on more positive thoughts to get you through the difficult situation. Or take deep breaths which can force you to focus on your breathing and not what is triggering you.
Anxiety can be extremely difficult to handle, especially if you are unaware that you have it. It can cause your physical and mental health to be compromised in many different ways. Be cognizant of the warning signs of anxiety disorder. If you have the disorder and be treated accordingly, it can cause less interruptions in your life.
So many individuals have it so you are not alone. Do not be ashamed that you may have an anxiety disorder – reach out and find the help that you need. Here are a few strategies to help you cope with your anxiety.