Although many people tend to use the words “stress” and “anxiety” interchangeably, they are actually two separate conditions. Stress is a reaction to a stimulus, which can be external or internal. You may experience stress when you feel frustrated with something (like waiting in line behind a slow person) or when you are worried that you will not meet expectations (such as missing a deadline at work).
Anxiety, on the other hand, is a sense of dread, or nervousness and fear. It can be caused by negative thoughts and expectations, or as a response to stress. You may feel anxious virtually all of the time and not know why, or your feelings may be a response to something you are nervous about, like an upcoming exam.
Abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain may cause generalized anxiety. Some studies indicate that anxiety can be hereditary. Anxiety may also be induced environmentally, as when the child of a parent who is often anxious becomes an anxious person by observing the parent. But frequently, the root cause of anxiety is simply the thoughts in a person’s mind!
Anxiety and stress are subjective conditions. Different people may experience stress during different situations, and different people may react to their anxiousness in very different ways. Symptoms of anxiety can range from the mild, such as sweaty hands and tense muscles, to the severe, such as irregular heartbeat, vomiting, and anxiety attacks.
Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety from time to time. All of us have experienced the dry mouth and “butterflies in the stomach” before a test or public speaking engagement. But when does it become harmful to your health? Studies have revealed that chronic anxiety can lead to sleep disorders, relationship problems, depression, and high blood pressure
For sufferers of long-term untreated anxiety, there can be negative health consequences that have yet to be fully explored. Many studies have found a link between chronic anxiety and a variety of serious health conditions including cancer, thyroid disease, arthritis, heart disease, and respiratory illness. Chronically anxious people may even be more likely to suffer a fatal cardiac attack.
If you experience what seems like an inappropriately high amount of anxiety relative to the situation, or if you feel anxious nearly every day, you may actually have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are chronic conditions characterized by one’s inability to function normally because of frequent anxiety. Anxiety disorders are serious conditions that should be treated to lower the risk of long-term negative health effects.
Anxiety treatment has long been the subject of much discussion in the medical community. Some medical professionals feel that medication is the best treatment for chronic anxiety. Unfortunately, anxiety medications often produce serious side effects that are just as bad as or even worse than the initial condition.
There are many natural, non-invasive ways to handle negative emotional responses. Exercise is one that is often overlooked by anxious people, but it is highly effective. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting and pain-killing chemicals. With regular exercise, you may start to experience a decrease in negative emotional reactions to situations that would have previously made you extremely anxious.
The best way to cope with tension and worry is to control it from the inside out. Stress relief and stress management techniques are very valuable tools in handling day-to-day stress. These techniques can teach you to relax yourself and relieve your tension. You make a conscious effort to slow your breathing rate, release the tension, and remain in a calm state of mind. Meditation is a form of tension control in which you focus on thoughtful relaxation and deep, calming breathing.
However, if you seek a proactive solution to relieve yourself of anxiety, hypnosis is by far the most effective form of treatment. When a person undergoes hypnosis, their reactions and emotional responses to events are changed at their core. This provides them with the opportunity to cope with anxiety-inducing triggers without the usual fear and nervousness.
Hypnosis can be performed by a licensed hypnotist in a series of regular treatments. More commonly today, hypnosis is available in the form of self hypnosis programs which are available in the form of DVDs, MP3s, or CDs for individual home usage. No special skills are required to perform self hypnosis. All you need is a device to play the hypnosis program and a quiet space where you can relax and listen.
Another successful type of anxiety treatment is Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. NLP is a type of therapy that helps you condition yourself to naturally react to situations in a more positive way. You can consciously decide to stay calm rather than anxious, and consequently, you are always in control of your own feelings.
It is evident that it is important to be able to manage our negative emotional responses in order to stay healthy. Understanding how to deal with nervousness and fear can even extend your life. To treat chronic anxiety, the best course of action is to participate in hypnotherapy to change your attitudes and reactions from within. Then, use stress management techniques as needed to keep calm in everyday situations.
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