Many women follow a fast track—juggling families, jobs, and an intense desire for perfection. These roles sometimes compete, making women vulnerable to symptoms of anxiety. A little anxiety can increase concentration and improve performance, but too much can imperil happiness and health.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a response to a perceived psychological or physical danger that causes extreme tension, anxious feelings or thoughts, and physical symptoms. It is characterized by a sense of vulnerability and fear. Anxiety is not dangerous, just uncomfortable.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Excessive worrying
- Fear of losing control
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
It’s difficult for an anxious mind to exist in a relaxed body. To tame a racing heart, churning stomach, or nervous body, learn how to relax. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques will help alleviate the acute discomfort. Changing negative thoughts and mistaken beliefs are also important strategies for calming anxiety. The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne provides helpful information for understanding and managing anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health problems, affecting 13 million Americans. When anxiety becomes too severe, it interferes with a person’s ability to function. People with generalized anxiety feel symptoms with no known cause most of the time. Panic attacks strike without warning and bring intense feelings of pain and fear. The attack can be so severe the person thinks he is going to go crazy or die. Phobias are connected to a feared object, situation, or activity and cause feelings of terror, dread, or panic. People with obsessive compulsive disorder are plagued with involuntary, recurrent, and persistent thoughts, impulses, or behaviors. Post traumatic stress disorder is seen in people traumatized by tragic accidents, war, abuse, or violence.
Treatment May Be Needed
Generalized anxiety may be helped by simple relaxation exercises and giving oneself time to unwind daily. But more severe forms of anxiety may require outside help. When anxiety persists and quality of life is altered, a mental health counselor can provide help for managing symptoms and offer ways to deal with the real-life conflicts that contribute to anxiety. A physician can prescribe medication, when needed, to help relieve the symptoms.
Gracie Moyers, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor, provides counseling to individuals, couples, and families. She is in private practice with the Offices of Paul Tobin & Ann Benjamin at 3855 S Boulevard in Edmond and may be reached at 405-340-4321.