Perhaps you’ve been putting it down to the times we’re living in…between the economy, the environment, the atmosphere at work and all the rest, who can blame anyone for being on edge?
But if you’re like millions of people – more than 4 million in the U.S. alone! – there may be something more going on.
Called Generalized Anxiety Disorder, this condition takes basic everyday worries and amps them up to overwhelming levels. If you suffer from GAD (according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition), you’re stressing about a variety of topics, more days than not, over a period of at least six months, and you’re finding it hard to control your worry.
You may also be experiencing restlessness, edginess, or feelings of fear; fatigue; difficulty concentrating; irritability; difficulty falling or staying asleep, or sleeping restfully; or your mind going blank. Physical symptoms may include rapid heart beat, cold and clammy hands, dizziness, shortness of breath, muscle tension, jumpiness and/or gastrointestinal discomfort (see Positively Positive for more details).
While a little bit of fear can serve as a thrill (which is why roller coasters and horror movies draw crowds year after year) and mild anxiety can boost your performance and protect you from danger, chronic anxiety is a debilitating condition that saps energy and enjoyment, reduces work performance and damages relationships, and ultimately can have a dire impact on your health: heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, respiratory disorders, and even autoimmune disease and cancer have all been linked to long-term anxiety.
So – yes, in a very real sense, stress kills! And the pharmaceutical industry is all too eager to offer solutions.
But what if you’d rather bypass the chemical side effects and go the natural route – is that even an option?
I’m asked this question time and again, and the answer is – yes, if you’re willing to go slowly, take the time to get to know your body and observe your mental functioning, and make conscious lifestyle changes! You see, your anxiety isn’t occurring in a vacuum – it’s arises out of processes taking place in your brain that affect – and are affected by – processes taking place in your body. Very literally, it is a mind/body/spirit condition!
I work with my clients toward reducing stress and anxiety on every level, mind, body, and spirit, and offer a bulging toolbox full of techniques…but for now I just want to look at one, a big one:
What are you putting into your body?
In next week’s blog find out about the 5 anxiety building ingredients.