Anxiety can be a severe and life-changing issue. While certain levels of anxiety are healthy, there are points when those anxious emotions boil over. The stress that results can turn you into your own worst enemy.
It makes sense that anxiety can be so devastating. After all, it’s a sign that your brain is struggling and beginning to malfunction, and you need your brain to be in tip-top shape. It’s the organ that controls every single bodily function you have!
3 Signs Anxiety Is Ruining Your Life
So how can you tell when anxious emotions are taking too big of a toll on you, and what can you do about it? Here are three signs anxiety is ruining your life and three ways to let it go.
1 – Small or Minor Things Push You Over The Edge With Anxiety
You’re like a tightly-wound spring when anxiety is ruining your life. Stress puts you in a constant fight-or-flight state, which means you view everything as a threat. Examples of ways you can be affected include:
- An offhand comment causes you to overthink and makes you too anxious to interact with others socially.
- A mildly awkward encounter causes you to lose sleep and obsessively replay it in your head.
- A minor inconvenience at work makes you question your capabilities and skills.
- Someone in your life has fun with other people, and you panic and think you’re going to lose them.
- A minor accident, such as knocking over a glass of water, causes you to break down in tears.
- A remark from a friend forces you to lash out at them and take things too personally.
Worse still, these things are so small they make you feel even worse about yourself. You feel ashamed because you’re so affected by what seems to be something so minor, and that only makes you even more anxious. It’s a never-ending cycle.
2 – The Stress Means That Everyday Tasks Become Too Difficult
People often overlook the severity of mental health issues in everyday life, but anxiety can be downright crippling. For example, when anxiety makes simple tasks too tricky, you may experience the following situations.
- You struggle to get out of bed in the morning and want to stay in bed all day.
- You don’t want to go outside and feel compelled to isolate yourself and skip out on errands, necessary appointments, and even work.
- You’ll experience severe brain fog that causes you to make many mistakes at simple tasks.
- You have trouble concentrating on anything at all.
Once again, it’s clear to see how this contributes to the deadly cycle of unchecked anxiety. When you’re unable to live everyday life, your anxiety worsens, making you more anxious. This outcome is because:
- You cannot keep up the comforting rhythm of regular routines, which throws off your bodily rhythm and makes you more anxious.
- You’re constantly in fight-or-flight, so stress levels are at an all-time high.
- A lack of ability to do otherwise effortless things makes you question yourself and your capabilities.
- When isolated, you cannot gain outside, realistic perspectives and can keep making up anxiety-driven ideas in your head.
3 – You Question If The Anxiety Will Ruin Your Life
If you have to ask yourself if anxiety is ruining your life, chances are that it is. People who aren’t struggling with anxious stress don’t wonder if they’re doing OK. However, the moment you start questioning yourself, it’s likely that you’re being severely affected by anxiety.
The human body is a bit of a mystery, but it tries its best to communicate its needs to you via various signals. In the same way, your nerves scream at you to jump away from very hot objects when you touch them, and your stomach growls when you’re hungry, your body doesn’t fail to indicate when something’s wrong.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and your body knows it. If you’re noticing your anxiety a lot, it’s because your mind and body attempt to inform you that this anxiety is a problem. Do yourself a favor, listen to yourself, and trust that you have your best interests at heart.
3 Ways To Let Anxiety Go
So now you are more attuned to the existence of those anxious thoughts. How do you stop it?
1 – Interact With Others To Release Anxiety
When you’re anxious, sometimes the last thing you want to do is interact with other people. While it’s OK to need some private time to yourself to process your emotions and calm down, things get unhealthy when you isolate yourself entirely for prolonged periods.
In reality, connecting to the people around you is crucial to letting go of anxiety. This even applies to social anxiety, as long as you choose to be around your loved ones or people you feel safe with. Research shows that spending time with others is capable of reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Here are some ways to do this:
Give Someone A Hug To Relive Your Stress
Hugging or cuddling someone releases the love hormone known as oxytocin. This reduces feelings of anxiety, helps lower blood pressure, and even improves immunity, according to studies. If you’re not much of a hugger, any physical interaction can produce this effect to a mild extent, such as patting someone on the back or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with someone.
Play With A Pet
If your social battery isn’t charged enough for human interaction, a pet can be an excellent source of exchange. The same love hormone, oxytocin, is released when you cuddle and play with a pet, and studies even show that animal companionship can relieve anxiety.
Ask For Help
One of the reasons that anxiety is so difficult to overcome is that it traps you in a deadly cycle where you’re too anxious to ask for help, which only makes you more nervous. You may even be overthinking, developing wrong ideas about your worth, and getting it in your head that other people would never help you.
This means you sink further and further into the pit of anxiety. Asking for help can be scary, but it’s essential to letting go of anxiety. You can ask to vent to or talk to a loved one or trusted friend. You can request support in doing something that makes you anxious.
Or you can even get help from a professional counselor or seek out support groups or clubs for things you’re interested in. Finally, you can release your anxiety if you can make connections with others.
2 – Permit Yourself To Feel Anxious
It sounds a little counterproductive, but sometimes, anxiety gets worse because you keep trying to push it aside. Studies have long shown that repressing emotions makes them more robust and can even turn them into something worse. For example, your anxiety over something reasonable, like a job interview, can make you decide that you’re worthless and incapable of doing anything. It’s a pretty deadly cycle.
Anxiety is a normal human emotion. And, even when it’s unrealistic, irrational, and unhelpful, it’s a valuable experience. But unfortunately, many people make their anxiety worse by feeling too ashamed of their emotional experiences. Essentially, anxiety can be a cycle – feeling anxious about feeling anxious makes you more nervous!
This is why you have to permit yourself to experience anxiety. This doesn’t mean bowing to it and validating irrational anxiety. It just means letting yourself feel it without judging yourself. Instead of feeling ashamed, honor the emotion and thank your brain for attempting to protect you. Spending anywhere from one to five minutes peacefully sitting with your anxiety and watching it as a witness can allow it to pass.
3 – Express Yourself Creatively To Prevent Anxiety Attacks
One of the best ways to let go of anxiety is by expressing it in unique and interesting ways. Plenty of people find ways to fully capture the depths of their anxiety through art and other release methods. It can be pretty cathartic to put down all your feelings into a visual, verbal, or creative medium, giving you the chance to process intense, complex, or complicated emotions. Here are some ways to relieve the stress in your life:
Many people keep a journal to express their feelings of anxiety so they can let go of them. This is already a fantastic way to get out everything you think without judging yourself in a completely safe space. For some, direct journaling is sufficient to reduce the severity of their anxiety. You can re-read journal entries at later dates to further process and reflect on them, too. If you need something a little more challenging or less “generic,” you can write stories, poems, lyrics, and other types of prose as a means of artistic expression.
Draw or Paint
Did you know that studies show that art therapy is an effective method for reducing stress, managing anxiety, and aiding in anxiety processing? You can, of course, go for art therapy and sign up for sessions, but you can also harness the wonders of art on your own. Draw, paint, or even color; research shows that coloring books effectively relieve stress!
Let Your Imagination Run Wild
The human brain is a powerful tool. In your head, you can travel to distant lands and do anything you want to do! While chronic daydreaming isn’t healthy, research indicates that your imagination can be a powerful way to neutralize anxiety. You can visualize your happy place, envision an entire fantasy movie scenario for yourself, and think of anything funny, relaxing, or comfortable that you enjoy.
Use Music To Explore Anxiety
Are there songs and pieces that make you feel relaxed or make you want to sing and dance? Turn up the music you love and pay attention to how their beats and tempos affect your body. Which ones reduce your anxiety the most? Which ones can sometimes increase your symptoms? Which ones are just comforting to listen to? Which do you dance to, and which do you sing at the top of your lungs? Make playlists of music that can help you to feel better when you’re anxious, and don’t be afraid to dance, sing, or play instruments along to those songs.
Final Thoughts On How Anxiety Is Ruining Your Life And Ways To Let It Go
Anxiety can drag you down in life. Knowing your anxiety levels will allow you to notice when your anxious emotions are getting too overwhelming. This will enable you to use positive, healthy methods to let go of anxiety so you can continue to live in peace.