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Understanding Anxiety: Facts and Strategies How to Overcome Anxiety

Updated on November 9, 2016

Basic Facts about Anxiety

Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state. Unlike fear, anxiety occurs without a recognizable cause. Fear manifests itself with emotional and physical response on real and recognizable danger and it lasts as long as this danger. Fear has mostly informational and protective character. It protects a person from danger with three kinds of reaction: attack, flight or stiffening.

This is an important difference between fear and anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t protect a person from anything. It is unreasonable.

Anxiety can be divided into three categories:

  • Spontaneous anxiety – it occurs unexpectedly and if it lasts long it can develop into spontaneous panic
  • Situational (phobic) anxiety – it occurs in specific, expected situations
  • Anticipatory anxiety – it can develop only while thinking about a specific situation

As I mentioned earlier, being anxious is natural and everyone can get nervous sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with it as long as one is able to deal with this anxiety and is able to live without being affected by anxiety too much.

But anxiety has a chronic form as well and these kinds of anxieties can affect a person’s life seriously. First, let’s present some of these anxiety disorders.



Anxiety Disorders

There are a lot of specific anxiety disorders. Some of them are really serious and can affect one’s life seriously; some of them are easier to handle with some help of medicine.

Phobic Anxiety Disorders

These kinds of disorders are pretty common and a lot of people have some of these disorders in more or less serious form. These disorders are often connected with physical signs, which can differ from disorder to disorder but some of them are common for most of phobic anxiety disorders.

These physical signs generally include:

  • Beating
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Dryness

Phobic anxiety disorders are often successfully cured with cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, antidepressants or anxiolytics.

The most common are for example: agoraphobia (fear of open or public places) or social phobia (fear of social situations).

Panic Disorder

This disorder occurs unexpectedly, it is sudden and it is typical for repeated attacks of massive panic. It can develop randomly; it’s not connected with any specific situation.

An attack starts suddenly with heart beating, breathlessness and unreasonable fear from losing control, madness or death. The attack can last for five to twenty minutes.

Panic disorders can have different frequencies (weekly, monthly) and they often occur at sleep. This disorder is more frequented at women over men. It can be cured with psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy or some relaxing techniques), antidepressants and anxiolytics.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This disorder is chronical and lasts at least six months, without attacks. A person suffering from this disorder expects bad things to happen, is unable to calm down and relax and is always in some kind of anxious chronical tension. This disorder is accompanied with physical difficulties such as sleeplessness, headache, sweating or tremor.

It can be cured with antidepressants, anxiolytics, antihistamines or systematic therapy.

These anxiety disorders must be cured in a professional way. It’s really hard to deal with them on your own, although it’s not impossible.

There are other disorders connected with anxiety as well. For example: Obsessive-compulsive disorder or Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Overview of Phobic Anxiety Disorder

Irrational fear of...
Irrational fear of...
night and darkness
sharp things
foreign and strange
number 13
A table contains a summary of most common phobic anxiety disorders.

How to Deal With Anxiety on Your Own

Dealing with anxiety is similar to dealing with stress. In fact, stress is one of causes of development of anxiety. Others are for example: drugs, genetics, and resistance to anxiety or personal characteristics. It is also connected with life style.

Healthy Life Style

Let’s start with one of things that have a great influence on development of anxiety. Bad life style can help you to get anxious over even little and unimportant things. In order to avoid that it is important to have enough sleep. If you have problem with sleeping – because you worry too much or because you are anxious over something – try to remember more important things or remind yourselves that it is okay if you can’t sleep because at least you rest.

Regarding life style, it is also important to eat enough and try to eat a little bit healthy (you know, you don’t need to be on a diet or something, but eating only in fast foods isn’t good as well). Also a little bit of relaxation a spending your time over things you love to do can help you to be less anxious over everything. The same goes for sports and exercises.



Dealing With Anxiety

What does help you the best while dealing with your anxiety?

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Positive Attitude

Remember that positive attitude towards your problems and sources of your anxiety can help you greatly to overcome it. Sometimes it’s good to laugh these things of. Thinking positive and focusing on good parts of problems can lower a level of your anxiety as well.

There are two important things to remember. No matter how hard you try or how anxious you become, you simply can’t control everything. It is useless to worry about every single thing. Although it is not easy at some times, it is important to remind yourselves that not everything is essential to life. Are you anxious because of an exam or job meeting? Well, in fact it doesn’t matter too much whether you pass or fail, life will go on. And you can learn something new from both of those situations.

Get Help

As always, talking to someone about your problems and anxieties can help you in many ways. You can realize that a person you’ve decided to talk to, went through something similar like you and can provide a lot of useful advices. Or you can get a new point of view from that person.

If you don’t know who you should talk to, you can always visit a professional. There is also an amazing amount of books you can read. For example: Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety and Panic Attacks by Julie Stevenson & Raymond Philippe or Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel G. Amen. Just search through internet and find whatever suits you the best.

Appoint Your Anxiety Triggers

If you want to deal with anxiety effectively, it’s essential to know yourself first. Take your time to think things that makes you anxious over. As soon as you know about these things, you can focus on them and start to do something about it. You can also avoid situations which launch your anxiety.

It is easier to work on dealing with anxiety if you know what a trigger is. For some of you, cognitive behavioral therapy could work as well. It works effectively at people suffering from phobias so if you anxiety or phobia affects your life too much, give it a try. Professionals know how to use of this therapy so your phobia most likely won’t get worse.

Anxiety Quote


There is a lot of ways to deal with anxiety, but first step must be done by you. You must be the one who recognize your problem with anxiety and you must be willing to do something about it. No one can do it for you. It’s probably really hard at the beginning, but if you keep on trying to deal with it, it will be better with time. Remember that you don’t have to live your entire life with anxiety. Taking small steps at time is enough; you won’t get rid of anxiety in a one single day. Just keep trying.


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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      There was a time in my life that I felt like that little girl hiding behind the tree with the waves crashing all around. Thankfully, I found a counselor who taught me through cognitive behavioral techniques how to deal with my anxiety. I also made some major life-style changes, including diet, exercise, and rest, that have helped.