May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I wanted to bring awareness to Anxiety Disorders and let people suffering know that they are not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States and only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. Anxiety can make you feel fatigued, unable to concentrate, restlessness, irritable, difficulty falling or staying asleep, and on edge. 

Anxiety affects your relationships, work, school, social life, and your body; and can be triggered by the same things. Some people with anxiety suffer from panic attacks which are physical symptoms that include heart palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

These symptoms can make you feel like you are having a heart attack.  

While I am not a mental health professional, I have struggled with anxiety. Since this is something that I have experienced, I wanted to share some suggestions that might help someone who is dealing with anxiety. 

1. Therapy: There is nothing wrong with therapy and don't let anyone make you feel like it's a bad thing. Seeking help is the first step to getting better. The thought of sharing your feelings with a stranger might make you feel a little uncomfortable. You can't look at it that way. This person is there to help you talk through whatever it is that is causing you anxiety, not to judge you.

2. Keeping your feelings inside is not a good idea: Holding in your emotions is never a good idea. It can make your anxiety worse. Don't hold it in, talk about it. Release your concerns, thoughts, and worries.

3. Get enough sleep: You need to be well rested. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Make a routine of going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.

4. Don't sweat the small stuff: There are some things that are beyond your control. Learn to accept it. 

5. Think positive: A person with anxiety is always thinking, what if. You have to change your way of thinking. 

6. Take your Medication: Some people have a fear or phobia about consuming medications. You read the labels and the side effects seem worse than how you currently feel. This can be scary. Let someone close to you know that you are taking medication and what the side effects are so they can watch for any changes in your behavior. Be sure to follow-up with your doctor as well.  

7. Start a Journal: When you can't speak it, write it down…just get it out. Journaling can help you gain control of your emotions. Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help you work through those anxious feelings you may have. 

8. Take care of your body: Making lifestyle changes can help with anxiety. Changing your eating habits and exercising can help the brain cope better with stress, reduce fatigue and improve concentration. Cut out the sweets and alcohol. Never use alcohol as a way to self-medicate.

9. Delegate, Organize and Prioritize: You can't do it all and you shouldn't have to. Delegate tasks to other people. Create a to-do list and focus on the small tasks first.     

Know that you are not alone. Millions of people suffer with anxiety and struggle to live a healthy life. To the ones that are suffering in silence, seek help. With the proper help from therapy, medication, and support from people who care about you, you can defeat anxiety.

There is hope for you. 

Disclaimer: The information contained on this blog is from personal experience and research and should not be used to replace the advice of a mental health professional. 

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