If you don’t live in a cave, chances are you have heard of the term anxiety. Statistics suggest, one in every five people on the planet suffers from anxiety. The disorder of anxiety is almost a global epidemic today if not a threat as big as diabetes or cancer. Even so, people are largely unaware of its effects. More often than not, anxiety is seen as sweaty palms, heavy breathing, or “something that happens to others”.
Such a lack of awareness is what makes anxiety an invisible threat. “As per the latest research by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, Bangalore, an individual takes around 8 to 10 years to reach an expert for their anxiety-related issues,” says a Mumbai-based psychiatrist, Dr Hemant Mittal. He adds, by this time, anxiety becomes an integral part of one’s temperament making it difficult for a patient to recover from there.
To overcome anxiety, you need to know what you are up against—how anxiety looks and how it manifests. Dr Mittal classifies anxiety into three groups on the scale of their intensity. Mild, moderate, and extreme. In the first one, anxiety looks like a mix of emotions that ranges from nervousness and agitation to discomfort and apprehension. Almost everyone in the world experiences mild anxiety. The triggers could be hiccups in relationships, problems at work, bad traffic, or bad grades.
Dr Archita Reddy, a psychotherapist, believes the fear of loneliness, feeling of emptiness, and self-doubt are also stimulants of anxiety. Moderate and extreme anxiety have severe effects as they combine negative emotions such as nervousness, emptiness, discomfort, and self-doubt that require expert intervention. “Moderate and extreme anxiety attacks work like a spring. The more you try to suppress them, they bounce back with equal ferocity,” says Dr Mittal.
With the right coping mechanisms, anxiety can easily be overcome in its nascent stages. Below are five strategies you can adopt to calm the anxious mind.