If you don’t live in a cave, chances are you have heard of the term ‘anxiety’. After all, statistics suggest, one in every five people on the planet suffers from anxiety. Given the sheer power of numbers, the disorder can be considered a global epidemic, if not as big a threat as diabetes or cancer. But it isn’t, because people are largely unaware of its harmful effects. Most people see anxiety merely as sweaty palms, heavy breathing, or “something that happens to others”.
Such lack of awareness about anxiety is what makes it an enemy of the human mind. “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 who you are up against—how it looks and how it works behind the shadows. 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 apprehensiveness. 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.
However, with the right coping mechanisms, you can easily overpower anxiety in its nascent form. Below are five strategies people can adopt to calm their anxious mind.