When worry cripples you

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Excessive worrying can cause your life to come to a standstill. Curb your worry woes with healthy habits.

We worry from time to time. Did we leave the air con on when we left for work this morning? Have we packed our medication for the holiday? Will I perform well in the job interview? Worries are commonplace and people experience them. Sometimes, other disruptions to lifestyle like a new home, a new job, or emotional problems like break-ups or marital breakdowns can cause considerable stress and worry in people. When worry becomes too huge to be handled – you might suffer high anxiety or panic attacks and view everything to be threatening or negative – it could be very debilitating and exhausting and; thus signal a condition more serious.

Worry happens when we become constantly concerned or thinking about a particular problem or situation. Excessive worrying can cause high anxiety in an individual. So much so that it could affect our daily life, interfering in our work, relationships, appetite, sleep, as well as causing havoc on our mental and physical behaviours. When we experience extreme stress from worrying, our body secretes large amounts of the hormone cortisol into the bloodstream. Now, cortisol in small amounts are useful in helping the body fight pain and gives us energy but high amounts of it can result in negative effects like high blood pressure, digestive disorders, and impaired cognitive functions.
Imagine if your body is on constant adrenalin alert all day long: physically your body would experience faster heartbeats, difficulty in concentrating, fatigue, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath and more. And if these are not properly channelled out through physical activities like exercise for example, you could experience more serious consequences like heart attack and other coronary artery diseases and may even suffer from suicidal thoughts and depression.

To deal with these anxiety spurts, some people might turn to unhealthy habits like eating binges, excessive alcohol, drugs and cigarette smoking. There’re some others who might choose to avoid situations that cause them worry or fear. By avoiding these scenarios or by indulging in harmful lifestyle habits like alcohol, they might feel a temporary relief from those plaguing situations; however these do not solve the problem in the long term and might even exacerbate it.

We need to engage in relaxation techniques for the body to restore its balance and for our bodily functions to return to normal. There’re many ways to relax our mind and body but sometimes we might be too consumed by stress to make an effort.

Get a health check
First, get a peace of mind in ensuring you’re not suffering from any health problems. Or that the anxiety you’re feeling isn’t a result of some major health condition. In addition, speak to the doctor regarding your anxiety attacks and whether you’d need to speak to a psychologist and go for counselling.

Take a break in between work
Despite how heavy your work schedule or how pressing your family commitments may be, take a break from it all. Schedule a breather in between heavy commitments or back-to-back meetings. Retreat to a quiet spot you can find or take a walk out to grab a coffee where you’d stop thinking about work. Or stop by a trusted colleague for some harmless gossiping. Stop imagining what a waste of time that could be. By taking a moment to recharge, you might be surprised how productive you could be later. During those moments, take the chance to practise heavy abdominal breathing for relaxation.

Go for regular exercise
The Health Promotion Board recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week for a healthier body and enhanced well being. Again, this needs commitment to keeping to a schedule. Take this as a family activity that must be done. Go to the park for some cycling or brisk walk at the stadium.  Often times, it could be hard considering the amount of work or the overtime we must put in. But even activities like walking to the bus stop or taking the flight of stairs instead of the lift, can add up to this target. Aim for a mix of strength and aerobic exercise. No time for the gym? Lift your dumb bells or try out resistance band training while watching the news at home.

Eat a balanced diet
Refrain from sugary cravings or snacks like salty chips whenever you feel stressed. Although they may seem to give temporary relief, overconsumption of these unhealthy snacks can put on the pounds and cause more problems later. Eat more servings of fruits and should you not be getting enough nutrients from food, there’re supplements to replenish your diet. Also drink lots of water and fluids to prevent dehydration. Keep caffeine intake to a minimum for they stimulate your nervous system triggering your adrenalin unnecessarily.

Engage in relaxation techniques
There’re times we need the extra boost to help us to relax. These techniques may increase the blood flow to our brain, causing our mental state to be fully relaxed. Some techniques like yoga, tai-chi, meditation, listening to soothing music, and body massage help to ease your mind and counter the negative consequences of stress and anxiety.

Letting it out
Don’t you feel more relaxed after talking out your problem with a friend? People who socialise often or have a larger social network tend to pick up faster than those who don’t. Letting your problems out in a friendly environment tends to help you see things in a better perspective and provide a way out for your problems. Alternatively, keep a diary of things happening so that you can uncover the pattern of your worry and find a solution to tackle them. This also beats keeping your problems festering within.

Positive thinking
Those with a positive mindset are no doubt happier people. Because they relegate their problem and worry to lesser emphasis, they give no chance for the worry to take control of their lives. With every problem faced, learn to think of one positive thing that can result from it and talk yourself out of the spiral of negativity.

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