Updated: Oct 21, 2021
TLDR: Contrary to popular belief, anxiety is significantly common and highly treatable. It is often caused by stress and can be treated through self-regulated coping strategies such as taking a break, adopting a positive outlook, and confiding in someone regularly.
What Is Anxiety
In Malaysia, 2 in 5 adolescents (below 15 years of age) were found to experience high levels of anxiety (this fact was copied from the post’s caption - would need to reference). Whereas 10% of the Singaporean* population suffers from anxiety and depression disorders. Despite it being a widespread occurrence, the public still lacks awareness - let us explore what anxiety means and how it can be overcome:
Anxiety is a person’s specific reaction to stress: typically characterized by a persistent feeling of apprehension or dread in situations that are not actually threatening.
Do you catch yourself saying this?
“What is wrong with me?”
“I just can’t”
“I know I will fail”
As a student, adult or parent, we go through tough situations that sometimes take a toll on our mental well-being. Especially when we have to work under pressure, meet irrational demands or when our tasks are time-sensitive. The stress that builds up from these situations could manifest itself in headaches, restlessness or difficulty in concentrating. Oftentimes, these stressful periods are short-termed as your busy periods come to an end, and we feel like we can breathe again. But what happens when it is a persisting worry that we experience?
Coping Strategies for Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, however, many do not receive the intervention or support needed. Interventions can be included in your daily routine as a form of self-treatment, for example, developing relaxation techniques that best suits your lifestyle and preference, mindfully replacing negative thoughts with positive ones and having a supportive network.
Start by firstly paying attention to your feelings and your responses. Here are some other symptoms you can spot:
Lacking of energy or fatigue
Trouble sleeping (either falling asleep or staying asleep)
Upon realizing these symptoms, you can then be intentional about implementing some self-treatments as you continue to monitor yourself. Always remember that early intervention is key!
Confide in a friend you trust. It is not easy to be vulnerable and transparent about how you feel, but it is important for you to share this part of life with someone. That friend can then check in on you and make sure you are progressing healthily. You don’t ever have to feel like a burden for asking for help!
Here are some ways you can start a conversation with a friend:
I would like to adopt a healthier lifestyle - both physically and mentally - can you keep me accountable?
I would like you to journey with me and keep me on the right track
I would like to be more resilient, would you help me?
Also, intentionally schedule time out for activities to help you relax. We can get pretty busy sometimes, and our workloads will become overwhelming if we allow it to. Block out a few hours in a week to engage in activities that would help you blow off steam or calm down. If you enjoy exercising, you might find weekly sport sessions helpful. If you like being creative, then take time out to focus on your art. You can read, swim, journal or just rewatch your favorite tv-series, just make sure it actually helps.
Lastly, slowly begin adopting a positive outlook and reminding yourself that you indeed “can” do it! You can start with a simple list:
3 Things I Would Say “I Can!” To Today:
Let us reduce the stigmas linked to anxiety and work towards a #thoughtfullworld where mental health is as aspirational as physical health.