How to handle Anxiety on your own?

Written by Pliro
Aug 13, 2018 Last updated: Apr 1, 2019

What is anxiety?

Anxiety at its core is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical manifestations that will vary depending of intensity and context.

Anxiety can cause you to modify your behavior to avoid worrisome situations which may have negative consequences in your life. It can also have physical manifestations like increased heartbeat, sweating, shaking, dizziness, etc.

Who is at Risk?

All humans experience anxiety at one point or another, however, when the emotional response exceeds the trigger (a stressful situation for example), a disorder may be present. These disorders are known for being accompanied by intrusive thoughts (IT), which are thoughts that enter your mind against your will regularly. People will find difficult or impossible to get rid of them. These can appear at any time and cause anxiety.

The exact causes of anxiety disorders are not very well understood at a biological level. However, people with certain profiles and within particular psychosocial contexts are more likely to have anxiety disorders. Although we must mention that anybody is vulnerable, younger individuals and women with problems adapting to stressful situations are at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders.

Impact in Pakistan

In Pakistan, data has been gathered for years, indicating that the population has a large percentage of individuals suffering from anxiety and depression disorders (34%). This fact combined with the severe lack of trained psychologists in the country (1 per every 10.000 patients) make this problem especially important for public health.

Experiencing anxiety frequently doesn’t necessarily means that a disorder is present, is perfectly possible that an individual is simply faced with a particularly stressful and long-lasting situation, triggering anxiety.

Other symptoms:

    • Back pain
    • Restlessness and fatigue
    • Muscle tension
    • Being easily startled

Tips to work on anxiety

Severe cases of anxiety need to be treated by a professional. These cases can be identified by a reaction to stressful situations that is out of proportion and of long duration.

Mild cases caused by short-term triggers can be managed at home without professional help. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind while trying to manage anxiety.

    • Stress management: Learning to be conscious about your limits is extremely important. If you feel overwhelm, then you should accept that the sources of stress in your life need to be managed. Reducing your workload, taking some time off studies or just creating some space between you and the stress are practical actions to take.
    • Relaxation techniques: Meditation, deep breathing exercises, long baths, resting in the dark, and yoga are techniques proven to have positive effects over the body and will help you develop control during times of anxiety.
    • Exercises to replace negative thoughts: Put down your negative thoughts on paper and then write positive and realistic thoughts to replace them. Thinking about conquering fears will help against the negativity.
    • Support network: Having someone close is important, supportive people like family or friends can help you in many different ways.
    • Exercise: Physical exercise promotes feelings of satisfaction and is a good distraction from stress.

Visit a psychologist

As we mentioned before, Pakistan has a severe lack of trained psychologists. When they are present, many sociopolitical and economic factors keep people from using their services.

Pakistan’s society still stigmatizes seeking professional help to deal with mental or emotional problems, however, people need to know that there’s no shame in taking action to get better.

Some psychologists are changing the way they treat patients by incorporating some aspects of Islam to their methods, making things more accessible for some individuals.