Let’s Talk: Fears and Anxiety

Fear: “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat”

When I was young, fear was an emotion I felt when I was watching a scary movie. In middle school, I had a fear of my peers picking on me. In high school, I had a fear that no one would ask me to prom. Now, I have a fear of not being able to find a stable job or finding a life-long partner/losing a loved one/becoming terminally ill/getting a bad grade etc. Honestly, the list goes on and on.

Fear and anxiety can cause so many unnecessary health issues.

When you’re stressing yourself out over something so unpredictable (pretty much the whole entire future, in my case!!) it can really take a toll on your health. I learned this the hard way.

Anxiety: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome”

I have never been officially diagnosed with any anxiety-related issues, but I can say almost without a doubt that I struggle with at least some form of anxiety. After talking to some of my friends and telling them my raw, or unedited if you will, thoughts they always are so shocked that I could ACTUALLY think the things that I do. I honestly always thought that everyone was worried and nervous all the time. (That’s not the case!)

I often start worrying about something that might happen when I’m retired. For instance, who’s going to take care of me when I’m too old to do it myself?? What if my husband dies before me?? These thoughts will randomly come to me and I could think about it ALL DAY.

At school, I am constantly worried about grades and making time for all the activities I’m involved in. This is somewhat of a good thing, because when I’m busy I’m much less likely to reflect on my stress, but when I’m alone and have nothing in particular to do, it comes crashing on me like a tidal wave.

I had more free-time in college last year which led to lots more time to reflect on my stress. I started to notice that my stomach would hurt so badly that I couldn’t concentrate. My hands would sweat profusely. My heart rate would be up so high and pump so hard I could hear it. I was so scared. I wasn’t scared of anything in particular, I just started putting all those stupid “What Ifs” in my head. Of course the unknown cause of the stomach pain just made me more worried!

Turns out that emotions of fear and anxiety can cause your digestion to go all wonky. When your body is scared, it shuts down things it doesn’t need to survive, like digestion. When your body is in survival mode, it can also increase heart rate and blood flow to your muscles so that you can run faster (to get away from the source of your fear). Sadly, my fears are all future oriented and I can’t run from the future!

Another major thing that I’ve always struggled with since I was little is sleep. I take so long to get to sleep. I think WAY too much. When I’m stressed, it only gets worse.

Here’s some things that I like to do to help keep my mind off of my fears.

  • Exercise (I like to run in particular!)
  • Listen to music
  • Write
  • Color my adult coloring book
  • Watch Netflix
  • Be Productive (The feeling of completing something can make me feel so much better)
  • Talk with a friend (About anything!)
  • Think about all the things in my life that I love
  • Avoid caffeine (I just end up feeling more nervous)
  • Eat healthy (It makes me feel like I have control over my life)
  • Drink decaffeinated tea

So there’s my first post for my series Let’s Talk! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. I know everyone deals with anxieties and stress differently!

What are your fears? Have you ever been so stressed that you’ve had physical side effects? How do you deal with stress?

I’d love to know! You can let me know down in the comments or send me an email at ablissfullife@gmail.com🙂

Also feel free to suggest any topics for the next post on this series!

Thanks for reading!

-Hannah

 

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14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Fears and Anxiety

  1. ah I really like this post 🙂 I’m the same in that I don’t really deal with stress well either. I seem to worry about everything – mostly social related – and sometimes I worry about events 6 months before they happen even when the likelihood of them actually occurring is very low. Sleep is also a problem because I think too much too! But it’s good to get it out there and I think the list you made has some good ideas for distracting yourself from these 🙂 I don’t have an adult colouring book but I’m thinking it might be a good idea to de-stress.

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  2. I can definitely relate! I know tons of people who are anxious socially and in social situations. I am somewhat, but not as much as a lot of people I know. I’m more claustrophobic than anything so it’s not the people in the crowd it’s just the crowd 😂 I used to hate how shy and quiet I was, but I’ve come to accept that I’m a listener and observer, so it doesn’t bother me as much to meet new people since I now am more aware of my personality! Adult coloring books are so relaxing. I like to do them while I watch Netflix 😊

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  3. yeah that’s true, I think I’m on the way to accepting it like that although there’s always going to be a part of me that wishes I was more confident (I guess society kind of instills that in you from an early age). And that sounds really good 🙂 I think colouring whilst listening to music would also be nice

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  4. Anxiety has been a huge part of my life since I was around 8 or 9 years old. My doctor could not figure out what was wrong with me. They thought I had a stomach virus! I didn’t really find out until the end of my 7th grade year that I actually had an anxiety disorder. It explained so much when my doctor talked with me about the “symptoms.” I would have very sweaty hands. I had trouble swallowing. I never had a normal day of school. When I graduated, I finally made myself handle it. I had to re-train my brain to be more optimistic. As soon as I developed an optimistic attitude, my anxiety eased up a great deal. I still have trouble. Exercise, singing, and focusing on something productive helps me calm down. Social situations are a challenge for me. It is a learning process.

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  5. When I get stressed I start shutting people out and my motivation goes out the window. It’s like I don’t even want to do any thing at all when I am stressed out. As I feel myself becoming stressed, I stop myself,take a deep breath, remind myself that everything is going to be okay and talk to someone to help calm me down (usually my husband because he is very good at it). I actually also do some of the things you do to calm me down when I am stressed as well. Thank you for sharing♥

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  6. Optimism is so helpful no matter how cheesy it sounds! I’ve found it to be a great help for me. It’s also helpful to be aware of your body and your thoughts and how you react to certain situations. I know you’ll get better and better with time 🙂

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  7. I feel as if I’m the opposite! When I’m constantly working I feel better. My friends and family always worry though because they are like YOU NEED A BREAK!! I’ve gotten a lot better at managing my stress and trying to factor in breaks as a specific part of my studying routine. That way, it’s another item checked off my list rather than “doing nothing.” I’ve gotten much, much better at managing stress this past year so I think I’m getting the hang of it 🙂 It’s always nice to have a person who can calm you down. My boyfriend is seemingly carefree, so all my worries make absolutely no sense to him. and he usually explains how unrealistic I’m being and then I start to laugh because deep down, I know!! My brain just likes to scare me I guess!

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  8. Yeah I tend to shut down when I am stressed but like you, I have learned to de-stress better and control getting over stressed to the point where I shut down. And it really does help having my husband to uplift my during that time!

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  9. When I was in the 5th grade I suffered from an anxiety disorder. The problem was I never knew what I was worried about. My mum taught me how to meditate and I haven’t had a panic attack since. You can get apps like smiling mind or headspace and create a profile. It takes you through step by step so all you have to do is listen. I hope you feel better soon x

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