September 23, 2023

Anxiety as defined is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure, trembling, sweating, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, (tachycardia) and palpitations.
It can occur suddenly (acute) or may slowly develop. It may last for a few days or may exist for a long duration (chronic) and become what is called a generalized anxiety disorder or GAD.
In GAD, which lasts for at least six months, there is excessive worry and anxiety that are difficult to control. The anxiety causes distress and disrupts normal daily activities.
GAD can affect one’s quality of life and can lead to physical health problems if left untreated. The cause may be unknown, or can stem from previous traumatic experiences like childhood abuse or bullying.
The first step in its treatment is for the affected person to accept that he or she has a problem and to actively seek consult with a medical expert. The severity and extent of distress or impairment are assessed, and the goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve functioning.
The choice of treatment will be done both by the patient and the medical expert. Consult with a psychotherapist or psychiatrist is a normal and proper act to do, it is just like going to a doctor to seek treatment for physical health problems like chronic cough, or chronic back pains.
Since anxiety is relatively common especially during this pandemic when our “normal” course of life has been disrupted, and since drug therapy is not the first approach to treatment, some tips may help. Suggested remedies are, as gleaned from several self-help articles, books, and websites:
Engage in a hobby that you love. In the process, you may even discover creative skills that have been untapped.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel valued as a person and accept you as you are.
Accept that anxiety can affect even normal persons. Consult with a psychotherapist or psychiatrist is a normal thing to do. It means you are concerned about your general well-being.
Read books and articles that motivate and inspire you, and enrich your mind. There are stories of hope and survival even after most severe conditions.
Maintain an attitude of gratitude. List down things you are thankful for everyday – free air and your ability to inhale it, your sense of smell, sight, and hearing, everything.
Get a pet and feel appreciated everyday.
Involve yourself in charitable work –share your time, talent, kindness, resources – without expecting anything in return.
With the latest published data on increasing number of cases affected by Covid-19, you may choose to stay home. Nurture a pot or two of your favorite flowers. Or create a small herbal garden. You will find out that you are a lot luckier than a lot of people. Are you lonelier or more anxious than a person who fled her or his country besieged by war? Are you lonelier than a person diagnosed with terminal cancer, or one who has recently lost a loved one?
Psychologists advise that time spent surfing the Internet should be minimized.
Avoid or reduce time spent for social media. Do not be convinced that you need to be happy everyday. Refuse to be convinced that everyone else except you has it all. Do not be convinced that in order to solve anxiety, you have to have it all.
Frame a copy of poems or sayings or verses that can guide you everyday. Desiderata reorients. Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 reassure.
Believe in the presence of a Higher Being and just be still.
Aside from being grateful, let us be content.
We have personal lessons from the pandemic. Let’s find our inner peace and establish our self-worth. Nobody can give inner peace to you except you yourself. Inner peace starts with loving yourself in a healthy way.