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What are anxiety symptoms and how you can deal with them

Here are the most common symptoms of anxiety and tips you can use to manage it.

Written by Pavitra Sampath |Updated : September 25, 2014 4:31 PM IST

AnxietyEvery day is a challenge and for some people it is more so. Anxiety is common in today's day-and-age but when is it too much? While common things like an important meeting or being in a place with unknown people can be unnerving, there are some symptoms that could mean you need to take cognizance of the situation. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Feeling breathless
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Racing heartbeat or pounding in the chest
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Obsessive compulsive or repetitive behaviour
  • Pain in the chest
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constant thoughts of the thing that is causing the anxiety

If these symptoms persist for longer than six months, you are most likely suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are various types like

Generalised anxiety disorder -- Where you are worried and anxious almost all the time.

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Social phobia -- Where crowds or meeting new people makes you anxious.

Specific phobias -- Where you are afraid of a specific thing like water, fire, enclosed spaces, etc.

Obsessive compulsive disorder -- Where you are anxious when you have not done a particular task the required number of times or exactly as you think is necessary.

PTSD -- A type of anxiety that strikes people after they have experienced a traumatic experience.

Panic disorder -- When you experience panic attacks frequently and repeatedly over a period of time.

Steps to help relieve anxiety:

Take a break

Often we are too close to the problem to solve it. Psychologists suggest you take some time off and move away from the problem to get your thoughts in order. Visit a new place; indulge in your favourite hobby or simply go out for a walk. You could choose to go at it alone or choose to be with someone you can confide in at this time.

Talk to someone

When anxious, try talking to someone about your anxiety. Confiding in a person is the best way to understand the situation and cope with it accordingly. If you do not have any friends or family, try talking to a counsellor or psychologist.

Face your fears

Most people fear the unknown. Therefore, it is essential you get to know what you fear and face it. Try finding ways to slowly inch towards beating the demon. For example, if you fear heights, try climbing up one floor at a time until you conquer your fear.


Meditation is a great relaxation technique; it helps calm the mind and body. It also helps you deal with stressors more efficiently. Indulge in meditation on a regular basis to manage your anxiety attacks. (Read: The 10-step meditation guide for beginners)

Deep breathing

When fear strikes remember to breathe in deep. The rush of oxygen helps your brain work more efficiently allowing your body to calm down and assess the situation. It also allows your body to make the shift from the sympathetic (the system that trigger the panic button the fight or flight reflex) to the parasympathetic nervous system (one that calms the body and helps it relax). In order to help you manage your anxiety, you can also practise deep breathing techniques on a daily basis. Yoga exercises like pranayam and anulom vilom are great ways to calm the mind, helping you control it in the long run.

De-stress and detox

It is essential that you take a break from all the stressors in your life. Remember to take some time out to just de-stress. Go for a short trip or simply to the spa for a great massage. Whatever you choose, remember that it has to help you relax, so there is no point going on an expensive trip and worrying about the money spent, hotel booking or travelling arrangements.

Finally, if your symptoms continue to persist or become more severe, please do visit your doctor. He/she will perform certain simple psychological tests to determine the degree of your illness and accordingly prescribe treatment. Remember, there is no shame in visiting a psychologist, your life is more important than anything else out there.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of stress.

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