There is one feeling that all of us have experienced before, whether it's waiting for an exam result, stepping up on a podium to conduct a speech or performing on stage to an audience. Its severity can vary between being a minute-long feeling of “what ifs” to a worrying psychological disorder that requires close attention when triggered.
This emotion, anxiety, is a natural human reaction to stressful situations. Although it is natural and completely normal, 5 to 10% of the population experience severe anxiety that occurs even without a trigger. For these people, anxiety becomes a disorder that impairs their day-to-day living with recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.
MAJOR TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Excessive worry about everyday things such as health, money, family and work.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Repeated, unwanted thoughts that make them do some things repetitively, interfering with everyday living.
- Panic Disorder: Sudden surge of overwhelming fear when there is no real danger.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Anxiety disorder that can develop after being involved or witnessing traumatic events.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: Avoiding social interactions due to constant worrying about what others think of you.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY?
Anxiety affects the body both psychologically but also physically. One who is anxious can be seen as irritable, impatient and unable to concentrate. Being easily startled and having episodes of panic is also a common occurrence. Some physical symptoms include muscle tension, trembling, twitching and restlessness. Anxiety also causes dry mouth, palpitations, sweating, cold clamming hands, flushes, chills, difficulty swallowing, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing and dizziness.
WHAT CAN I DO WHEN FEELING ANXIOUS?
Anxiety brings out a multitude of symptoms, each treatable with the right essential oil. Depending on the symptoms, here are some essential oils you can use to help cope with anxiety.
Lavender – Comforts the mind. Best for those feeling oppressed and suffocated.
Neroli – Helps to find peace of mind. Benefits those who cannot confront painful and disturbing emotions.
Rose and Palmarosa – Suited for those who cannot bear being left alone during times of emotional distress.
Jasmine – Combines calming and uplifting effects. Best for those with alternating feelings of depression.
Ylang Ylang – For calming restless minds.
MANAGING ACUTE ANXIETY ATTACKS
Upon onset of an anxiety attack, practice deep breathing techniques by inhaling slowly to a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four and exhale slowly to a count of four. Rest for 4 seconds after each breathing cycle. Repeat this cycle until the attack subsides.
Include health foods such as apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, fish, garlic and plenty of green leafy vegetables in your diet to keep your central nervous system strong and healthy. Foods that are high in calcium, magnesium and potassium are also encouraged. On a last note, always keep a positive outlook on life and do not succumb other stimulants such as caffeine nicotine and drugs as a coping method. Having regular exercises outdoors, a structured diet and adequate rest are recommended to prevent negativity from dwelling inside your mind.