To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, we dive into some of the lesser-known facts when it comes to anxiety. In the UK, more than 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder, which is why this year’s theme for MHAW is anxiety. By raising awareness and exploring the condition, we can better understand the reality for those living with this concerning condition.
Mental Health Awareness aims to leave us this week with a better understanding of what an anxiety disorder means. So, to start with, let us explore five things we may not know about anxiety.
It’s a Real Health Issue
The first thing to address is that living with an anxiety disorder is seriously no joke. Just like many other health concerns we may have, anxiety is a legitimate issue and one that should be addressed seriously. With it also affecting one’s physical health, anxiety disorders should be treated the same as any mental or physical health maladies.
Anxiety and Genetics
Like many other health issues, anxiety could easily have been passed down and almost inherited based on the nature/nurture discussion. Parents that display signs of worry, depression and anxiety will have most likely impacted their children growing up. This is because children absorb much of what they see, smell, hear, and understand.
Anxiety Begins in Childhood
Continuing from the previous point, anxiety is something that is usually developed from a young age. While symptoms may appear in adulthood for many, the reality is that it had already slightly begun as a child. This is why, the CDC found that around 7% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 had anxiety. Whilst children do not express anxiety by saying they have it, they show certain signs such as restlessness, avoidance, and meltdowns.
Diets Influence Anxiety
Why wouldn’t your diet affect your health when we are what we eat? This is a no-brainer as what we eat significantly impacts our energy levels, mood, and also how healthy our body is. Those living with anxiety can seriously worsen their situation by constantly indulging in unhealthy foods. This is why the American Journal of Psychiatry found that people who followed a balanced diet consisting of vegetables, whole foods, fruit and fish, had less anxiety than those who ate more processed food.
Picking Up on Other People’s Emotions
Whilst this is not completely correct, there is a chance that those with anxiety can pick up on things like this. It can be easy for those living with anxiety to come to a conclusion about someone else’s state based on their facial expressions. Whilst it can be correct at times, most of the time it is not.
Anxiety Has Strengths
Whilst anxiety is usually perceived as a weakness, it does have its very own strengths. The best part is that those living with anxiety always tend to have hope for a better future. They also are eager and more than willing to do what it takes to become a positive person. This willingness, positivity and hope amidst their condition, is a remarkable thing and also quite refreshing as it helps the person become a better version of themselves.
Exercise and Lifestyle Changes Always Help
Thanks to recent research, we now know that there are many ways to cope and even overcome anxiety. From sleeping well to eating well and exercising to socialising, overcoming anxiety can be done. Recently there has also been a huge push to focus on mindfulness by attempting to control one’s mind to focus on the moment. Whilst it can be difficult to draw up the courage to do these things, it will help almost immediately in coping and overcoming anxiety.