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How to overcome your anxiety and live a happier life

Do you feel anxious often? or feel like everything is just out of your control? Do you have a hard time relaxing and finding peace of mind? If yes, then it’s very likely that you suffer from anxiety.
Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling that makes you worry about things to the point where you start analyzing every situation.

In some cases, it can also be a sign of a more serious mental health issue like depression or another anxiety-related disorder. However, it does not necessarily mean that you are doomed to have it for the rest of your life. With the right support and guidance, you can overcome anxiety and live a happier and more fulfilling life.

A woman with anxiety feeling very lonely.
Anxiety may make you feel lonely – Photo by freepik

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a stressful, unpleasant emotional condition characterized by nervousness and uneasiness. This disorder is less dependent on the precise timing of a threat; it can develop in advance of a threat, linger after a threat has passed, or arise in the absence of a clearly defined threat. The majority of the time, anxiety is accompanied by behavioral and physical changes.

Anxiety is a sign of many different physical and mental diseases, but it is more common in some than others. More people suffer from anxiety disorders than any other type of psychiatric condition. However, they frequently go untreated because they are not acknowledged.

Causes of anxiety

The exact causes of anxiety disorder are not well known. However factors like medical conditions and psychiatric are involved. Anxiety can be a response to environmental stressors, such as loss of a loved one or exposure to a life-threatening disaster.

Medical causes include

  • Heart failure
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism
  • Drug withdrawal syndrome or drug misuse
  • Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
  • Anti-anxiety medication withdrawal

Drug abuse can lead to anxiety. Drugs such as corticosteroids, cocaine, amphetamines and caffeine can directly cause anxiety symptoms, while withdrawal from alcohol, sedatives, and some illegal drugs can also cause anxiety.  

Signs and symptoms

The following signs best describe anxiety

  • Increased heart beat
  • Nervousness and uneasiness
  • Panicking, or having sensation of danger and doom
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty controlling worry

Types of anxiety

There are several types of anxiety disorders such as;

  • Agoraphobia: this is a type of anxiety disorder where by you fear and you avoid places that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless and embarrassed.
  •  Medical condition leading to anxiety
  • Generalized anxiety disorder: this includes too much worries of daily activities
  • Panic disorder: this is the feeling of intense anxiety and fear which occur most often and reach a peak within minutes. You may have feelings of shortness of breath, chest pain pounding heart impending doom.
  • Selective mutism: this is a condition whereby children fail to speak in certain situations, most likely at events, or gathering, or at school, and sometimes even at home with close family members. This may lead to interference with social activities.
  • Separation anxiety disorder: this is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that is excessive for the child`s developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles   
  • Specific phobias: this happens as a result of being exposed to certain thing or situation that you wish to avoid it.
  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder: this is resulted by misusing drugs, being exposed to a toxic substance or drugs withdrawal.

Risk factors

The following risks can contribute in development of anxiety

  • Medical condition that stresses you out.
  • Closer relative who has anxiety disorder such as parents or siblings
  • Too much alcohol consumption
  • Drug abuse or misuse and drug withdrawal without consulting your doctor
  • Mental health disorders
  • Stressful situations such as big events, or losing someone very close to you
  •  Trauma, people who suffered abuse or trauma in their childhood or witnessed traumatic events are at great risk of developing anxiety in their life

Complications of anxiety

Anxiety can lead to many complications in your day to day life and it can also worsen other mental health issues.

Complications of untreated anxiety includes;

  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Suicidal thoughts leading to suicide
  • Illegal drug use
  • Depression
  • Physical illness such as chronic stress, compromised immune system

Preventive measures

Lifestyle changes can help you tackle with anxiety. These changes are;

  • Talk to your doctor as early as possible about the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Physical exercises and activities
  • Reduce the amount of caffeine intake
  • Avoid or quit illegal drug use
  • Eat healthy food
  • Join in a social club and attend in many events so that you can reach out to many people and socialize with them
  • Learn different techniques of how to relax and use methods such as yoga and meditation to relax
  • Make sure you get enough sleep (6 to 8 hours of sleep)
Support groups may help to couple with anxiety
A woman in a support group – Photo by Drazen Zigic

Tips for overcoming anxiety

  • Know that anxiety is temporary and something you can overcome.
  • Make sure to surround yourself with supportive people who care about you and are willing to help you overcome anxiety.
  • When experiencing anxiety, try to keep your breathing steady and try to imagine that you’re breathing in and out slowly.
  • If you’re trying to overcome generalized anxiety, try to create positive memories that you can look back on when experiencing anxious feelings in the future.
  • If you’re trying to overcome a mental health condition, try to find support in your community or from a therapist.
  • Don’t stress yourself out if anxiety happens often. It’s important to remember that anxiety comes and goes.
  • Remember that anxiety doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your goals. You just need to find a way to manage it.

Treatment of anxiety

Treatments of anxiety vary for the different anxiety disorder, however the main treatment of anxiety involve a combination of psychotherapy specific for anxiety and medication.


Psychotherapy treatment commonly known as psychological counselling. This therapy involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms. It can be very effective treatment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

This is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety. CBT`s objective is to teach you specific skills so that to improve your symptoms and slowly returning to the activities you have been avoiding because of anxiety.


A number of different drugs are used to treat anxiety, depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have. The following drugs can be used;

  • Antidepressants but not all specific antidepressants can be used
  • Buspirone. This is an anti-anxiety
  • Benzodiazepines. This is a sedative medication which can be used in limited circumstances. Also beta blockers have shown significant result. However these medication are for short term relief only and should not be used for long term

Final thoughts

Anxiety can be a really difficult condition to deal with. It can make you feel powerless and like there’s nothing you can do to get rid of it. The good news is that anxiety is completely manageable. It’s important to remember that anxiety is just a feeling, and you can get through it by finding the right coping strategies and surrounding yourself with supportive people.

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15 thoughts to “How to overcome your anxiety and live a happier life”

  1. I had anxiety for years and did not know it until more recently. I am so glad that anxiety is being taught and stigma is not as bad as it used to be. Anxiety is real and its true that it can be medical reason for it.

  2. Anxiety is definitely a rough condition to have i was diagnosed with severe anxiety. On top of already having a few other conditions its not fun. I do have a therapist i’ve been talking to weekly for abut two years now. I still can’t tell if it helps but its nice to have someone to talk to.

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