We all worry sometimes, but when your anxiety starts negatively impacting your life, it might be an anxiety disorder—and time to work on it with a professional.
BY CLARE VARELLAS
1.Your worrying is no longer “helpful” at all
If we didn’t ever worry, we probably wouldn’t be that functional in our daily lives. After all, it’s that little bit of pressure we feel from ourselves that motivates us to complete tasks and to keep our lives in order. However, too much worry could be a sign of an anxiety disorder, the most common mental illness in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “Worrying enough to heighten your awareness that you have a test and that it requires studying, that’s good, and that’s adaptive,” says Aaron Fisher, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. “If, though, your worry is so great that it blows right past preparation and actually freezes you in your tracks and you don’t study because you’re so worried that you feel frozen or stuck, that’s problematic.” Think about whether your anxiety is helping or hurting you. If it’s doing more harm than good, it might be a sign that you could be living a better life without as much of it. These are natural anxiety remedies you can start using now.
2.You’ve always been a worrier, but you just experienced a major life transition
While anxiety disorders can surface at any age, many researchers track specific traits that patients display throughout life, even at a young age. “Anxiety disorders tend to start actually quite young, and typically they’re observable in young children and adolescents. People who have generalized anxiety disorder will describe themselves as always having been a worrier,” says Danielle Keenan-Miller, director of the psychology clinic at the University of California, Los Angeles. “For other people, they cope quite well and never experience significant anxiety until there are major life transitions for them or other kinds of stressors.” Many will begin experiencing an abnormal amount of anxiety after big life events like taking a new job, having a child, becoming a single parent, or moving. These mini meditations can relieve anxiety.