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Anxiety is real! Here are some tips on dealing with it.

Having occasional feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life, but people with anxiety disorders experience frequent and excessive anxiety, fear, terror and panic in everyday situations. These feelings are unhealthy if they affect your quality of life and prevent you from functioning normally.

Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Feeling nervous

  • Feeling helpless

  • A sense of impending panic, danger or doom

  • Increased heart rate

  • Hyperventilation

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Obsessively thinking about the panic trigger

These feelings of anxiety and panic can interfere with daily activities and be difficult to control. They are out of proportion to the actual danger and can cause you to avoid places or situations.

You should see your health care provider if your anxiety is affecting your life and relationships. Your provider can help rule out any underlying physical health issue before seeing a mental health professional.

While most people with anxiety disorders need psychotherapy or medications to get anxiety under control, lifestyle changes and coping strategies also can make a difference.

Here are 11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:

  1. Keep physically active.

  2. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.

  3. Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages.

  4. Use stress management and relaxation techniques.

  5. Make sleep a priority.

  6. Eat healthy foods.

  7. Learn about your disorder.

  8. Stick to your treatment plan.

  9. Identify triggers.

  10. Keep a journal.

  11. Socialize.

Your worries may not go away on their own, and they may worsen over time if you don't seek help. See your health care provider or a mental health provider before your anxiety worsens. It's easier to treat if you get help early.

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