Impact of Anxiety
Feelings, thoughts, behaviors and physical symptoms associated with anxiety are somewhat different that depression, but search for overlap as you read through the following. This is the impact of anxiety:
- Feelings - Anxiety triggers feelings of worry, fear, confusion, irritability, apprehension, nervousness, anger and sadness.
- Thoughts - Thoughts are largely influenced by the feelings of fear and the idea that the worst is going to happen. People think that whatever behavior they do or whatever decision they make will lead to unwanted results. They think that people are judgmental, unfriendly and working against them. The world is a scary place to someone with anxiety so they will spend a lot of time at home in their “comfort zone.” They think that life cannot possibly be desirable so they accept disappointment.
- Behaviors - People with anxiety are less likely to go places, especially ones out of their “comfort zone.” These are the people that miss school or work often because the symptoms grow too strong. People with anxiety often appear tense or rigid. They will have difficulty sitting still and fidget with their hands and feet.
- Physical symptoms - Anxiety creates a long list of physical symptoms including stomach problems, muscle tension, excessive sweating, dry mouth and headaches. Acute anxiety in the form of a panic attack is associated with trembling, hyperventilating, dizziness, heart palpitations and feeling flushed.
Lessen the Impact
As you can see, there is a fair amount of overlap between depression and anxiety in regards to feelings, thoughts, behaviors and physical symptoms. As depression triggers anxiety or anxiety triggers depression, your body begins to misperceive and generalize symptoms of the first disorder and puts them onto the second.
The good news is that mental health professionals have very effective skills, techniques and interventions to limit the impact of depression and anxiety, whether they appear alone or together. Certainly, improving both is more difficult than improving either alone, but the best treatment plan can make a profound impact. Want to reduce depression while you reduce anxiety? Here’s how:
With depression and anxiety, you cannot directly change the feelings or physical symptoms that it causes. Because of this, you should focus your energies on thoughts and behaviors. In this case, detecting means working to gain awareness of your thoughts and behaviors that are fueled by the depression and anxiety.
Look through the depressed and anxious thoughts above. Do they sound like your thoughts? What other thoughts do you associate with depression and anxiety? Pay attention to them to understand how frequently they appear.
This step could also be called “challenge” because you take the thought you identified earlier and confront it. Here, you must work to objectively reflect on the thought to see if makes sense, while noting that your depression wants you to be more depressed and you anxiety wants you to be more anxious.
Is the world a terrible place? Will trying only bring about more failure? Keep in mind that your disorders make you see the world more negatively and unfairly. Use your rational mind to offer counter arguments and look for situations and instances that your thought was not accurate.