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While a certain amount of anxiety is a normal part of life, too much anxiety can take a huge toll. If you suspect that anxiety is taking over your life, rest assured that you are not alone and you can feel differently. An estimated 31.1% of US adults may experience an anxiety disorder at some point, but there are effective ways to overcome it.

We all know what it’s like to feel anxious, but we may not realize that anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways. In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into three common signs and symptoms of anxiety in adults. We’ll help you spot these in yourself and others, and crucially, we’ll also discuss ways to cope.

The Top Three Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety in Adults

Anxiety is typically defined as worry or fear about stressful events in life. It can come to the fore during times of additional pressure, such as when we take exams, have health problems, or experience family troubles, however, for some people, these feelings don’t ease up, and they start to affect every aspect of their lives. Anxious feelings that persist most days, for at least six months, are termed as generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD,  the most common mental health problem in the US.

Symptom Number One: Persistent and Excessive Worry

Over time, you may notice that your anxiety has gone from being like an occasional visitor to an unwanted lodger who refuses to leave. You may wake up each day with a feeling of dread, not knowing how you will get through. Or you may be extremely nervous or worried about things that you would normally take in stride.

It’s also common for adults with anxiety to be stressed about being stressed. You don’t want to feel the way you do, and that in itself can be a trigger for more anxiety. This can make it very difficult to relax, leaving you feeling constantly restless.

Symptom Number Two: Sleep Issues

According to the Sleep Foundation, sleeping problems are frequently connected with anxiety.

Worry can make it very hard to fall asleep, and to stay asleep. In turn, being deprived of sleep can make the symptoms of anxiety worse. Sadly, many adults with anxiety can find themselves in a vicious cycle of insufficient sleep and ever-increasing anxiety levels.

Symptom Number Three: Losing Focus

At one time, you may have enjoyed your job and had no difficulty remaining in the moment at work. Your colleagues could rely on you, and you took tasks in your stride. However, when anxiety sets in, simply focusing on simple tasks can become overwhelming.

You may find that even though you try hard to concentrate, your mind constantly wanders. You may feel uncontrollably drawn to thinking about your worries over and over again. Even though you would rather think about anything else, your thoughts may be stuck in a loop that seems impossible to break.

Another related issue is brain fog. You may feel less sharp than usual, somewhat hazy, or simply numb when trying to undertake tasks that require focus. You may forget to do important things, take longer than usual on everyday tasks, and find work tiring and overwhelming.

If you identify with these symptoms, you don’t need to worry.. They are common, and with qualified and experienced help, you can overcome them. 

Three Ways to Cope with Anxiety

No two adults with anxiety face exactly the same challenges. That’s why it’s good to talk to a qualified therapist who can help you get to the heart of your problems. Here’s three ways of treating anxiety they may recommend.

Technique One: Stress Management

Learning your triggers can be a crucial part of managing anxiety. Even if you cannot avoid them, acknowledging your triggers can help you think about how to manage the feelings that arise in those situations.

Acceptance is another technique that can be a crucial early step in treating anxiety.  This means accepting that a number of factors, including genetics, life experiences, and family history, can contribute to your anxiety, and you are not to blame for it. 

Physical strategies can also help with stress management. These could include improving your diet or getting more exercise.

Technique Two: Sleep Hygiene Training

Sleep hygiene is comprised of many factors, some of which include  where you sleep and your behavior around sleep. Improving your sleep hygiene can help you develop healthy habits that can have a positive impact on your mental health.

First, create a comfortable bedroom setup: Consider every aspect, from the bedding to the temperature, to give yourself the best chance of a good night’s sleep.

Next, incorporate healthy activities into your daily routine. Getting exposure to sunlight, exercising, and reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption could help.

Finally, establish routines. Having set times to go to bed and wake up could be beneficial for your mental health.

Technique Three: Mindfulness for Focus 

Mindfulness is the concept of focusing on the present moment. This may sound overwhelming at first, but with practice, it can help you focus your mental energies on the task at hand.

One technique to practice mindfulness is to sit still for a few minutes, close your eyes, and solely focus on what’s happening in your body, your breathing, and how you feel. Notice and acknowledge distractions, but try to refocus when they happen.

This is just a brief example of one of many mindfulness techniques that can help you reduce anxiety and gradually improve your ability to concentrate.

Treating Anxiety with Online Therapy

The signs and symptoms of anxiety in adults we have reviewed above are far from exhaustive. If you or a loved one are experiencing these or other symptoms. Help is available, and there is no need to face these struggles alone.

At Solid Ground Psychotherapy, I offer online therapy to residents of Virginia, Washington DC, and Connecticut. My approach to therapy is based on collaboration, and we will work together to create a roadmap to help you achieve a greater peace of mind.

Click here to learn more about therapy for anxiety. When you are ready to talk, schedule an appointment or consultation.