Note: This blog post does not offer medical advice. Please contact a health care professional or mental health support if you are concerned about your health.
Anxiety has become a commonly used word in the past decade. We use it to describe anything from nerves before a big event, fear of certain situations all the way to the actual mental illness called Anxiety Disorder. What is anxiety though? How does it affect us and what can we do to make a difference?
It’s important to differentiate between Everyday Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder. Both are valid forms of distress, but there’s one big difference: Everyday Anxiety happens when we have something to worry about, such as an exam, bills, a big event or situation that makes us feel uncomfortable or might even be dangerous. With an Anxiety Disorder, there usually is no immediate cause for the anxiety attack. It might happen at any day or time, for no apparent reason, and in the future one might even become fearful of having another anxiety attack – ending in a vicious cycle of fear of the unknown.
Here are some facts about Anxiety Disorders:
- Anxiety disorders can develop for a number of reasons, including genetics, brain chemistry, and life events
- According to the WHO, 1 in 13 people around the world suffer from anxiety
- In 2009, 4% of youth (12 to 19 years) and 5.8% of young adults (20 to 29 years) in Canada were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. These rates were higher among young women and Indigenous people.
- Over 40 million adults experience an anxiety disorder each year
Those suffering from anxiety disorders are not alone
Most of us have experienced Everyday Anxiety at some point in life. It’s perfectly normal to worry about new or difficult situations. For someone who has an Anxiety Disorder, it can be truly unnerving to go about one’s business and have an anxiety attack over virtually nothing.
Nonetheless, neither form of Anxiety is fun and should be allowed to linger. Now we’re not a fan of the blanket advice “Have you tried meditating???”, but… here we are. Meditation as well as yoga can make a huge difference when you experience anxiety. Research shows that meditation or practicing mindfulness can efficiently reduce anxiety symptoms when practiced regularly. Also, there’s some pretty funny meditations out there, and a good laugh might also help. Don’t believe me? Check out this one:
If meditating really isn’t for you, not to worry – there are other things you can do: Some people enjoy working out as their coping mechanism, others cook, bake or have spontaneous living room dance parties. You’re the only one that knows what works for you, so I’d say: Give it a try. There are many wonderful resources out there, so try them until you find something that works for you.
Below are some ideas to get you started:
- Create an Anxiety playlist on your phone with your favourite songs that help you self-soothe and feel grounded.
- Build yourself a self-care kit, including your favourite book, snacks or ingredients for your favourite home cooked meal. Break that out when you need it most!
- BYTE partnered with the DownDog Apps to get you 3 months’ free access to their yoga, workout and meditation apps. For more info, click here: https://www.facebook.com/173038919446842/posts/4676234742460548
- Music apps such as Spotify or Apple Music offer free guided meditation, to fall asleep to or practice during the day.
- CMHA Yukon offers free counselling and support for youth struggling with mental health. You can find more information here: https://yukon.cmha.ca/