It has happened to all of us at some point: we have a job interview, the defense of our thesis or an appointment with a love prospect. We feel an emptiness in our stomach, we tremble, our hands sweat, we blush, our hearts race at a thousand a minute. These are all completely normal physiological reactions, putting us on alert and preparing us for something our brain tells us is important.

Now, can you imagine living in that state of nervousness, every day, every minute of your existence? Living, eating, sleeping worried, with well-founded or unfounded fears, and that this prevents you from functioning normally with your family, your friends or at work, or even leaving your house? That is what is known as a generalized anxiety disorder and believe it or not, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), more than 40 million Americans suffer from it, and it is more prevalent in women. . We are practically talking about an epidemic and the most common mental disorder in the world.

Due to the seriousness of the condition, my first advice is to seek specialized help, either with a psychologist, psychiatrist or cognitive behavioral therapist. But there are also other things that can be done to start at least the road to a full recovery from anxiety.

Better Than Fighting, Accepting: Sometimes anxiety feels like a fight against your own body and mind. You want to beat them so you can calm down, but what that fight does is increase the severity and frequency of the episodes. The best thing is to accept it and think that the same way it appeared, it will go away; in the very fact of acceptance there is relaxation.

Face your fears to overcome them: within the framework of anxiety, there is a tendency to magnify fears, in such a way that they seem insurmountable. For example, for a person with social anxiety, a simple gathering of friends can become an absolutely intolerable event. Little by little exposing yourself to that fear will help you realize that it was unfounded in the first place.

Cultivate good habits of thought and attention: I recommend mindfulness because it helps you immediately recognize the symptoms of anxiety and become aware of it. Another thing that works is to think about the real probability of that catastrophic scenario that you have in your mind occurring; if you look at it objectively you will realize that it is usually very low.

Finally, I recommend trying some herbal teas with anti-anxiety properties like chamomile, valerian, linden, and passion fruit juice.

December 17, 2022 — Laura Posada