Types Of Anxiety You Probably Didn’t Know About

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Types of anxiety
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The American Psychological Association defines Anxiety as ‘an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure’. Anxiety is basically identified by a feeling of fear, dread, and restlessness. A few physical symptoms of different types of anxiety could include sweating, agitation, and a fast-pacing heartbeat. Though it is normal to experience some kind of anxiety at some point in life, severe anxiety or intense episodes of anxiety may be a mental health condition that needs attention.

Post the Covid situation, many people have opened up about their journeys of battling their mental health conditions. Mental health and mental well-being are no more considered taboo. However, certain conditions like anxiety and several types of anxiety may seem to be pretty normal and end up being unacknowledged. Anxiety can pose a problem if it hinders your ability to live your life normally. If your anxiety is chronic, intense, difficult to manage or out of proportion to your situation, it can be a sign of a mental health problem.

Dr. Tanvi Sardesai
Image Credits: Tanvi Sardesai on LinkedIn

Dr. Tanvi Sardesai, a practising Clinical Psychologist says, “As per the WHO, the pandemic triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression. There were multiple stressors we were faced with during the pandemic including uncertainty around the illness, its recovery and its impact. There was also social isolation and loneliness. This, paired with our reliance on online communication during this time also increased social anxiety for many. Fear of infection, and losing loved ones were also some other stressors. This was also a time when businesses shut down and people lost their jobs thus adding to financial stress. Since everyone globally had common stressors and worries, it generated a lot of discussion. There was more conversation surrounding mental health. This not only created awareness around mental health but also made it easier for people to reach out and seek help.”

Listed below are a few often-overlooked types of anxiety that many people may be facing without even knowing.

Social Anxiety

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Fear of being judged, self-consciousness in social setups, evading meeting people, etc are all signs of social anxiety. If you’ve been feeling this way for at least 6 months, and these feelings disrupt your daily routine, you might have social anxiety. It is a constant fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can hamper your professional as well as personal life, and it might also make it challenging to create and maintain relationships.

It is important to acknowledge the fact that social anxiety is much more than mere shyness. Individuals with social anxiety have negative thoughts and beliefs that add to their fears and anxiety. The constant fear of being scrutinized, evaluated, or judged by others, in different situations can be traumatising. You may feel like you can’t do anything about the symptoms of social anxiety. However, in reality, there are many helpful coping mechanisms available. Recognize the negative thoughts that fuel your social anxiety and question them. Gradually swap them with more realistic and positive outlooks on social situations that trigger your anxiety.

Phone Anxiety

COVID-19 changed how we communicate. Now, phone calls, Zoom meetings, emails, and FaceTime videos have become the new normal.

Does your ringing phone make you anxious wondering whether to pick up the call or not? Or do you make a phone call and somehow wish that the person you’re calling doesn’t pick up? Or do you feel worried, disconnected, helpless, nervous, or unsafe, and experience fear of missing out—when your battery drains? If your answers are yes, then you probably have telephonophobia or phone anxiety.

Many people find phone anxiety strange, but it’s completely normal to feel anxious about something as normal as a phone call. If you don’t answer the phone and try exposure therapy, you can’t conquer your fear. The more you engage in phone calls, the more comfortable you will become. Improve by having short, casual phone chats with close friends and family. Talking to loved ones can be enjoyable and reduce the surprise of unexpected conversations, making you more comfortable in answering the phone.

Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is the fear of performing a particular task. Those experiencing it may worry about failing even before starting. They might think failure will lead to humiliation or rejection. For some, performance anxiety can be highly limiting, preventing them from pursuing their passions or careers. Performance anxiety can surface anywhere from the boardroom to the bedroom. A few causes of performance anxiety include Fear of failure, unrealistic expectations and lack of confidence.

Some people can overcome performance anxiety with pre-performance rituals like deep breathing, and positive visualization. However, others with severe performance anxiety may require talking therapies and medication for help.

Money Anxiety

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Financial anxiety, also known as money anxiety, is the feeling of worrying about your financial situation. It includes concerns about your income, job security, debts, and your ability to afford both necessities and non-essentials. This is a significant problem across the globe and can lead to negative effects like stress, anxiety, depression, and even physical health issues. Although there are more important things than money, struggling financially can lead to fear and stress dominating your life. It could lower your self-esteem and make you feel hopeless and flawed.

No matter how tough your situation may appear, there is a solution. Discover strategies to break the cycle, reduce money-related stress, and regain stability. Try talking to someone you trust about how you feel, and seek professional advice if your symptoms continue to hinder your life.

Relationship anxiety

Starting a new relationship often brings excitement and hope, but also some anxiety. It’s normal to have questions, but with time and trust, the anxiety usually fades. If the feeling of something bad happening persists, it might be relationship anxiety. While we often romanticize relationships, they have their ups and downs. But if you’re in a relationship that feels mostly right, yet you find yourself overwhelmed with doubt, worry, insecurity, and fear of things going wrong, you might be dealing with relationship anxiety.

To overcome relation anxiety, learn to feel your distress and tolerate it. Take a moment and consider what you know about the relationship as a whole, rather than focusing on the feelings in the moment. Relationships are a two-way street, so don’t be a bystander. Instead, take ownership of your relationship.

Shedding light on dealing with different types of anxiety at different stages in life Dr. Tanvi mentions, “ Breathing exercises such as abdominal breathing, box breathing, 4-7-8 breathing can be helpful. Grounding techniques help us focus on the present moment and alleviate symptoms of anxiety. For example, the 5-4-3-2-1 technique where you notice and name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste, or the 3-3-3 technique where you name 3 things you can see, identify 3 sounds you hear and move 3 parts of your body. Physical exercise releases some neurotransmitters which help reduce anxiety. Create and enhance social support. Engage in social interactions. Identify your triggers so you can manage them better. Seek professional help.”

In today’s world, various types of anxiety can surface, including some lesser-known but common types of anxiety that often go unnoticed. These hidden types of anxiety can silently influence us, ranging from the anxiety of phone calls to the dread of public speaking and anxiety about money and relationships. Each person’s anxiety experience is unique, and some may face a combination of different types of anxiety. These anxieties can be addressed, and overall well-being can be enhanced, through therapy and exposure-based strategies.

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