Anxiety can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or race. However, how someone experiences anxiety can differ depending on demographics. For instance, women experience anxiety differently than men. The causes my differ, as well as the symptoms and community perception.
In fact, more and more women are facing anxiety as they try to juggle work, relationships, parenting, health, and more. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that women are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder than men. Don't let that statistic scare you, though.
Anxiety disorders can be treated and managed. The first step is recognizing the symptoms. That said, let's look at some common signs of anxiety in women specifically.
Signs of Anxiety in Women
It's important to remember that anxiety disorders are a very real medical condition. The following physical symptoms may indicate an anxiety disorder in women:
- Nausea or stomach pain
- Increased heart rate
- Feeling tired or lethargic
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability or nervousness
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Sweating, shaking, or rapid breathing
Not all women will experience all these symptoms or experience them to the same degree. You may only experience some of them to varying degrees. Each person's experience with anxiety is different, and that's okay.
There are also different types of anxiety disorders with different sources. These include: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Social Anxiety.
Rewriting the Narrative
Historically, women have been accused of being overly emotional, which can make us feel the need to minimize our struggles. We don't want to appear weak or incompetent.
However, the result of that just means we continue our struggle in silence without solving anything. In fact, being open about our experiences is a sign of strength in and of itself. Women have a particular perseverance that's unmatched. But that doesn't mean you're not allowed to ask for help.
Getting Help for Anxiety
If anxiety is diminishing your quality of life, reach out to a mental health professional. Once you go over what you're experiencing, your therapist can help craft a healing path that works for you.
Ways to Manage Anxiety Right Now
Of course, we can't always set up and attend an appointment right this instant. Therapy is a crucial part of overcoming anxiety. But, in the meantime, there are some helpful tactics you can use to manage your anxiety today.
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings goes a long way in releasing tension. You might take note of what caused your anxious state of mind, so you can identify a pattern later on and address the source.
- Exercise: This one is well-known, but exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety. It releases feel-good hormones that directly combat hormones that come with anxiety. Even just a 15-minute walk makes a big difference.
- Mindfulness/Meditation: You might think it's hard to sit still and meditate when you're anxious. It takes practice. Being mindful of the present helps take your worried mind off the unknown future. You can even combine meditation with exercise in the form of yoga.
- Deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises are a great way to calm the parts of our nervous system that light up when we are anxious. There are a variety of different exercises out there—try some and see what works best for you.
You don't have to do it all alone. With the right support and empowerment, you can take control of your anxiety and live the life you want. Reach out to me today to learn more about setting up your first appointment and how I can help you along your journey.