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Fearless Living & The Anxiety Checklist

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Anxiety Disorders

Manage anxiety better with insights on symptoms, treatments, and coping strategies. Learn about anxiety disorders and find approaches for a healthier life.

The good news is that there's plenty we can do to make a difference. The bad news? Not everyone knows how. But that's exactly why you're here.

Are Anxiety Disorders and Everyday Anxiety the Same?

How Doctors Classify Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Ever been criticized, and suddenly the thought of losing your job takes over? It's not paranoia, and it doesn't mean you're stupid.
  • These thoughts are genuine symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It's like having a mental magnifier that turns everyday concerns into exaggerated worries

Panic Disorder

  • Picture this: you're in the middle of a routine day, maybe at the grocery store or chatting with a friend. Suddenly, your heart starts racing, and it feels like the air is getting thinner. This overwhelming fear takes over, turning an ordinary moment into a heart-pounding experience.
  • That's the unpredictability of a panic attack, a common feature of panic disorder. These episodes can happen frequently or occasionally, making it feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster with no clear tracks.


  • For many people, seemingly harmless situations, like being in a confined space or encountering a particular animal, may send shivers down the spine.
  • These intense, irrational fears are what we call phobias. Whether it's a fear of heights, spiders, or open spaces, these phobias can hijack your emotions and daily life.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

  • Remember the childhood fear of being left alone? Well, some carry that into adulthood.
  • Whether it's a family member, a friend, or a pet, the prospect of being on your own becomes an emotional battleground. These feelings can surface when you least expect them, turning everyday separations into challenging ordeals.

Social Anxiety Disorder

  • Does the idea of social interactions fill you with an overwhelming fear of judgment? This goes beyond normal nerves; it's the defining feature of Social Anxiety Disorder.
  • If that's you, you may have a persistent worry about saying or doing something embarrassing. What's worse, this fear can pop up even in situations with your closest ones.

Regardless of the type of anxiety you're experiencing, there are effective ways to manage it. For starters, you can check out our anxiety checklist, a 93-point guide filled with techniques to calm your mind.

Here's What Might Be Behind Your Anxiety…

Is Modern Living to Blame for Our Anxiety?

Fast-Paced Life

  • We're always in a hurry, rushing from one thing to the next, like a race that never ends.

Social Media Onslaught

  • Everyone's showing off their best moments on social media. This may make us feel like we're not doing enough.

Information Overload

  • There's too much to know every day, like trying to drink water from a fire hose—too much, too fast.

Tech Advancements

  • Technology connects us but also keeps us on edge. The constant pings and notifications make it hard to relax.

Sleep Struggles

  • It's hard to get good sleep because we're always busy—as if our brains never get a chance to rest.

Societal Pressure

  • The world expects us to be perfect all the time, or so we often think. Trying to be the best at everything can be extremely distressing.

The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety

Here's a visual representation of this cycle

It's More Than Just Worrying: The Many Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Physical Symptoms

  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
  • Muscle tension, aches, or trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep or restless sleep
  • Teeth grinding, especially at night
  • Dizziness or weakness

Mental Symptoms

  • Excessive worry about everyday events
  • Restlessness and a constant feeling of being on edge
  • Irritability and heightened sensitivity
  • Difficulty concentrating or feeling easily distracted
  • Depersonalization—a form of dissociation that causes a sense of detachment from the mind or body
  • Stressing about anxiety itself, such as anticipating when panic attacks may occur

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Avoidance of situations that trigger anxiety
  • Changes in routine or habits to accommodate anxiety
  • Constantly seeking reassurance from others
  • Displaying signs of nervousness or agitation in social situations
  • Overpreparing for potential future threats or challenges

How Do You Know If You Have An Anxiety Disorder?

The diagnosis is generally determined by :

  • Your reported symptoms, considering their intensity and duration
  • How the symptoms impact your daily life
  • An exploration of your attitude and behavior

Why Do People Avoid Getting Mental Health Diagnoses?

Why is this the case?

  • People fear judgment, change, the unknown, and what therapy might reveal
  • Some may be too prideful to admit they need help
  • Doubts about the efficacy of mental health treatment or a misunderstanding of how it works may hinder progress
  • Impatience with the process—change takes time, and finding the right therapist is essential
  • High costs associated with treatment
  • The assumption that however they're feeling will pass on its own

Is It Possible to Cure Anxiety? Exploring Treatments and Solutions

1. Psychotherapy

Common types include:

  • Can you describe how anxiety feels for you? (physically and emotionally)
  • How was anxiety dealt with in your family or childhood?
  • What do you hope to gain from learning to manage your anxiety?

2. Medications

Now, let's look at some commonly prescribed medications for managing anxiety:

Physical Symptoms

  • These medications aim to alleviate symptoms by influencing neurotransmitters like serotonin.

Anti-Anxiety Medications

  • Specifically designed to manage anxiety symptoms, these medications often belong to the benzodiazepine class. They work by enhancing the calming effects of neurotransmitters.


  • These are primarily used for managing physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a rapid heartbeat and trembling. They essentially block the effects of adrenaline, promoting a sense of calm.

What’s With All The Stigma Around Psychiatric Medication?

Living with Anxiety: Coping Strategies

Stay Physically Active

Prioritize Good Sleep

  • Quality sleep is crucial. It restores neurotransmitters, enhances emotional resilience, and regulates stress hormones.

Talk About It

  • Opening up about mental health provides relief and breaks the isolation. Consider sharing your experience with loved ones, or even on social media—it might just help you.

Learn About Your Disorder

  • Understand your disorder, ask questions, and be proactive in managing symptoms. You'll see how empathy towards yourself grows with more knowledge about your condition.

Avoid Alcohol and Drugs

  • Substance use can worsen anxiety. Seek support from your doctor or a group if you're struggling to quit.

For helpful tools to calm your mind and manage your anxiety, you can also check out our anxiety checklist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Occasional anxiety is a common experience. In fact, a moderate level of anxiety can enhance alertness and performance. However, excessive anxiety may hinder daily functioning. If you think this may be happening, seek help from a mental health professional.

The duration of an anxiety disorder varies, lasting from a few months to several years. While some may see it resolve completely, for others, it may persist. Regardless, there are always ways to learn and implement strategies for better anxiety management.

Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), marked by persistent worry; panic disorder, featuring sudden, intense fear episodes; and social anxiety disorder, characterized by a debilitating fear of negative judgment in social settings.

Other conditions include Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as well as various phobias marked by irrational fears of specific objects or situations.

Medication isn't always necessary for treating anxiety and is just one component of a comprehensive approach. Therapy, lifestyle changes, and coping strategies can be effective alternatives. That said, the decision to use medication should be based on individual needs.

If you consistently experience excessive worry, fear, or nervousness that interferes with your daily functioning, it may indicate an anxiety disorder. Physical symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension, and difficulty concentrating are also common.

However, to be sure, it is best to consult a mental health specialist.

You Don’t Have to “Make Peace” with Your Anxiety…