How to calm anxiety (when you're freaking out)

Author: Fingerprint for Success

How to calm anxiety (when you're freaking out) (

I was forwarded a really good article regarding anxiety, which includes relevant information, good ideas, and links to great resources. Following is the article for your review and action!

Anxiety is a common struggle for many people. The good news is that mental health is finally becoming part of the broader well-being conversation among medical professionals and the public–which helps eliminate the stigma of mental health struggles and allows us to find ways to treat it and cope with it.

If you struggle with anxiety, know that you are not alone. In fact, let’s take a look at some statistics that demonstrate how prevalent anxiety is in our world:

Table of contents

Surprising statistics about anxiety

How do you define anxiety?

But first–what’s the difference between anxiety and regular stress?

What triggers anxiety?

Why is my anxiety so bad?

What is crippling anxiety?

What does debilitating anxiety look like?

How can I calm anxiety fast?

How to treat and reduce ongoing anxiety

How do you deal with uncontrollable anxiety?

How you can help someone with anxiety

You never know what someone is going through

Surprising statistics about anxiety

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. and affect 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18.% of the population, every year. [1]

  • Only 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety disorders receive treatment. [1]

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults in the United States, and women are twice as likely to be affected as men. [2]

  • Nearly 50% of Americans diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. [2]

  • Approximately 8% of children and teenagers experience an anxiety disorder, with many symptoms developing before age 21. [2]

  • Anxiety disorders can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, stress buildup or stress due to an illness, withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, or family history of mental health issues. [2]

  • Research has shown that many anxiety disorders are all linked to specific genes. [3]

  • Nearly 31% of adults will have an anxiety disorder within their lifetime. [4]

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 7.7 million adults with women being more likely to be affected than men. [4]

  • Panic disorder affects 6 million adults with women twice as likely to be affected than men. [4]

How do you define anxiety?

Before you can understand how to calm your mind from anxiety, you first need a solid grasp on what anxiety is.

Anxiety is the mind and body’s response to something that worries or unsettles you, causing an overall feeling of tension and worry. It’s a common emotion, and many people experience anxiety during particularly stressful moments in life, such as helping a loved one with a serious illness. These stressful moments are called “triggers” and are what prompts an anxious response.

However, anxiety can intensify and become a constant part of someone’s mind in all that they do, making it difficult to go about their daily activities. Typically when anxiety reaches this point, a person has developed an anxiety disorder.

Let’s talk about some of the common triggers, symptoms, disorders, and questions to help you figure out how to manage anxiety.

But first–what’s the difference between anxiety and regular stress?

From a big presentation at work to a mounting pile of laundry at home, everybody experiences stress to some degree. So, what makes stress different from anxiety?

Stress is a response to something uncomfortable, such as a busy schedule or an upcoming deadline. It is usually short-lived and goes away after the trigger has passed.

Anxiety is a response to stress and is more persistent and ongoing. The cause of anxiety is also a bit more difficult to pinpoint. While you might feel stress about your busy week ahead, anxiety could show up as an intense fear of attending a work meeting or cause you to feel nauseous while you’re in meetings for weeks. An anxious reaction is a bit more severe and long-term than stress.

What triggers anxiety?

So many things can trigger an anxious response and it largely depends on each individual. Some common triggers include:

  • A significant life change, such as a move or a new job

  • Medications

  • Drugs or alcohol

  • Caffeine

  • Perceived pressure, such a high-stake job interview

  • Financial struggles

  • Negative thoughts

  • Trauma

Why is my anxiety so bad?

If you’re dealing with anxiety (particularly a severe form that hinders your daily life), it’s natural to wonder why things that seem so easy to other people are so difficult for you.

The truth is that some people are more prone to anxious thoughts than others. Both genetics and life experiences can affect anxiety. Additionally, there may be current factors in your life (like some of the triggers above) that are contributing to building up your anxiety.

What is crippling anxiety?

Crippling anxiety is when potentially high-functioning anxiety and its symptoms heighten. Someone with crippling anxiety will have anxiety present most of the time and experience symptoms so strong that they may be unable to do day-to-day tasks. As Talkspace shares, there are several common symptoms of crippling anxiety:

  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares

  • Trouble breathing

  • Tightness in chest

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Excessive sweating

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Racing thoughts

  • Feeling panicked or afraid

  • Feeling irritable or angry

As Talkspace continues, if someone experiences crippling anxiety, it’s possible that they have an anxiety disorder. That could include one of the following:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Someone who has GAD may experience constant worry or tension, even if there isn’t anything obviously wrong. People with GAD are anxious about a variety of things and may have difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

  • Panic disorder: Someone with a panic disorder experiences sudden and intense panic attacks. A panic attack is when someone experiences an overwhelming feeling of terror or dread. Many confuse panic attacks for heart attacks due to the intense physical symptoms of chest pain, sweating, and a rapid heartbeat.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Someone with PTSD has usually experienced a traumatic event, such as a death of a loved one or accident. People with this disorder often will experience flashbacks of their trauma and react with a fight or flight response.

  • Phobias: Someone who has a phobia has an irrational fear of a specific situation or object. Popular phobias include a fear of flying, small spaces, blood, snakes, or a number of other things.

  • Social anxiety disorder: Someone who has social anxiety disorder will become anxious around people or social situations. People with this disorder worry others are judging them and will often avoid large groups.

What does debilitating anxiety look like?

Debilitating anxiety is one step past crippling anxiety. While your crippling anxiety might be constant and overwhelming, you still may be able to do some of your day-to-day tasks.

Once your anxiety reaches a point where you start to break down and are unable to think of anything else, you have reached the point of debilitating anxiety. For example, a panic attack is when anxiety becomes debilitating.

How can I calm anxiety fast?

If you’re feeling a panic attack coming on or are experiencing any of the symptoms of crippling anxiety listed above, there