Anxiety

Worried that you worry too much? Everyone worries or gets scared sometimes. But feeling extremely worried or afraid much of the time, or repeatedly feel panicky, may be signs of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders include panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are among the most common mental illnesses, affecting roughly 40 million American adults. A person has an anxiety disorder if she or he has persistent worry for more days than not, for at least several months. Some people with anxiety feel they have always been worriers, even since childhood or adolescence. In other people, anxiety comes on suddenly, triggered by a crisis or a period of stress, such as the loss of a job, a family illness, the death of a relative, or other tragedy.

Numerous therapies can help control anxiety. These include psychotherapy and medication, ideally supported by good nutrition, sleep, and regular exercise. People who are anxious tend to reach for unhealthy "comfort" food—and then worry about it. Or they completely avoid food, skipping meals or even fasting—and worry that something is wrong, such as an undiagnosed cancer. Healthy eating can avoid these anxiety triggers.

Not getting enough sleep can boost a person's anxiety level. On the flip side, getting enough sleep can help control stress and anxiety. So can getting regular exercise—aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.

Anxiety Articles

Tips to cope when it’s time to downsize

Downsizing for a move to a smaller home may lead to feelings of sadness, grief, stress, or anxiety. To cope with those feelings, it helps to reach out to others and stay socially connected, hire a professional to assist with the downsizing process, and engage in a new community and find interesting activities or groups to join. If emotions interfere with the ability to get through each day, one should speak with a primary care doctor or a therapist. (Locked) More »

Are you missing these signs of anxiety or depression?

Depression and anxiety are not a routine part of aging. But the signs of these conditions are sometimes brushed aside. Common symptoms include apathy, hopelessness, changes in sleeping or eating habits, persistent fatigue, difficulty focusing or making decisions, mood swings, unending worry, and wanting to be alone. If any of these symptoms are interfering in a person’s daily life, it may be time to reach out for help. Treatment ranges from medications and talk therapy to exercise and socializing. More »

How meditation helps with depression

Depression continues to be a major health issue for older adults, affecting about 20% of adults ages 65 and older. Antidepressants and psychotherapy are the usual first-line treatments, but ongoing research has suggested that a regular meditation practice also can help by changing how the brain reacts to stress and anxiety, which are often the main triggers of depression. (Locked) More »

Is fibromyalgia real?

Fibromyalgia is a misunderstood but real condition that experts believe may be caused when the brain essentially overreacts to external stimuli that would not typically cause pain. (Locked) More »

Sour mood getting you down? Get back to nature

Many men are at higher risk for mood disorders as they age, from dealing with sudden life changes like health issues, the loss of loved ones, and even the new world of retirement. If they do not want to turn to medication or therapy for help, men can find relief by interacting more with nature, whether by walking in the woods, listening to nature sounds, or even looking at pictures of soothing outdoor settings. More »

Tuning in: How music may affect your heart

Music engages many different areas of the brain, which may explain why listening to music may boost exercise ability, ease stress and anxiety, and enhance recovery from heart surgery and strokes. Listening to or creating music (playing an instrument or singing) triggers the release of a brain chemical that makes people feel engaged and motivated, which may allow people to exercise longer. Relaxing music may lower a person’s heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure—perhaps because sound processing begins in the brainstem, which also controls the heart rate and respiration. Patient-selected music shows more benefit than music selected by someone else. (Locked) More »

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis

Any kind of cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. But one part of the cancer process that often gets pushed aside is the psychological aspect of how to manage the stress, anxiety, and depression that come with it. No matter a person’s prognosis, there are ways to address the emotional aspects of dealing with cancer. (Locked) More »

How to overcome grief’s health-damaging effects

Grieving over the death of a spouse, friend, or family member exposes people to many months of constant stress that can lead to anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, and general aches and pains. This can place people at a greater risk for a heart attack, stroke, or even death, especially in the first few months of losing someone. Adopting several mind-body strategies designed to help lower and manage stress can help people get through the grieving process. (Locked) More »

When worry becomes a problem

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) constantly anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about issues like health, money, and family even when there is no apparent reason for concern. Left alone to manifest, GAD can lead to serious health problems, like high blood pressure, depression, and unhealthy behavior like excessive drinking. More »