London: We live in a stressful world and one that makes us increasingly anxious. More employees than ever before are reporting feelings of anxiety and depression, while one in six children will experience an anxiety condition at some point in their lives. And anxiety doesn’t discriminate about who it strikes. Indeed, a host of celebrities have spoken out about having the condition The Crown actress Claire Foy, model Gisele Bundchen, and Lady Gaga, to name just a few.
We’re also becoming more aware of it as a condition. In August this year, for example, Barnes & Noble, the largest book retailer in the US, announced a huge surge in the sales of books about anxiety; a 25 percent jump in June 2017. Now, research commissioned by wellness brand Healthspan has found that more than 40 percent of people believe they suffer from anxiety, with more than 20 percent saying they are more anxious now than they were five years ago.
Why More of Us are Crippled with Anxiety
A poll of 2,000 adults found that 62 percent of people believe life is becoming increasingly more anxiety-provoking. The average adult their anxiety levels at almost three out of five, with five being very severe. Furthermore, the survey found that 57 percent of us have become more anxious about our health in recent years while 36 percent worry more about sleeping properly.
Finances came a close second, with 54 percent of those polled saying they have become more anxious about money in the last five years. Getting older (40 percent), physical appearance (32 percent), and career progression (30 percent) were the other big sources of anxiety.
We’re glued to our smartphones:
We live in a highly connected digital world. Worldwide events are being streamed into the phone in the palm of our hands and it’s so hard to ‘switch off, which our brains need to rest and stay calm. Also, while we communicate more than ever, many of us are lonelier than ever.
Indeed, just last week’s research for the BBC revealed that young people – who are arguably the most technologically connected group in society – feel loneliness more intensely and more frequently than any other age range.
We’re leading ‘double lives’:
The Healthspan survey found that 62 percent of people believe life is becoming increasingly more anxiety-provoking – and I agree.
As a clinical psychologist, I’m seeing an increase in the number of people who are leading double lives – need to present a ‘together’ image at work or socially, but behind closed doors are relying heavily on less helpful ways to manage their anxiety drugs, but also comfort/binge eating and sex outside of their relationship, in order to escape and try to cope.
Anxiety Effects on Body:
- Reduced my confidence levels
- Made me overthink/dwell on things
- I avoided going out/socializing
- Became irritable
- Gained weight
- Lost friends
- Took time off work
- Stopped exercising
- It caused a relationship to end
- Meant I was unemployed for a long period
Effective Breathing Exercise for Anxiety:
Breathing deeper and slower really can help anxiety. Doing it for just a few minutes signals to your brain you are not in any real danger and will ‘re-set your body from fight or flight mode to a more relaxed state.
Psychologist Dr. Meg Arroll recommends this simple exercise: ‘When we’re anxious, we tend to breathe shallowly through the chest. ‘Combat this by breathing deeply through the diaphragm. ‘Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
‘Now breathe in through your nose so that your belly lifts – when you exhale, your stomach should dip back down. ‘If you notice your chest rising and falling, then concentrate more on drawing the air into your abdomen. ‘Deep breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which hijacks the anxiety response associated with anxious feelings. daily mail