Anxiety is the most common mental complaint in the U.S., with more than 40 million people suffering from it on a regular basis, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.1 Factors such as genetics, personality or life events can contribute to anxiety, but it’s important to recognize that anyone can experience serious and debilitating anxiety at any time. So if you (or someone you know) experience chronic or periodic feelings of anxiety, you are by no means alone.
One important piece is feeling confident about your financial future. Whether you are in retirement or approaching it, it may be time for an annual checkup. Sometimes getting a handle on what you have in assets, and understanding what role insurance products could play in your retirement income strategy, can go a long way toward helping relieve stress. Let us know if we can help.
It’s important to understand the severity of anxiety and the toll it can take on a person. Studies show that between 5.7% and 11.9% of U.S. adults experience generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at some point, but less than half of those have sought treatment to help them cope with it. Characterized by the mind running in overdrive and stressing over every imaginable thing, GAD often leads to catastrophic thinking, lack of mindfulness in the moment, unwillingness to try new things and obsessive behaviors — like checking to make sure the stove is off seven times before you leave the house.2
Bear in mind, too, that people who experience GAD may suffer from depression and other anxiety disorders at the same time. Furthermore, GAD is also a notable risk factor for cardiovascular complications.3
While it’s important to seek out professional therapeutic solutions, mental health practitioners say there are ways to help mitigate feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
Adequate sleep is one way. New research has revealed that poor sleep patterns are linked to anxiety. In fact, sleepless nights can result in up to 30% higher levels of anxiety the next day. In addition, the quality of your sleep matters. Researchers say that non-REM deep sleep is the most effective at reducing anxiety the following day.4
Another helpful tip is to avoid loading up on sugary foods and beverages. Nutrition experts say that complex carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables, in contrast to simple sugars, help your body process hormones better, which can potentially lower symptoms of depression. So reach for the fruit instead of brownies at your next party — or at least a fruit tart. You also may want to cut back on alcohol consumption, which alters the level of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. This serves to make us feel more anxious once the alcohol wears off.5
Finally, taking up a creative hobby or one that requires acute attention can help. Here’s a unique idea for relieving anxiety: Researchers are studying the therapeutic effects of beekeeping, and many veterans who suffer from PTSD have found that the intense focus it takes to care for bees allows them to relax and be more productive.6
1 Courtney Kueppers. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nov. 11, 2019. “Dealing with anxiety? Deep sleep may help, researchers say.” https://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/health/dealing-with-anxiety-deep-sleep-may-help-researchers-say/kxwSo5xv8L8sFdhQFMFoKL/#. Accessed Dec. 19, 2019.
2 Jelena Kecmanovic. The Washington Post. Nov. 4, 2019. “Excessive worrying? A psychologist sees a spike in anxiety and offers tips.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/excessive-worrying-a-psychologist-sees-a-spike-in-anxiety-and-offers-tips/2019/11/01/30b484ce-d4a8-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html. Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.
4 Courtney Kueppers. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nov. 11, 2019. “Dealing with anxiety? Deep sleep may help, researchers say.” https://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/health/dealing-with-anxiety-deep-sleep-may-help-researchers-say/kxwSo5xv8L8sFdhQFMFoKL/#. Accessed Dec. 19, 2019.
5 Vanessa Paredes. Redbook. Nov. 13, 2019. “How To Navigate the Holiday Season With Anxiety and Depression.” https://www.redbookmag.com/body/mental-health/a29787485/holiday-season-anxiety-and-depression/. Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.
6 Michael Casey and Michael Householder. Associated Press. Sept. 11, 2019. “Veterans with PTSD, anxiety turn to beekeeping for relief.” https://apnews.com/69e5ba92366048b9b0e78d9f6b68b14d. Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.
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