Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Alyissia. Alyissia Wonders, “How to overcome anxiety” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Alyissia!

A big test. Illness. A fight with a friend. Worry about the future. These things can cause many emotions. Do they ever make you feel nervous? If so, you may be experiencing the topic of today’s Wonder of the Day. That’s right—today, we’re talking about anxiety.

Everyone feels anxiety sometimes. It’s a natural response to danger. Much like fear, anxiety is an aid to human survival. It’s normal, like any other emotion. But for some people, feelings of anxiety are constant or overwhelming.

Those feelings may be caused by an anxiety disorder. Many conditions fall under this umbrella. Some of the most common are generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and phobias. PTSD and OCD are also forms of anxiety.

What does anxiety feel like? It often causes the muscles to tense up and the heart to beat faster. Many people have sweaty palms, rapid breathing, and nausea when they’re anxious. They might even notice parts of their body shaking. It’s also common to have racing thoughts or a hard time concentrating.

What causes anxiety disorders? Experts aren’t sure. Some think it may be genetics. Others think learned behaviors are the cause. Likely, there are a number of factors. However, experts have come a long way in learning how to treat anxiety disorders. Therapists can help people learn habits that help lower anxiety. In some cases, doctors may also prescribe medicine. 

There are some steps anyone can take to manage anxiety. Many people use relaxation techniques. The next time you’re feeling anxious, try taking a few slow, deep breaths. Doing yoga or tai chi might also help. These practices can help tell your brain that it’s okay to calm down.

Another way to lower anxiety is to spend time with people you love. Watch a movie or play a board game with your family. Talk to friends on the phone or online. It may surprise you how much this can help!

Are you someone who feels at peace in nature? Spending some time outside is another great way to fight anxiety. Many people find that going on nature walks helps them feel calm. You could try hiking, riding a bike, or visiting a local park. 

Have you heard others talk about the importance of good habits? Many healthy practices benefit both your physical and mental health. Make sure you get enough sleep. Eat healthy foods. Exercise a few times a week. These habits help many people manage anxiety.

When you’re feeling anxious, you may have many negative thoughts. A good way to fight anxiety is to think about positive things. What’s going well in your life? What’s your happiest memory? What’s one small good thing that happened today? Thinking of these things when you feel anxious can help you feel better. Some people find it helpful to write in a gratitude journal about things they’re thankful for. Doing so helps them remember the good things in life. 

It’s also important to talk about how you’re feeling with someone you trust, like a parent or counselor. It may be tempting to avoid talking about your worries. You might even want to pretend they don’t exist, but that doesn’t help. Talking about anxiety can help you understand its cause and learn to manage it. If it’s not something you’re ready to talk about, writing down your thoughts or drawing a picture to express your emotions can also help.

Everyone experiences anxiety. But if you’re always worried or feel overwhelmed by anxiety, it’s important to talk about it with a doctor. They can help you learn how to manage your feelings. They may also recommend further treatment.

Have you ever felt anxious? The next time you experience this emotion, try a few different methods of calming yourself. It may take some time to figure out what works best for you.

Standards: NHES.A.7, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.SL.1

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