That tightness of breath in a small space. The overwhelming feeling of dread over absolutely nothing. Wanting to run for the doors in a crowded room. Anxiety. We all know the signs of it, some of us know it all too well.
Perhaps, too many of us are too familiar with anxiety. It seems like a condition that was once just a stigma for some, but is now a burden that hinders the lives of many. This rise is happening at an alarming pace on the left side of the globe. Let’s take a look at why and get to the bottom of the anxiety uprise in the west.
What Causes Anxiety?
- Life events (Family death, infidelity, job stress, etc.)
- Genetic predisposition
- Brain chemistry
- Side effects to medical conditions and treatments
- Withdrawals from and lasting effects of illicit substance abuse
As you can imagine, a lot of these scenarios can intertwine to make even worse cases of anxiety. For instance, take someone who had a traumatic life event such as an abusive parent. At a young age, abuse can forever alter the course of a person’s brain chemistry.
Any one of the above causes of anxiety could warrant moderate to severe cases of anxiety. Interweaving these cases only strengthens its hold on the individual. This is why anxiety can follow a person throughout their entire life.
How Do You Know If You Have Anxiety?
Anxiety is a day-to-day feeling of uncontrollable worry. Most people who have anxiety can’t recall the last time in their life where they didn’t feel anxious. It’s estimated that 300 million people globally learn to cope and push through (almost to exhaustion) anxiety each and every day.
- Lack of focus
- Muscle tension
If these symptoms of anxiety persist over a six-month period, you should consult a physician.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? They likely do, especially if you’re from the west. But why? Let’s figure it out!
Anxiety in the West
Politics. Long commutes to work. Checking our phones incessantly. Answering work emails before bed. Kids running with the wrong crowds. The opioid crisis. Paranoia over another economic crash. Police brutality. Football protests.
There’s a lot to be anxious about in the west. It’s so common it has a name. Day-to-day anxieties are known in the medical world as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD effects 6.8 million Americans.
With more people coming forward with anxiety conditions, JAMA conducted a study in 2017 on anxiety disorders. Their research was absolutely fascinating.
Scientists noticed that cases of anxiety seemed to be just as high in affluent countries than in those with poor socioeconomic status. Less fortunate countries are stricken with hunger, lack of shelter, flooding, and disease. It is completely understandable why these people would feel anxiety.
However, the JAMA research found that GAD is more present in areas of the world that have a better socioeconomic situation. The research was written as followed:
- Low-income countries: 1.6 %
- Middle-income countries: 2.8 %
- High-income countries: 5.0 %
There is poverty, poor living conditions, and hunger in the west. However, the numbers there cannot compare to those of the East. So, why are the cases of GAD so much higher when there are less environmental factors to cause these feelings? Let’s keep digging deeper into that rabbit hole.
Breeding an Anxious West
People from the western part of the globe are anxious, and it’s getting worse. The American Psychiatric Association ran a study of 1,000 American people in 2017. They found that two-thirds of the subjects were “extremely or somewhat anxious about health and safety for themselves and their families and more than a third [were] more anxious overall than last year.” One year later, the number increased by 5%.
What is more alarming about the research is that millennials rated the highest for most anxious. If genetic predisposition continues to play a factor in how we develop cases of anxiety, then more cases of the disorder should naturally follow.
Why So Anxious, West?
So, what is causing so much anxiety for a nation that has a better socioeconomic standing than most of the world? There’s a lot of factors. Let’s go over a few and then try to figure out how to solve them.
Wealthier people feel the need to keep up with appearances. To get to the root of the problem, a Clinical Psychology Review did a meta-analysis on increased psychopathology among United States youths. The research published the subjects “cit[ed] cultural shifts toward extrinsic goals, such as materialism and status and away from intrinsic goals, such as community, meaning in life, and affiliation.”
Not only must you keep up appearances when you are in the presence of others, now you have to do so off-duty too. Materialism and social media seem to go hand-in-hand. Snapping out fancy dinners; going Facebook Live at the concert everyone wants to go to; #Latergramming all those mimosas you pounded down at lunch; all of these expectations we’ve put on ourselves are a heavy burden to bear.
With anxiety growing across the nation, not only are tweeting everything out, but we are doing it while being physically alone. In 1960, only around 5% of people lived alone. Now, over 35% do.
While it is healthy to enjoy time by yourself, shutting yourself off to the world just breeds your anxiety. Not to mention, we post facades on social media to make up for the loneliness that we feel. These habits create an even more anxious web inside of us.
Speaking of which, we post on social media in the presence of friends and family. In the west, it is very easy to feel alone in a room full of people. Our phones have caused us to feel isolated. In turn, we feel anxious about interacting with people face-to-face.
Ways to Handle the Rise in Anxiety
As ways to cope with anxiety, some may turn to chemical substances. In many cases, these are effective when working under the care of a trained professional. However, as you may remember, brain chemistry plays a role in anxiety. Adding more chemicals into the situation might not be the best option for you. Here are some others you should give a shot.
Talk to someone. Therapy has been proven to be effective in helping cases of anxiety. Getting a trained (and unbiased) opinion can help you unearth truths you weren’t willing to face. In some cases, you might learn things about yourself that you never realized. Therapy can help you pinpoint triggers. Your therapist can guide you on how to cope with them effectively as they pop up.
Essential oils work a lot with the brain chemistry that causes anxiety. That’s because the organic chemical compounds within essential oils trigger neurons in our nasal cavity. These neurons carry calming messages to the brain. In turn, your body produces neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. These happy neurotransmitters help curb feelings of anxiety.
The best type of essential oils to use for anxiety include:
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
- Clary sage
You can buy a diffuser for cheap and have it run for hours. Bonus tip: Diffuse lavender in your bedroom at nighttime for some good sleep. If you don’t want to buy a diffuser, you can also add them to your bath, a tea, or sniff directly from the bottle.
There’s a reason why supplements are called supplements. They add to your daily health regimen to help you to live a better life. Just like essential oils can help balance out some of the unsteadiness inside of your system, supplements can do the trick as well.
One supplement specially formulated to help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety is Tranquilene. Tranquilene uses all-natural ingredients scientifically proven to help bring homeostasis to an anxious system.
- L-Theanine – Amino acid that increases GABA to promote relaxation
- Gama Aminobutyric-Acid (GABA) – Calming neurotransmitter
- Ashwagandha– Ayurvedic root with antioxidants to fight panic attacks
- Tryptophan – Amino acid that is precursor to serotonin
- Passion Flower – Ancient herb used to promote tranquility and ease withdrawal from opiates
- Brahmi – Ayurvedic root used as a sedative and to promote focus
- Niacinamide – Works with tryptophan in serotonin production
- Vitamin B Complex – Essential for brain function
- Vitamin D – Helps convert tryptophan into serotonin
- Magnesium – Deficiency linked to anxiety
Using a supplement such as Tranquilene is an easy lifestyle change that may have a big impact on your anxiety.
Fighting Anxiety in the West
An anxiety uprise in the west is happening. However, we are becoming aware of the situation. Instead of giving into the condition, we can fight back. It’s important to get therapy and understand where your anxiety stems from. You can also use essential oils and supplements such as Tranquilene to naturally balance out your genetic makeup.
No matter what you do, keep the conversation going. Let us know how you cope with anxiety in the comments below!