Anxiety is now a natural and constant presence in most people’s everyday life. Modern life is full of anxiety and stress triggers and it is not surprising when we occasionally suffer from increased anxiety levels. As long as the anxiety passes and is not constant then you are coping well!
Sometimes this anxiety can build up to an unnaturally high level. This is known as a “Pathological Anxiety Disorder”. You are very normal if you occasionally suffer from increased anxiety, but if this continues it can pose a serious problem to your health, happiness and well being.
As your anxiety levels rise you may feel tiredness, lack of motivation and a feeling of hopelessness. Raised anxiety leads to an increase in the stress hormones within the body, which then stimulate the heart to beat faster, breathing to become shallow and rapid and muscles to become tense and ready for action. This muscle tension can lead to “Tremors” or shaking. Tremors generally affect the hands, but in severe cases can lead to whole body shaking (think knees knocking!).
Anxiety related tremors get worse the more you worry about them. This is known as “feedback”.
- You enter a stressful situation and begin to feel anxious.
- The anxiety causes your hands to shake.
- You notice your hands shaking which worries you.
- Increased anxiety increases the tremor.
- And so the vicious cycle of anxiety related tremor continues.
You can help yourself by considering the following four steps. The important thing is that you can begin to work on your tremor, to reduce the symptoms that anxiety is forcing upon you. Even if you are fairly certain that your Tremors are anxiety related it is very important to get a full work-up with your family physician in order to exclude any other causes which may be lurking. You will then be free to tackle your anxiety, and therefore your tremors without the use of drugs which may produce unwanted side effects.
- There is little point trying to treat the tremor if it is caused by anxiety. Tranquilizers may have an initial effect, but only because they dampen the anxiety. It is important to treat the condition at its root. Focus on your anxiety. What are the causes? Do you have any strategies to lower your anxiety?
- Try to find activities which calm you down and which you take pleasure from; exercise, reading, art, whatever! The happier you are, the lower your anxiety and the less you will shake! Physical exercise has long been known to give your mood a boost, even walking will release Endorphins (happy hormones) which will lower anxiety. Yoga and meditation, natural anxiety relief for thousands of years, may be worth a try.
- The important tactic here is to keep trying different activities until you find one that suits you. Anxiety is a condition which is often deep rooted and long term. If you continue with your “happy activities” they will continue to help in reducing anxiety levels and tremors. You can never rest, your happiness needs constant attention!
- It is important to remember that if symptoms continue, or if you are not able to enjoy your life, psychological counseling may be of use. Anxiety sufferers have shown a high response rate to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. If you feel you would benefit from this speak to your family physician.