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Mental Health Monday: What is anxiety?

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder, affecting 301 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

It can be severe or mild, but everyone can experience anxiety symptoms throughout life.

Many worry about finances, relationships, work and more, but anxiety is much more than just a worry, it triggers a whole body response including, "Breathing higher up in our chest, having tingly feelings, having stomach pains, difficulty sleeping, (and) changes in appetite," Licensed Clinical Social Worker Stefanie Westover said.

There are several types of anxiety disorders, all contributing to a disturbance in every day life.

"Anxiety goes from an adaptive response to stopping us from doing the things we need to do," Westover said.

The disorder is basically just our brain trying to take care of us in an unhelpful way.

Reports show anxiety is most common in middle-aged women. Westover said, "Some people, by personality, tend to be more anxious. Some people by genetics tend to be more anxious. You can't necessarily change that, but you can increase your coping skills and you can shift your brain activity in positive ways so that your anxiety is more manageable."

The WHO reports one in four people who suffer from anxiety actually get the treatment that they need. Some chose to take medications, others prefer taking matters into their own hands, calming themselves.

"We can make sure that we're breathing low and slow," Westover said. "Noticing your stomach and noticing your sleep, getting curious around why you're feeling anxious, and then checking in with yourself about how valid your fears are and if they came from a valid source."

Self care can also play a vital role in lowering anxiety symptoms. For more causes, symptoms and helpful solutions CLICK HERE.

Article Topic Follows: Mental Health Monday

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Kailey Galaviz

Kailey is a morning anchor and reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3


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