If you're a worrier, then you might have already considered whether or not you have anxiety. But a predisposition for constantly thinking that the world is going to end if you get a tear in your work blouse is not necessarily the only way to tell whether you have generalized anxiety disorder. In fact, there are many little habits that you didn't realize could be signs of anxiety.
According to Health, it's absolutely normal to get worried from time to time. For instance, public speaking or financial instability can make anyone anxious, and that's fine. For some people, however, anxiety is so dominant that it slowly becomes a daily part of life, and you may not even notice or realize that you have it. Although talking to your doctor about anxiety is the first step, there are ways to tell if you might have anxiety even before you book an appointment.
The first thing to realize is that it's not easy to tell whether you have anxiety, particularly because there are different forms of anxiety — such as panic attacks, phobia, and social anxiety — and some anxious people are very high-functioning. But if you have a sneaking suspicion that you may have anxiety disorder, take a look at the nine habits below to see if they give you a clue. And then, if you need to, book that doctor's appointment.
1. You Let Your Fears Rule What You Do
According to Reader's Digest, shaping your life around your fears is one of the symptoms of anxiety disorder. Those who have anxiety may not even know that they have the disorder because they organize their life around their fears, meaning that they never actually face what worries or scares them. You might be fine regularly, and are actually avoiding certain situations without even realizing it. This is how anxiety starts to detract from your ability to live life fully.
2. You Have Physical Symptoms
People often associate anxiety with mental problems like worrying too much, but anxiety can have physical symptoms too. According to Mayo Clinic, common anxiety symptoms include an increased heart rate, hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, and even having gastrointestinal problems. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, and frequently, then you might have an undiagnosed form of anxiety.
3. You Focus On Being Perfect
Those with anxiety who seek perfection often have unrealistic expectations about what can happen in their lives. According to Psychology Today, there is a particularly viscious triangle of perfectionism, anxiety, and depression that causes perfectionistic procrastination paralysis. This is basically the inability to start or complete a task because you absolutely need it to be perfect.
4. You Have Trouble Sleeping
According to the aforementioned Reader's Digest article, when insomnia starts to become a regular occurrence, it may be a sign of anxiety. Although it's not uncommon to have one sleepless nights because you are worrying about something in your life, not getting a lot of sleep can be one of the toxic habits that gradually increases your anxiety.
5. You Can't Seem To Calm Down
Sure, some people just worry, but not being able to calm down is a clear sign of anxiety, according to SheKnows. If you are worrying more than usual and can't seem to soothe yourself no matter what the circumstances, then that could mean the difference between general worry and an actual anxiety disorder.
6. You Constantly Seek Reassurance
According to the aforementioned Bustle article, those with anxiety need others to help them think rationally and, therefore, always ask for reassurance from the outside. Typically, the anxious person just needs to be reminded that they are OK.
7. You Worry About Constantly Worrying
I've often been told by friends and family member that I "worry too much" and that I "overthink everything," which is a real symptom of anxiety. Worrying about worrying, while sounding kind of funny, is actually no joke. If you're feeling concerned about your tendency to worry a bit too much or even worried about the amount of time you spend worrying, then that may point to an anxiety disorder.
8. You Have Obsessive Behaviors
According to the aforementioned Health article, some people with anxiety may also have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is when your obsessive and intrusive thoughts are accompanied by compulsive behavior, such as mentally telling yourself that "it'll be all right" over and over again or constantly washing your hands or straightening items. You should watch out for when these habits become rituals that drive your life.
9. You're Jumpy
Jumping at every little noise can sometimes be a symptom of an anxiety disorder. If you're on edge all the time to the point that you can't even relax during your bubble bath, then that might be a sign that you have an anxiety disorder.