(and what you can do to alleviate it)
Low grade anxiety is a general feeling or worry, unease or anxiety without a specific problem it relates to. Of course when you have low grade anxiety, even a small issue popping up can be absolutely overwhelming. Anxiety happens when your nervous system is activated and pushed into a flight, fight, freeze or fold state. It’s distracting, reduces your ability to focus and makes life feel difficult.
Signs you have low grade anxiety include: nail biting, chewing the skin around your nails (I do this), chewing the inside of your mouth, grinding your teeth both during the day and at night (waking up with a sore jaw or tension headaches may be the give away for this), trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep (waking up and worrying about worst case scenarios at 2am might be familiar for you) and being unable to sit still without tapping your fingers or swinging a leg.
I speak from experience when I share my thoughts on low grade anxiety, I’ve lived with it for most of my life and at times it’s been debilitating. Whilst anxiety meds can be a short term solution for crippling bouts of anxiety, I don’t believe they are the best solution in the long run*. Alleviating anxiety means acknowledging it’s there, working out what triggers it and learning to reduce its severity. Anxiety is a sign that something is not quite right, I encourage you to investigate it rather than ignore it or mask it.
Here are 5 ways you can alleviate low grade anxiety:
- Notice and acknowledge when you feel anxious
- Recall if something in particular happened to trigger the anxiety
- Stop what you’re doing and go for a walk, call a friend or change locations
- Take 5 deep calming breaths (try my 5 Minute Stress Reset)
- Make a list of all the things you’re worrying about
Identifying what triggers your anxiety (this might be a person, situation or something that’s said) can be really helpful as can writing all your worries out. Once you get something out of your head, it’s not there to swill around and keep the anxiety train running anymore. Slowing your breathing down and breathing consciously is one of the best ways to calm your nervous system and dissipate the adrenaline & cortisol that are generated when you’re on edge.
If you’ve had enough of living with low grade anxiety, I’d love to help you. As a qualified HeartMath coach, I have an anxiety soothing toolkit I can share to help you retrain your anxious brain. Get in touch with me here to find out more and download my free 5 Minute Stress Reset to get started right away.
*To clarify that I’m referring to medicinal treatment of low grade anxiety only here, not anxiety caused by trauma and this is of course my own opinion, please always chat to your doctor about the best use of anxiety meds for you.