Graduation can be exciting and scary at the same time.
You made it to a pivotal point in your life. You should feel very proud of yourself. You did it!
Feelings of uncertainty can shadow the sense of accomplishment. You may be wondering what you are going to do next. You may feel anxious about the future.
Don't worry; you're not alone. Young adults are becoming more susceptible to anxiety than ever before. The pressures of this phase of life are more complex than they were in years past. Paying off student debt, finding a job, and finding a life partner make this age difficult. It's no surprise that a recent study by the University of Cambridge found that young people under the age of 35 had more anxiety than other groups.
Types of Anxiety
Although anxiety disorders are widespread, not all forms of anxiety are the same. The most common are:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (ODC) involves the repetition of certain behaviors to relieve anxiety. Examples of these behaviors include washing hands or cleaning repeatedly.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)occurs after victims are involved in a life-threatening or highly frightening event such as military combat or a bad accident. It may include flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, and other symptoms.
- Panic disorder involves episodes of intense anxiety. Victims might display physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and stomach pain.
- Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, causes victims to be overwhelmed by anxiety symptoms in certain social situations, such as public speaking.
- General anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition that involves chronic anxiety symptoms, tension, and worrying.
If you're concerned that you could become a victim of anxiety, there are ways to lower your risk. Here are some preventative measures you can take.
- Eat a healthy diet. Anxiety can be affected by nutrition, chemical balances, and hormones, so eating right is essential for improving and stabilizing your overall mood.
- Take time every day to unwind. Spend at least a few minutes every day taking a walk, observing nature, listening to relaxing music, or doing another quiet activity that you enjoy.
- Avoid substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. Certain substances make the symptoms of anxiety worse, so reduce or eliminate them from your diet.
- Connect with people. Have some friends over, or go out and do something fun with your loved ones. Volunteer. Get involved in your community. By spending time with others, you can reconnect with what's meaningful in life and focus your attention away from things that can trigger anxiety.
Understanding the Endocannabinoid-Anxiety Connection
Although the ECS developed over 500 million years ago, only in the past few decades have researchers discovered its existence and its primary function: to maintain a balanced, neutral state called homeostasis.
When anxiety prompts the brain to issue an emergency alert, an internal override system known as the ECS can restore balance and calm. Researchers hope that a better understanding of how the ECS functions may help determine whether people with anxiety can benefit from CBD.
The ECS communicates through a class of compounds called endocannabinoids, which are messengers (neurotransmitters) produced naturally by the body that attaches to special receptors. CBD and THC — plant-based cannabinoids found in cannabis (marijuana and hemp) are chemically similar to endocannabinoids — also interact with these receptors.
The ECS helps regulate function in many parts of the body. Still, when it comes to modulating stress and anxiety, it's believed to work with the brain primarily, explains Hill: "There are circuits in the brain that generate shifts in behavior states."
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