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Mild Anxiety: What it is and How to Treat It

Faiq Shaikh, M.D.
Mild Anxiety: What it is and How to Treat It

There are varying levels of anxiety, both subjectively and biologically. Some people deal with severe, debilitating anxiety that needs immediate medical intervention. Some people deal with moderate anxiety that drastically impacts their life but they're still able to live through every day. Others experience mild anxiety, which is something they can manage fairly easily but still makes their life more stressful.

Almost no one dealing with constant anxiety would describe their anxiety as "mild." Most people dealing with subjectively mild anxiety are unlikely to think they have anxiety at all. But what is mild anxiety anyway, and are there easier ways to overcome it?

A "Mild" Anxiety Disorder

It's easy for someone else to look at your anxiety and tell you it's "mild" compared to theirs. 

But no matter what the results say, suffering from anxiety is always hard. No matter how mild or severe your anxiety is, it's always a struggle - otherwise, you wouldn't realize you had anxiety.

It is important to remember that if anxiety is hurting your quality of life, it deserves to be treated. Don't pay attention to labels like "mild" or "severe." If you suffer from anxiety and it bothers you, get help.

How to Describe Mild Anxiety

Mild anxiety is anxiety that is manageable without any additional techniques. By "manageable," we're not saying that it goes away easily. We're saying that you can still get through your day without panicking, you can enjoy a social life, and you can even find hobbies and activities fun. You may even think positively about the future.

Mild anxiety tends to be when you have irritating symptoms that don't seem to go away, but that otherwise doesn't control you. For example:

Mild anxiety is not unlike moderate anxiety, except that it tends to never or rarely reach that point of becoming truly overwhelming. It's more of a hassle that you simply cannot seem to control, and one that occasionally has spurts of severity that remind you that it's something you need to deal with.

Many anxiety disorders can be mild as well. Panic attacks are rarely mild, but mild obsessive-compulsive disorder exists, as does mild generalized anxiety disorder and mild phobias. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a bit trickier, and mild social anxiety is actually fairly common and rarely considered a significant disorder.

All Anxiety Deserves to Be Treated

If your anxiety falls into the category of "mild," that doesn't mean that it's something you should ignore. Most anxiety starts out as mild before escalating as you get older, especially if you don't treat it. Also, anxiety is such a treatable condition that those that allow themselves to suffer from mild anxiety simply because it's not severe enough are needlessly hurting their quality of life.

Anxiety should always be treated. Mild anxiety should always be treated. Even anxiety that doesn't qualify as an anxiety disorder deserves attention. Anxiety is a negative emotion. If you were always sad or angry you would seek help, so there is no reason not to seek the same amount of help if you live with mild anxiety.

How to Fight Mild Anxiety

The only advantage to having mild anxiety over more severe anxiety is that those with mild anxiety are less likely to fear the symptoms of their anxiety in the way that those with severe anxiety do. That helps because severe anxiety attacks can set you back for your treatment in a way that those with mild anxiety shouldn't experience.

You may be able to control mild anxiety with simple lifestyle changes. Strongly consider the following:

These are extremely basic strategies for coping with mild anxiety, but they're generally effective ones and may be enough for those whose anxiety is otherwise manageable. Don't be afraid to also seek help if you need it.

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