We loved chatting with Dr Sanam Hafeez last month in our issue as she shared tips on how to identify that you are dating a narcissist. With such great advice, we wanted to ask her about anxiety as we notice that in a lot of conversations people tend to use this word a lot when they are talking about upcoming work, making various decisions about their lives and more. We chatted to find out what anxiety is and what we mean when we say that we have it as opposed to those who have been diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What is anxiety?
DR. SANAM HAFEEZ: When most people say they are having or feeling anxiety they typically mean they feel out of control, pensive or worried about something in their lives. It can be an event, their career, a date, their wedding day, an important interview. Typically they deal with it, prepare and push through the situation with heightened focus.
For those who have an Anxiety Disorder, anxiety takes a debilitating turn.
AM: What are the symptoms of an anxiety attack and/or how do you know when one is coming on? n their mind, it's really all about them.
DR. SH: Everyone is different. Some may feel migraines, nausea, trembling, shortness of breath, heart pounding, jittery and physically on edge.
AM: Does anxiety manifest differently in Type A vs Type B personalities?
DR. SH: 'Type A' personalities are known to be very responsible go-getters. They focus on the end result while Type B people focus on the here and now. Type A's are typically competitive and often take on more stress in their quest to accomplish more and more. They boss around the Type B's and then the type B's have anxiety about not measuring up. Type A's and Type B's both worry about what people think of them, and have creative visual minds so they often envision worst case scenarios in a vivid manner. Type B personalities are more collaborative. These are people who don't rush to take the lead. However, some may feel anxious that they are putting their fate in someone else's hands. They also get stressed out when Type A's are behaving more aggressively and competitively. In the end both personality types can have varying levels of anxiety. Anxiety disorders can happen to anyone.
AM: How can we overcome these feelings and what techniques can be used to maintain calm?
DR. SH: Knowing the signs of panic, what triggers you and how it presents itself in your body is important in overcoming anxiety. When you can identify what your fears are you can begin to conquer them.
1. Deep breathing and mindfulness.
2. Focus in the moment by engaging the senses. Look at 3 things in the room (table, chair, shelf). Listen to a sound (a bird, a car, the ambient noise). Roll your tongue over your teeth. Touch something near you feel the texture. Smell something, the paper on the desk, your skin. This little exercise gets your mind off whatever thoughts are causing the anxiety and onto the present.
3. Clear clutter! Your physical space reflects your mind. Clearing clutter will give you something to focus on and the tidy space establishes order over chaos.
4. Workout! Fitness activities that require repetitive motion such as running, walking on a treadmill, bicycling, are great because they require consistent coordination and focus. When you are focused intently on something it's difficult to simultaneously feel anxious.
5. Massage and acupuncture.
ABOUT THE DOCTOR:
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens.
Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.