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How to know when it's time to seek help for your anxiety

Anxiety affects everyone. It could be something as simple as feeling anxious when walking down a dark alley alone, or as complex as debilitating panic attacks. However, knowing when your anxiety crosses that long between normal and problematic can sometimes be hard to distingusish. 

Anxiety as a disorder is often flagged when there is a disproportionate amount of worry with negative and intrusive thoughts in a repeated fashion. However, anxiety as a disorder is also a spectrum with the intensity of worry fluctuating.

The causes of anxiety range from environmental stressors, genetics, brain chemistry and even a side effect of medications or other illnesses.  Depending on the severity, some lifestyle changes can really help. Try avoiding caffeine and chocolate and highly processed foods, incorporate exercise into your daily routine and make sleep a priority. Mindfulness and meditation can also be an incredible help.  

If lifestyle changes aren't enough, your doctor will likely recommend psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and/or medication.

It's imporant to talk to your doctor if you're experiencing an influx of worrisome thoughts. Therapist Joe Rich outlines when anxiety becomes a concern by breaking it into zones. If you think you're entering zone two or zone three, tell your doctor. 

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It’s time we started talking openly about our mental health. Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 30, and help end the stigma around mental illness. For every text message (not iMessage) sent and mobile or long-distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health initiatives. The same goes for anyone sending a tweet using#BellLetsTalk, watching the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, or using the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. But talking about it is just the first step: Visit letstalk.bell.ca for more ways you can effect change and build awareness around mental health.