Childhood trauma causes anxiety in later life. Many events can be considered traumatic for a child. Moreover, there are different degrees and types of anxiety caused in later life due to these traumas.
Here is an in-depth discussion on anxiety from childhood and how to manage it as an adult.
Table of Contents
- Anxiety From Childhood
- Dealing With Childhood Anxiety
Anxiety From Childhood
Anxiety from childhood refers to anxiety disorder developed as a result of a traumatic experience. A traumatic experience can be a frightening, violent, or a dangerous event that threatens the well-being of a child.
A child’s definition of safety differs from that of an adult. The magnitude of a threatening situation amplifies more in a child’s world than it does in an adult’s. However, these frightening events become an integral part of the child’s personality, and it develops into phobia or fear.
Fear is associated with anxiety. It promotes anxiety-related behaviours, which manifest in the behaviour of some adults. When adults are met with a similar situation, their body and mind begin to react the same way as they would in their childhood. These reactions are biological.
In simple words, just like good events make one happy, bad events make one anxious. For a brief run down, here is a list of events that can cause trauma to a child:
- Neglect or emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse or physical abuse
- Violence in family or community
- Sudden loss of a loved one
- Substance abuse by a family member
- Life-threatening experiences such as car accidents or robbery
- Parental loss or injury
- A poor relationship between divorced parents
- Domestic violence
- Bullying in school
- Mistreatment at school by teachers or administration
- Stereotyping based on racial differences
- Poverty in the form of food insecurity
Dealing With Childhood Anxiety
Dealing with childhood anxiety as an adult can be difficult. However, realizing that childhood trauma still affects you as an adult is important. It must be recognized as soon as possible.
Moreover, making people with trauma understand that getting help can have a positive impact on their life and mental well-being will encourage them to seek help.
Here are some important steps to manage anxiety:
1. Seek Professional Help
If you have serious anxiety attacks, seeking help from a professional is highly recommended. School counsellors for students or psychotherapists for adults can help anyone with anxiety problems get by.
Seeking professional help is very important as professionals have the expertise in providing medication and therapies to patients with anxiety disorders.
2. Aim For A Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy body means a healthy mind, but a healthy body is only achievable through a healthy lifestyle. Having a healthy sleep pattern, doing exercises, and sticking to a healthy diet are proven to have significant impacts on the mental health of a person.
3. Avoid Negative People
Negative or toxic people can be anyone, a colleague, a friend, or even family member. Negative people’s behaviours can easily trigger your anxiety. It might be difficult for you to confront such people about their poor behaviour. In this case, it might be best to avoid them for personal healing.
4. Be Kind To Yourself
We often blame ourselves for things that happened in the past. It is only natural that we regret having done or not having done some things in the past. Learning to accept these things is essential.
You need to realize that things in the past cannot be undone. They are beyond your control and sometimes letting things go is the best choice. Letting go of the things that hurt you is a way of being kind to yourself since you allow yourself to be free from the hurtful past.
In such way, you do good to yourself.
5. Take Inspiration
Taking inspiration from people who didn’t let their childhood trauma ruin their present and future will motivate you. There are a lot of personalities who were bullied, sexually abused, or discriminated in the past yet strived to overcome such hardships.
Take Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou as examples. These women had traumatic childhood experiences, but they didn’t let those bad things define them.
6. Listen To Mental Health Podcasts
Listening to professional mental health and mindfulness podcasts can make you become aware of your condition. Mental health podcasts will give you tips and tricks, advice, and suggestions that’ll help you manage anxiety.
These can supplement any therapy you’re getting from professionals.
7. Avoid Overthinking
Overthinking about the little details in your life can ruin your day. It is exhausting and a waste of time. Whenever you face something that leads you to overthink, focus on doing something else that you like.
This way, you save yourself from mental stress by diverting your attention to something more useful.
8. Join A Support Group
Being in a group of people with similar experience will give you the courage to talk about things you cannot easily open up to your loved ones. Support groups can help you gain hope when you see others, who are also on the road to recovery.
Moreover, those who have surpassed their personal issues can inspire you. Seeing them recover might help you realize that healing is possible, which opens a path toward self-understanding.
Interacting with people in a group can also help improve social skills. Through this, you can also make new friends who understand what you’ve gone through.
9. Talk To Your Loved Ones
Keeping your loved ones on board about your mental well-being is just as important as opening up to people in a support group. Since mental health affects a person’s social life and personal relationships, the people closest to you should know about your condition.
Your family and friends can support your journey to mental recovery. Knowing someone will be there despite the challenges you face will help you gain hope.
An anxious mind is like a wheel that’s continuously running but not reaching anywhere. Meditation helps you in getting control over your thought processes.
Meditation can help you organize your thoughts. It stops you from over attending to unnecessary thoughts which can be the cause of anxiety. The breathing practices involved in meditation helps clear your mind and thoughts, lowering the possibility of anxiety attacks.
Traumatic childhood experiences can affect life during adulthood. It can have devastating effects to adults’ social life, personal relationships, productivity, and overall well-being. Encouraging these people to take significant steps to manage anxiety can save them from future breakdown.