Nov 14

“Almost Anxious” By Luana Marques and Eric Metcalf

Almost Anxious, by psychologist Luana Marques, PhD, and medical writer Eric Metcalf, MPH, came out recently along with its counterpart, Almost Depressed. (See yesterday’s post.) If you’ve been following this blog, you’re rightly suspecting that these are both part of the Almost Effect series out of Harvard. (Tagline: “Almost is too close to Always.”)

From the book description: “It is only human to worry about problems in our lives. But for some, obsessing for weeks and months and avoiding social events and situations due to feelings of panic can become a regular part of our lives. If any of these describe you or a loved one, then you or they may be almost anxious. Those of us who are almost anxious may never address the issue because we don’t fully meet the diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder.”

What info does Marques offer? “Drawing on case studies and the latest research, she gives you the tools to assess whether you or a loved one’s worry is a problem, gain insight on how to intervene with a loved one, discover proven strategies to change unhealthy feelings of distress, gauge the physical, psychological, and social impact of your anxiety symptoms, and determine when and how to get professional help when needed.”

Marques points out that each individual who is “almost anxious” may tend toward a particular type, e.g., physical, social, or worry-related.

What if you determine that you are in fact almost anxious? What can you do to manage this condition? As noted by Harvard colleague Dr. Anthony Komaroff (The Times News), the basics are nutrition, sleep, and exercise:

  • Proper Nutrition–“An unhealthy diet contributes to feeling unwell — and then worrying that you may have a serious disease, such as an undiagnosed cancer.”
  • Sleep–A lack of it can raise anxiety, while the right amount can help manage it. Sleep hygiene tips include using your bed for sleep and sex only, getting out of bed if you’re still awake after 20 minutes, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, not napping during the day, and not drinking alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Physical Exercise–Moderate-intensity movement about a half-hour five days a week is recommended.