What is anxiety?

AnxietyEveryone gets worried for some reason or another. Anxiety is the body's reaction to a perceived danger or threatening situation. Most people experience anxiety before and after a stressful situation or a traumatic loss. Sometimes anxiety may develop spontaneously for no apparent reason. You may not be able to control your anxiety and may experience multiple symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in your hands and fingers
  • Shakiness, twitching or trembling
  • Pounding heart or palpitations
  • Excessive sweating or hot flashes
  • Chills or cold flashes
  • Being worried or concerned
  • Tension or sore muscles
  • Stomach upset and nausea or diarrhea
  • Chest discomfort or chest pain
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Being easily startled
  • Headache
  • Grinding of teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Lack of energy
  • Fear of losing one's mind
  • Fear of school or public places
  • Worry about family, health, safety, school and others
  • Family history of anxiety or panic attacks
  • Tips on managing anxiety:

    If you think that you have too much anxiety, I would recommend for you to see a psychologist or psychiatrist as you may need therapy and/or medication. Meanwhile, you could do several things that may help:

    1. Identify your patterns. Become aware of when you are having anxiety and what the specific triggers are.
    2. Develop a plan. If you have a specific worry, write it down and develop a plan to address it. Try to take one or two worries at a time.
    3. Exercise. Go for a walk. Swim. Play.
    4. Deep breaths. Breathing techniques are very helpful alleviating anxiety and fast heartbeats. Avoid shallow or fast breathing. Take a few moments to simply notice your breathing pattern. Then, take a deep breath and let your belly be soft and relaxed. Breathe from your lower abdomen. A simple breathing exercise is to breathe in through your nose to the count of 9 and then hold your breath to the count of 9. Then slowly breathe out through your mouth to the count of 9. Repeat this breathing pattern at least 9 times and several times during the day, especially if you are feeling anxious.
    5. Meditation. Even the simplest of prayers or positive thoughts can help you release your worry. Prayer may help you relax and forget a specific trigger that may be worrying you.
    6. Be aware of your thoughts. Anxiety is often triggered or accompanied by negative thoughts or internal chatter. The good news is that you can do something about it. Be aware of your negative thoughts and replace them with positive and constructive thoughts such as imagining yourself relaxing on a sunny beach while listening to the sound of the ocean waves.
    7. Avoid caffeine, alcohol or nicotine.
    8. Don't watch the news or violent movies.
    9. Don't worry alone. If you are by yourself, try to contact someone that you trust. Anxiety often diminishes when we share our worries with someone that we trust.
    10. Counseling

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    Children's Heart Specialists, PSC is committed to provide comprehensive pediatric cardiac services to infants, children and young adults. We strive to insure the highest quality in non-invasive cardiovascular testing. Our medical staff is committed to being board certified in pediatric cardiology and adult congenital heart disease.

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    We do not give any medical advice or recommendations about you or your child's health in this website. The medical information that appears on this website is to be used as a general guide about heart defects and symptoms. Medical advice is discussed at the time of your consultation with Dr. Villafañe.