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Guard Your Health is a resource for Army National Guard Soldiers and family members. Find health-related tools and information. Hear from fellow Soldiers and Families. Make medical readiness part of your personal mission.

Overcome Your Anxiety

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In this Article:

  • Having a little anxiety is normal.
  • You can usually manage anxiety with simple lifestyle changes.
  • Being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder doesn’t mean automatic discharge from service.

Everyone gets nervous or anxious from time to time. It’s perfectly normal to have butterflies in your stomach or sweaty palms when responding to stressful situations. As a Guard Soldier, you’re often faced with challenges that the average person may not experience. Learn how to manage your anxiety and how it can impact your readiness.

Understand Anxiety

Anxiety is the feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. Anxiety can trigger a “flight or fight” response (your body’s reaction to stress or a threat), releasing chemicals and hormones into your bloodstream. Your body returns to normal when the stress passes. But, if you repeatedly feel anxious or stressed, your body may not get the signal to return to normal. If this happens a lot, it can weaken your immune system and make you sick.

Signs of anxiety include:

  • Panic
  • Feelings of impending danger or doom
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Feeling nervous, restless, or irritable
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shaking
  • Trouble concentrating

Manage Your Anxiety

To help overcome your anxiety, simple lifestyle changes like these can make a big difference:

You can also explore these free and confidential support options to learn how to cope:

Maintaining Your Readiness

As a Guard Soldier it is important to maintain your readiness and mental health 24/7. If you feel your anxiety is affecting daily life, talk to your Medical Readiness NCO or medical health professional. Early identification and early treatment will lead to a better outcome.

Your career should not be impacted if you seek professional help or treatment. According to Army Regulation 40-501 [PDF  642KB], diagnosis of an anxiety disorder or panic attacks does not mean automatic separation of service.

If you are taking anxiety medication or have been hospitalized for anxiety disorders, it is up to your medical and behavioral health professionals to determine if you are medically fit to continue serving. They will review whether your medication and/or therapy limits you from doing your job or interferes with your military performance.

Anxiety can be tough to deal with, but know that you’re not alone!

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