You might get anxiety when you are feeling nervous or worried about something. We all go through this at some point. But it is how you deal with it that matters.
Here you can find out why we feel anxiety and how to learn ways to cope with it.
What causes anxiety?
Everyone feels anxiety at some point. It is often hard to figure out the cause. You may feel worried and anxious about having a medical test, sitting an exam, or preparing for a job interview.
During times like these, feeling anxious is perfectly normal. But some people find it hard to control it. Their feelings of anxiety are more extreme and they don't seem to stop. This can interfere with your daily lives.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
When you are seriously affected by anxiety you cannot control your feelings and it can really get in the way of life. Symptoms of anxiety can arise long after the stressful situation has ended and has been forgotten about. Anxiety symptoms can be complicated and include:
- Physical: Sweating, chest pains, breathing difficulties, heart racing, shaking, blushing, headaches, a feeling of sickness in the stomach, panic attacks and even vomiting.
- Mental: Anger, sadness, feeling worried, feeling nervous, afraid, aggression, helplessness, concentration difficulties, feeling numb, repetitive negative thinking or behaviours and feeling continually watched or criticised.
Sometimes anxiety is actually just one symptom of a wider condition. These include, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Generalised anxiety disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder.
How to control anxiety
Learning to control your anxiety is important to your own mental health and well-being. Here are some tips to help you cope.
Practice mindful awareness: Try to stay with the sensations of anxiety and remind yourself that this will pass. At first it will be very hard to do this. The more you try to stay with the anxious feelings and observe them and not avoid them, the easier it will become to manage them. After the anxiety attack has passed, it might be helpful to think about the following:
- What was happening whilst you felt anxious?
- What did you think/feel/do just before you felt anxious? Who were you with?
- How do you usually react to your anxiety sensations and is this helping in the long term?
- Is there anything you could have done differently to cope better?
- What issue might be underlying the anxiety symptoms?
Positive activities: Once you've worked out what makes you feel anxious you can take steps to prevent it or deal with it, such as:
- Self-care: Be kind to yourself, connect with friends, do something fun just for yourself.
- Exercise, Relaxation/Meditation: Some people find that exercise and activities such as meditation and breathing exercises are helpful.
- Eat and sleep well: The better rested you are, the more able we are to cope with pressure.
- Talking therapy: If you are finding it difficult to cope, consider meeting with someone trained to help; this might include your GP and/or having talking therapy.
Top Apps for anxiety
- Calm: guided meditations and sleep stories to ease stress and improve sleep
- InnerHour: therapy-based self-help tools for anxiety, depression, stress, sleep and more
- HeadSpace: train your mind for a healthier, happier life by reducing daily anxieties and stresses
- Moodpath: log your moods and emotions to deal with anxiety and depression