Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life.

People often experience a general state of worry or fear before confronting something challenging such as a test, examination, recital, or interview. These feelings are easily justified and considered normal. Anxiety is considered a problem when symptoms interfere with a person's ability to sleep or otherwise function. Generally speaking, anxiety occurs when a reaction is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in a situation.

Anxiety process


  • Something bad is going to happen
  • I won’t be able to manage

Body response
Adrenaline response – Body’s alarm system - Energised for fight or flight. Blood is diverted to the big muscles to help us escape or fight the threat, and blood is therefore taken away from other body systems.

You might become aware of the following symptoms in your body:

  • Heart rate increases
  • Breathing speeds up, breathless, choking feeling
  • Muscles tense, aching, shaking
  • Hot, Sweating
  • Lightheaded, Blurred vision
  • Butterflies in tummy, urge to go to toilet
  • More alert – scanning for danger

How to deal with anxiety

Thinking in a different way

  • Is this threat a real one or is it really bound to happen?
  • Am I exaggerating the threat? Am I misreading things?
  • I feel bad, but that doesn’t mean things really are so bad.
  • What would someone else say about this?
  • What would I say to a friend in this situation?
  • What would be a more helpful way of looking at things?
  • Where’s my focus of attention?
  • I can cope with these feelings; I’ve got through it before. This will pass.

Do it in a different way

  • Take a breath
  • How will doing this affect me in the long term?
  • Don’t avoid situations – go anyway.
  • Problem solve or make plans if necessary.
  • Take things slowly or gradually.
  • Focus attention outside of me – external rather than internal focus.
  • What’s the best thing to do?
  • What would help most?

visualize yourself coping in a situation that you feel anxious about. See the situation through to a successful completion.

Visualise blue for calm. Breathe in blue and breathe out red.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/anxiety/


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