Anxiety could be described as a sense of unease, discomfort or fear that we have inside of us about a person, situation or just ourselves. Anxiety becomes a problem when we feel it to a significant degree regularly, and when it stops us doing the things we want to do, or fulfilling the potential inside of us.
1 in 3 Australians will experience anxiety to a clinical level at some point in their lives.
Someone experiencing clinical levels of anxiety would display several of the following symptoms more days that not for more than 6 months;
- Feel a sense of unease, discomfort or dread that something bad is about to happen
- find it difficult to stop worrying
- find it difficult to do everyday activities due to worry
- Feel restless or on edge
- Become easily tired
- Have difficulty concentrating
- feel irritable
- have muscle pain (e.g. sore jaw or back)
- have trouble sleeping (e.g. difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep)
As with depression, there can be many causes of anxiety;
- there may be a history of anxiety within the family
- experiencing ongoing stressful events can lead to anxiety for example;
- job related stressors
- changes in living
- relationship difficulties
- experiencing a highly stressful or traumatic event
- abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, financial)
- grief and loss
- Physical health problems can increase anxiety for a number of reasons
- Consequence of illness on finances, employment, relationships
- Life threatening conditions, such as cancer, heart disease
- Hormonal problems such as an overactive thyroid, asthma
- Substance misuse – whilst substances such as alcohol or drugs can initially be used to calm the effects of anxiety, if used over a long period of time they can induce dependence or addiction and anxiety can be experienced as soon as the substance is not in their possession/use
Ways of managing
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that anxiety can be managed;
- Seeking out professional support through a counsellor, psychologist, or GP.
- Developing a regular exercise routine can be a good outlet for the symptoms of anxiety
- Having a daily plan to provide structure and routine to your day
- Being mindful of substances that can impact your anxiety levels such as caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods.
Did you know?
You could think of anxiety as being like a tiger. The more you give in to the anxiety you feel, the more you feed the tiger and the fatter it gets. The trick is to stop feeding the tiger!