Anxiety is a feeling that arises when you are worried or afraid of something that you think could happen. It is a state of apprehension resulting from the anticipation of a real or perceived threat.
Anxiety is normal; it is our body’s natural response and is considered to be like an alarm system where we automatically go into survival mode.
Most of us will experience anxiety at some point in our lives, and it is there to help us not harm us.
Anxiety becomes a problem when it starts to have an impact on our daily lives and it prevents you from living the life you want. You may start to avoid things that you used to enjoy and everyday situations may suddenly become threatening, the fear of losing control feels very real and anxiety can be very frightening.
It is important to remember that anxiety is a highly subjective experience so not everyone will experience the same symptoms or at the same intensity.
Anxiety affects us through our thoughts, feelings and it also affects us physically.
The physical symptoms of anxiety refer to how we experience anxiety through our bodies, examples of this include:
* A faster heartbeat
* Sweating or chills
* Stomach churning or butterflies and/or diarrhoea
* Feeling light headed or dizzy
* Shortness of breath
* Pins and needles
* Sleep problems and fatigue
* Needing the toilet more or less often
* Changes to your sex drive
* Sweaty palms
When we are anxious the body sends out an alert to the Nervous System that something is not right, our body will become tense and Adrenalin is released into the bloodstream which puts us into fight or flight mode. This process will happen even if the danger is in our minds and not real therefore the physical process kicks in when it is often not needed.
Anxiety is its most basic form is an emotion and this may produce various feelings:
* Feeling Overwhelmed
* A feeling of dread
Our cognitive response relates to the way we think and can include:
* Repetitive negative thinking
* Memory difficulties
* Unable to concentrate
Our behaviours may change, some examples of this are:
* Avoiding situations, people or places that may cause anxiety
* Engaging in unhealthy or risky behaviours
* Increased drinking or drug use
* Withdrawing from normal activities
* Becoming overly attached to something or someone