Diseases, Conditions and Treatments

Understanding Anxiety


The words stressed, hassled, tense and worry all describe a situation of anxiety. Anxiety is a normal and common feeling (emotion) that can be helpful even though it can feel unpleasant. For example, a small amount of anxiety can help motivate some people to prepare for events such as interviews and exams, and even in crossing the road. Anxiety is also helpful in situations of sudden danger, where it helps you to respond and get away as quickly as possible. Anxiety becomes a problem when people feel:

– Anxious in situations that are not dangerous at all.
– Extremely anxious: well beyond what is helpful anxiety. For example, being so worried about things that you cant get off to sleep.

Worrying thoughts are common in anxiety. When people worry, they anxiously go over things again and again in a way that is unhelpful. This is because it doesn’t actually help sort out the problems that they are worried about.

Worry causes you to think again and again about things that happened in the past. You may also worry about things in the present or what might happen in the future. This type of constant, anxious worrying is sometimes called stress. Its also sometimes described as having generalized anxiety, that is, people feel generally anxious about very many things in life.

Often, people don’t want to talk about mental health problems. So you may think you are the only person to have these problems. But this isn’t true. You may be surprised to learn that there are possibly at least one or two people living near to you, in your street, who also have problems with anxiety.

Worrying thoughts can also occur alongside other problems such as:

– Panic attacks: people may have panic attacks when they are extremely anxious or full of fear.
– Depression: people who are depressed often also tend to have anxious worrying. The depressing thoughts are linked in with low mood, a lack of enjoyment and reduced activity. If you think you may be depressed, you should talk to your healthcare practitioner to find out more about being depressed.

The first step of working out how to make changes is to see how things have developed over time. Understanding how things have changed can help you get a clearer idea of how anxiety and stress are affecting you now. It can also help you work out what aspects of life you want to work on so as to get back to feeling better again.

Learn how to stop anxiety attacks

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