Anxiety

Anxiety is a type of fear usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, but can also arise from something happening right now.

Around 1 in 6 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem like anxiety each year, which has steadily increased over the past 20 years. It is also likely that individuals do not seek help for significant levels of anxiety, meaning many remain without diagnosis or treatment.

Life is full of potential stressful events and it is normal to feel anxious about everyday things. There can be a single trigger or event that raises anxiety levels, but generally it's be a number of things that increase anxiety levels, including exams, work deadlines, how we think we look, going on a first date or whether we feel safe travelling home late at night.

Anxiety has a strong effect on us because it's one of our natural survival responses. It causes our mind and body to speed up to prepare us to respond to an emergency.

Some of the physical things that might happen are:

  • rapid and/or irregular heartbeat

  • fast breathing

  • weakened or tense muscles

  • sweating

  • churning stomach or loose bowels

  • dizziness

  • dry mouth.

  • Anxiety also has a psychological impact, which can include:

  • trouble sleeping

  • lack of concentration

  • feeling irritable

  • feeling depressed

  • loss of self-confidence.

It can be hard to break this cycle, but you can learn to feel less worried and to cope with your anxiety so it doesn’t stop you enjoying life.

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you - Jean Paul Sartre