Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, which can be mild or severe. It is a normal, if unpleasant, part of life, and it can affect us all in different ways and at different times. And while all of us experience healthy anxiety from time-to-time, some people find it difficult to control their worries, and experience more constant levels of anxiety that affect daily life.
Our bodies are ‘biologically wired’ to experience anxiety in response to threat, and so when we are presented with a situation that we interpret as potentially dangerous, we can experience this in the ways we feel, think and behave.
Some of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety are increased heart rate, hyperventilation (over breathing), dizziness, feeling sick, tightness in the chest, ‘butterflies’ in the stomach, headaches, problems sleeping, sweating, dry mouth and shaking.
Common psychological symptoms of anxiety are thinking that you may lose control and/or go ‘mad’, thinking that you might die, thinking that you may have a heart attack/be sick/faint/have a brain tumour, feeling that people are looking at you and observing your anxiety, feeling as though things are speeding up/slowing down, feeling detached from your environment and the people in it, feeling like wanting to run away/escape from the situation, or feeling ‘on edge’ and alert to everything around you.
Psychological treatment can help you to better understand, manage and reduce anxiety.
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