Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal response to stress or danger – it’s the “fight or flight” response that helps us to manage stressful situations.
But sometimes our anxiety is out of proportion to the stress or danger we face; and sometimes it’s so intense we’re disabled by it. When that happens, we might:
- Feel very uneasy, apprehensive, fearful or worried;
- Feel tired, weak or sick;
- Find it hard to concentrate – our mind racing, jumping from one thing to another;
- Get a headache, a tight chest, feel short of breath and feel our heart racing;
- Sweat, blush and tremble;
- Feel tense, agitated or irritable;
- Lose control and lash out;
- Over-react to things to such an extent that we make them worse than they are.
Anxiety disorders are common:
- one in six people will experience high levels of anxiety this week;
- one in ten people will experience disabling anxiety in their lifetime;
- one in twenty people will experience anxiety and depression together.
And common anxieties include:
- social anxiety – emotional discomfort, fear, apprehension or worry about social situations, a fear that we’re being scrutinized by other people, and we’ll falling short of they’re expectations;
- phobia – an intense and persistent fear of something;
- panic attack – a sudden, overwhelming fear that we can’t cope, we’re going mad or we’re going to die;
- generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – a persistent feeling of worry, which is there most of the time, but the worry itself often changes.
Anxiety can’t be cured and, because it’s normal and it can be helpful, we don’t try to banish it altogether. But CBT can help us understand and manage our anxiety.