What is anxiety?

Anxiety is different for every individual – anxiety is much more than feeling ‘nervous!’ Some will only experience a few of the symptoms below whereas others may experience all of them or most of them. Anxiety for some is a feeling of unease, such as worry, fear or absolute dread. It can be mild or very severe. It looks different for everyone. Below is a profile of anxiety:

After all of the physical, behavioural and thinking changes we experience when we are anxious are part of the anxiety responses called, “fight, flight, or freeze.” These three responses can be adaptive when we feel as though we are facing danger. In the same way our ancestors would run and hide from danger.
To see how this works, imagine that you are in a new town. You decide to go for a walk at night and find yourself lost on a dark street. You notice a large Male figure approximately 20 yards away walking towards you. You believe that he sees you and think he is going to rob you. What should you do? One option is to fight. To do this, your heart would pump faster, your breathing would speed up, and your muscles would tense. Swearing helps to cool your down. As you can see all these body changes would be helpful in this situation. These changes make up the fight response.

But maybe you do not think fighting is a good idea. Perhaps you think it would be better to run. To run fast, you would need accelerated heart rate, plenty of oxygen, muscles tension and sweating. These make up the flight response. With little luck, running may save you.

The third response is to “freeze.” Perhaps if you are so very still.. The man won’t see you. To freeze it will require you to have very tense, rigid muscles.

These are the 3 reactions we have to danger. Think of anxiety as similar to our pain response, it would be quite risky if we did not experience pain because then we wouldn’t know to pull our hand away from a hot stove. In the same way, we rely on our anxiety responses to alert is to dangers that we might need to face or manage.
Sadly, we also experience anxiety when watching a movie about a robbery or when standing in front of a group of people to give a speech. This is when we need to put things in place in order to manage and deal with these situations that create so much anxiety in our minds.

Symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • Relentless worrying
  • Trembling, twitching, feeling shaky
  • Muscle tension, muscle aches, muscles soreness
  • Restlessness
  • Tiring easily
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat / heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Tight chest
  • Sweaty palms
  • Feeling on edge
  • Sense of dread
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Nausea, diarrhoea
  • Flushes
  • Trouble swallowing – lump in throat
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble with sleep
  • Irritability
  • Avoiding activities or gatherings
  • Seeing yourself as unable to cope
  • The thought of terrible danger
  • Increase in urge to urinate

How to reduce my anxiety

Practice relaxation methods:

  • Mindfulness
  • Breathing exercise
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Essential oils
  • Talk therapy
  • CBT

Love to you all,

Zo x

Intagram: @mymentalhealthtalks

Email: zo@mymentalhealthtalks.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *