I don’t think there can be many of us who aren’t experiencing some degree of anxiety at this time of the year. Anxiety is a surge of feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease about something we’re unsure of or that is out of our control. Or can also be a strong desire, an eagerness to make things happen in order to please others, or it could be an uncomfortable feeling, nervousness or worry about something that’s happening or might happen in the future.
Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. As children we will have felt anxious about our first day at school, but as adults our anxiety can be debilitating causing us distress, uneasiness of mind and inner turmoil through a fear of danger or misfortune. This feeling of unease, worry or fear can be just mild or severe, varying from one person to another. Feeling a bit anxious is perfectly normal for example when starting a new job, taking exams or going through medical tests. The trick is to keep calm and be confident which isn’t always easy. If we can’t control our worries these constant feelings of anxiety will affect our daily lives.
Serious anxiety could be a symptom of several medical conditions, including panic disorder, or possibly a phobia such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia often requiring specialised treatment to control it. Sometimes a dramatic incident or accident can result in social anxiety disorder (social phobia) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One specific anxiety condition is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days causing both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms.
But for the majority of us can help ourselves in simple ways to stay confident and calm. If you feel anxious or stressed start by taking a few deep breaths. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head. Ensure you regularly get enough sleep which your body needs if you are stressed, and limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks. Eat well-balanced meals and exercise daily to feel good and maintain your health. At certain times anxiety is completely normal but see your GP if it’s affecting your daily life or causing distress.