Am I experiencing anxiety?
Anxiety can feel different from one person to another, so it can be a unique experience that only you know you are dealing with. However, generally we use the term to describe feelings of unease, worry and fear. It can make you feel nervous and unsure as to which way to go next. When you experience anxiety it can generally be broken down into two different types of feelings which are; physical and emotional sensations.
Physical sensations can include feeling sick, tense muscles, headaches, pins and needles, feeling dizzy, breathing quickly, hot flushes, sweating, a fast heart beat, not sleeping, frequent toilet visits, stomach churning or having a panic attack.
Emotional sensations can include feeling on edge, fearing the worst, feeling like things are slowing down or speeding up, feeling like other people are looking at you, feeling overwhelmed with thoughts, thinking over and over about negative experiences, not being able to concentrate or feeling numb.
Anxiety is not a pleasant experience and is related to our biological reaction to feeling threatened, so we adopt a ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response. It is therefore a common reaction to feel nervous, tense or even fearful during a stressful time or decision you are faced with making, especially when it may have a big impact on you. It could be that you are getting married or divorced, you have been diagnosed with an illness, moving home, starting a new job, attending an interview or taking an exam.
As anxiety is a normal experience, it can be hard to know when its becoming a problem for you. If your feelings are very strong, last for a long time, feel really overwhelming and are affecting your ability to live your life the way you want to, then its worth thinking about ways to help yourself.
Its natural to try to avoid what is triggering your fears, so taking action may make you feel more anxious to begin with. It can be difficult to face up to these feelings, but talking about it can be the first step to break the cycle of insecurity. Talking to someone you trust can help. Having someone listen to you and showing that they care can help in itself. A trained counsellor can help you understand the causes of your anxiety and find strategies to manage it.
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