Coping with anxiety
All of us experience anxiety from time to time. In fact, a certain level of anxiety under stressful situations may even help you to perform better in exams or job interviews! However, prolonged anxiety without the presence of a real stressor can be detrimental, leading to physical and emotional difficulties.
If you are experiencing any of the following, you may be suffering from underlying anxiety:
- Agitation. You are unable to relax or unwind. You find yourself feeling fidgety, restless or unable to sit still.
- Shortness of breath: You may notice that your breathing rate is short and fast. This may be accompanied by sweating or heart palpitations.
- Sleep problems: You may be struggling to get to sleep or find yourself repeatedly waking up at night.
- Dry mouth: You may experience a dry mouth despite drinking enough water.
- Avoidance: You may find yourself avoiding people or places which make you anxious. For example, if you have anxieties about being in crowded places, you may be avoiding public transports even if your journeys are taking you twice as long.
If any of the above is familiar to you, it might be necessary for you to seek support. A suitably trained therapist will be able to identify how your anxieties developed, behaviours that may be maintaining your anxieties and how you can reduce your anxiety levels. This may include behavioural coping strategies and practical ways of managing your distress.
With appropriate support, you can learn how to think differently about things you previously found stressful. This may in turn help you respond differently and behave differently in situations which you previously found stressful.
Ultimately, it's through understanding yourself that you will be able to make long term changes, so that your anxieties no longer limit your experiences and opportunities in life.