Is anxiety affecting your life?

Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, nervous or afraid about things that may happen now or in the future. People usually experience feelings of worry or fear before confronting challenging situations such as sitting an exam or interview, and these feelings are perfectly normal. It can be experienced through your feelings, in your thoughts or physically.

The causes

The causes of anxiety can range from environmental factors to genetics and are commonly triggered by stress.  

A trauma from your past or childhood can be the cause of your anxiety such as being bullied, abused and neglected or due to the death of a loved one. In addition, the relationships that you are in may be creating stress whether it be a personal, professional relationship, friendship, marriage or divorce. Problems arising in these relationships can be causing you mental distress leading to anxiety.

Your environmental situation at work or at home can make you feel stressed and pressurised, resulting in you wanting to avoid the situations that you are in. You may be working long hours or feeling lonely and isolated from the world which can create the feeling of unease and fear. You may find that the issues in your life are affecting your mental state such as financial and housing problems or not being able to find work.

It may be out of your control where a family history of anxiety can also increase the chances of someone developing and suffering from anxiety disorders. However, it can also be a result of biochemical imbalances which affect the control and regulation of your mood.

Anxiety can also be a side effect of taking medication or from drug and alcohol consumption.


Variations of anxiety can include generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Anxiety can be hereditary, where you are approximately five times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition.

GAD is a common condition which is estimated to affect up to 5% of the UK population where 3 million people are affected by an anxiety disorder.

Women tend to be more affected than men and it is more common in people who are aged 35 to 59.

615 million people suffered from anxiety or depression in 2013.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders that people experience in the UK and is the most common form of mental illness in the United States.

The symptoms:

It is important to recognise that you have anxiety and to find the best solution to overcome it. Anxiety can be identified both physically and psychologically and everyone is different in what and how they feel. Some of the symptoms that characterise anxiety include:

Physical symptoms:

  • increased heart rate
  • increase muscle tension
  • dizziness
  • difficulty in breathing
  • tension headaches
  • hot flushes
  • nausea
  • heart palpitations
  • insomnia
  • shortness of breath
  • shaking or trembling
  • sweating

Psychological symptoms:

  • feeling detached to people and your environment
  • feeling on edge and alert
  • avoidance
  • difficulties in concentrating 

Ways to overcome anxiety:

It is important to remember that there are always ways to overcome anxiety and should you feel that it is impacting a large part of your life, to seek help. Seeing your GP can be useful in finding the best form of treatment for you.

  • You can also help yourself by talking about your thoughts and feelings to someone you trust which can help to relieve your worries and feelings of loneliness.
  • Breathing exercises can also help in making you feel more in control and relaxed.
  • Self-help courses from a book or online are available to help you to cope with your anxiety.
  • Adding in exercise to your daily routine may help where a simple walk can alleviate the tension and stress built up from your environment. You may find that you will be able to sleep better helping to put you in a better mood.
  • Changes in your habits such as reducing your caffeine or alcohol intake can also contribute to helping you to overcome these feelings.
  • Smoking increases anxiety and tension and those who smoke are more likely to develop anxiety disorders. Quit smoking and you may discover an improvement in your mood and concentration.
  • If you are finding it difficult to overcome anxiety alone, it may be effective to seek help from experts. Psychological therapy can be useful in helping you to figure out what the root of your anxiety is and ways in which you can treat it. Psychotherapists are professionals who are trained to listen to your problems and help you with your struggles. You can also get counselling or go for group therapy. Speaking to someone is a great way to understand your problems and to know that you are not alone.
  • Being able to acknowledge that you have anxiety can help drive you to find ways in which you can overcome that feeling of unease and to stop letting it affect the way you live. There are many people in this world who are feeling the same way and it is important to remember that you are not alone.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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East Croydon CR9 & Croydon CR0
Written by The Personal Growth And Development Centre, Bacp Accredited Couple & Adult Counsellors -Full & Low Cost
East Croydon CR9 & Croydon CR0

About us We are psychotherapists specialising in couple and relationship therapy.  We also work with individuals and organisations. We provide clinical supervision to other therapists.  Areas that we specialise in: Couples and relationship therapy Anxiety Depression Trauma  Low self-...

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