Anxiety is a normal reaction that many people experience.
An anxiety disorder is diagnosed when it is severe and significantly impacts a persons’ life. This section looks at the forms of anxiety disorders and problems and where to seek help.
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, or apprehension. Everyone experiences anxiety. It’s typical for people to feel anxious if they are in a dangerous situation, or before certain events such as public speaking, or an interview. Anxiety can help keep us safe and improve motivation and preparation.
Anxiety that is persistent, seems uncontrollable, and overwhelming may be an anxiety disorder such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, etc. Anxiety affects our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions. It becomes problematic when daily living activities (ie. working, self-care, socializing etc.) are negatively impacted.
Is anxiety limiting your involvement in life? Are you avoiding everyday situations? Do you feel worried or tense most of the time? Do you feel your heart racing, tightness of chest, shortness of breath, butterflies in your stomach, dizziness, or fatigue? Do you often think “I can’t do this,” “I can’t breathe,” “I’m going to die,” “I’m trapped” etc? Do you feel fearful, on edge, uneasy, like you’re losing control. These are warning signs that you may be experiencing anxiety.
The good news is there is hope and help available. Try some of these suggestions:
- Talk to a family member or a friend you can trust
- Talk to a counsellor
- Talk to a doctor
- Attend a local peer support group
- Go for a walk
- Find ways to relax (deep breathing, visualization etc.)
- Be mindful
- Do something you enjoy
- Reduce caffeine and/or alcohol intake
- Improve time management skills
- Visit the `Get Inspired` section of this app
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a process by which we learn to challenge our thoughts and change unwanted behaviour. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected; they influence each other. Here’s an example of challenging your thoughts: Scenario: Job Interview Thought-> “I’m terrible at interviews. I’m not going to get the job.” Feeling -> Anxious, scared, nervous, butterflies in stomach, racing heart Action -> Cancel interview. A more positive way to think might be: Thought -> “I’ll do okay. I’ve prepared a lot for this interview and I’ve gotten jobs in the past.” Feeling -> More relaxed and confident. Action -> Complete the interview.