Anxiety is best defined as an intense feeling of unease, worry, and fear. It is common to feel anxiety when faced with a challenging situation.
The constant feelings of worry and unease can be overwhelming and interfere with the ability to function in everyday life..
Anxiety is something that we all experience from time to time. It can come and go – but for some of us, it can stick around for a long time and end up having a big impact on daily life. When this happens, it might be time to do something about it.
Everyone experiences anxiety differently, but there are some common signs and symptoms.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Physical changes can include:
Changes to thoughts, feelings or behaviour can include:
- heart racing
- faster breathing
- feeling tense or having muscle aches (especially neck,
- shoulders and back)
- sweating or feeling dizzy
- ‘butterflies’ or feeling sick in the stomach.
- worrying about things a lot of the time
- being unable to control the worries
- having trouble concentrating and paying attention
- worries that seem out of proportion
Common types of anxiety
1. Generalised anxiety disorder
Some people may worry, and feel their worries are out of control.
They might feel tense and nervous most of the time, have trouble sleeping or find it hard to concentrate.
2. Social anxiety disorder
Some people may experience intense anxiety in social situations because of fear of embarrassment or judgement.
This may lead a person to avoid situations where there are other people, like work, school, uni, or hanging out with friends.
3. Separation anxiety disorder
Some people experience intense fear about being away from
loved ones – like parents or siblings – or often worry about them being hurt.
4. Panic disorder
Some people have recurring panic attacks and ongoing fears
about experiencing more panic attacks.
Some people feel intense anxiety about being in particular
environments outside the home. This can include public
spaces, public transport, enclosed spaces or crowds.
6. Specific phobias
Sometimes a person may experience a fear of a particular
situation or object – like spiders or animals – that leads to a
person avoiding that situation or object.
Lots of people avoid things they’re scared of. When it’s
getting in the way of daily life, it’s time to get support.
What can I do to manage anxiety?
1. Care for yourself.
Managing anxiety starts with good self-care. Try to eat well, get enough sleep and stay
active to help your overall mental health and wellbeing.
2. Talk about it.
It’s a good idea to talk about how you’re feeling – whether it’s with your family, friends,
a teacher, coach, your mob, or Elders. They can help you understand what’s going on, stick to your self-care
goals, and get extra help if needed.
3. Notice your thinking patterns.
Being aware of what thoughts are influencing your anxiety is an important
step towards managing it. It can help you understand what contributes to your anxiety and what your triggers
are. This can help you to handle them differently and learn new ways to cope.
4. Be aware of avoidance.
It’s normal to want to avoid situations that make you feel anxious. It might help in
the short term, but over time it can make your anxiety feel worse.
Anxiety and depression
Many young people experiencing an anxiety disorder may also experience symptoms of depression. This can make things much more confusing.
If you think this is happening for you, it’s important to reach out for support.