While anxiety can feel unpleasant, it is part of normal life. Everyone worries to some degree, and at manageable levels anxiety can be a beneficial emotion. It can motivate us and improve our performance (imagine how well you would have done in school if you didn’t worry at all). So, while many people seek to eliminate anxiety all together, that is not a realistic, nor desirable goal.

For some people, anxiety can increase to a point where it does not feel manageable. It can become excessive in both duration and intensity. It can include cognitive symptoms (difficulty concentrating on anything other than the worry, difficulty controlling thoughts about the worry), physical symptoms (increased heart rate, sweating, feelings of fatigue), behavioural symptoms (insomnia, avoidance), and emotional symptoms (feelings of impending danger, nervousness). This may be situational and transient, or may be part of larger issue such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you feel like you don’t have control of your worry, these tips can be helpful:

  • Practice good sleep hygiene – if you’re tired, you’re more likely to ruminate and have negative thoughts
  • Do activities that you like  – find activities that engage you
  • Try relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing – please remember this needs to be done regularly to have any lasting effect
  • Mindfulness – this encourages acceptance of thoughts without judgement

Anxiety does not have to take over your life. If you feel you need more help, please book an appointment at YOUR HEALTH Wellness Centre.