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What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about a job interview or taking a test or exam. Feeling anxious at times like these can be normal.

But some people find it hard to control their worries, or find these feelings stay for most of the time or feel very strong. This can affect your daily life as you may avoid the situations that cause you worry.

With the right support and treatment, you can start to feel better.

Signs of anxiety ?

In your body (physical signs) 

  • Feeling like your heart is racing or pounding.

  • Tension in your body – you might feel it in your shoulders, neck or jaw.

  • Stomach pain.

  • Tight chest and difficulty breathing.

  • Feeling hot and sweaty.

  • Feeling shaky or jittery.

  • Sleeping a lot more or a lot less.

  • Struggling to concentrate.

  • Changes in your appetite – some people lose their appetite, some people feel more hungry

  • Feeling like your brain won’t rest or it’s harder to think things through.

  • Feeling restless, moody, easily annoyed or unable to sit still.

In your feelings (emotional signs)

  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry.

  • Thoughts of the worst happening.

  • Having trouble relaxing.

  • Difficulties with falling or staying asleep.

  • Having trouble concentrating.

  • Racing or spiralling thoughts.

  • Thinking that you can’t cope.

  • Feeling hopeless, ashamed, sad, nervous, anxious or on edge.

  • Feeling like you have lost your sense of self.

  • Thinking badly about yourself.

  • Feeling lonely or isolated.

  • Feeling like life has lost its meaning

In the way you act (behavioural signs) 

  • Staying away from your usual sources of strength like your church, mosque, temple, family and friends.

  • Wanting to be left alone.

  • Avoiding the people close to you.

  • Picking fights with family and friends.

  • Spending a lot of time alone.

What can I do about anxiety?

There are things you can do to support your own wellbeing and reduce feelings of anxiety.

If you recognise these signs in yourself, you can get professional support. With the right treatment and support, you can start to feel better. You can start by talking to your GP (family doctor).