What Is Anxiety?

October 23, 2018 2:21 pm Published by

It is important to recognise anxiety is normal and what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid.  Anxiety can affect us all in different ways and at different times.

Anxiety can describe a number of conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorders, which shows why anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues today.

Anxiety can make us imagine that things happening in life are worse than they really are and can prevent us from confronting fears.  We experience anxiety through thoughts, feelings and physically.  Anxiety causes excessive worries about a variety of topics, events, or activities

Anxiety is a natural human response when we think that we are under threat.  This is commonly called the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response – it’s something that happens automatically in our bodies, and we have no control over it.

What adults worry about

  • job responsibilities or performance
  • one’s own health or the health of family members
  • financial matters
  • everyday life circumstances


  • Noticing our failures but not seeing our successes
  • Discounting the positive and good things that have happened
  • Using critical words like, ‘should’, ‘must’, or ‘ought’ can make us feel guilty or like we have already failed.

Subtle Signs of Anxiety You Might Not Notice

  • Worrying most of the day.
  • Muscle tension due to worry.
  • Feeling on edge most of the time.
  • Physical symptoms due to anxiety, such as a racing heart, inability to catch your breath, shaking or sweating.
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome that worsens with anxiety.
  • Avoiding things you otherwise would do because of anxiety or fear.
  • Inability to relax even when there is nothing stressful going on.
  • Unable to sleep due to overthinking.
  • Feeling that worry is in an anxious “loop” that repeats itself.
  • Trouble concentrating due to worry.
  • Inability to let a concern go or push it aside.


People who are prone to anxiety are nearly always people-pleasers who fear conflict and negative feelings like anger.
When you feel upset, you sweep your problems under the rug because you don’t want to upset anyone.
You do this so quickly and automatically that you’re not even aware you’re doing it.
David D. Burns

Therapy is not to ‘talk about’ things, but to change the person’s life, and to relieve suffering, such as depression, anxiety, or relationship problems.
David D. Burns


If you’re feeling anxious, counselling can help you explore these feelings.  Making the decision to attend counselling is a positive step and can offer support beyond that available from family or friends.

For further information on counselling contact the Foundation on
01727 868585 or visit counsellingfoundation.org


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