We live in an age of anxiety – it seems to be everywhere! You probably keep hearing about it and you might not be sure what it actually means… we’ve all been there. Don’t worry, we are here to tell you everything you need to know.
So, anxiety is a completely normal emotion and everyone feels it at some point. It can be explained as feeling uneasy, worried, or fearful. We can feel anxious in general without it focusing on one specific thing, but it can also be about loads of different things at once.
Where does anxiety come from?
When humans lived in caves, we faced loads of threats on a daily basis. We had to be ready to defend ourselves at the drop of a hat from dangerous animals trying to steal our food or kill us. When our brain identifies a threat, our bodies release a chemical called adrenaline and we go into fight or flight mode which was a necessary survival mechanism back then. Fight means to literally defend yourself, and flight means run away. The fight or flight response gets our bodies ready by increasing your heart rate, speeding up breathing, and tensing your muscles up.
Now, we aren’t exactly threatened by massive tigers and bears trying to steal our food or kill us, but our minds can still trigger the fight or flight response. We feel threatened by different things these days such as traffic jams, pressures in school and work, and social media to name a few, and because our minds perceive a threat, we start to feel anxious and our brains may turn on the fight or flight mode. This is why when we feel anxious, our bodies feel a certain way which we are now going to talk about.
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Worrying about loads of different things and usually for things that rarely happen
- Feeling really irritable
- Not being able to properly relax
- Having physical sensations like headaches, stomachaches, and palpitations
- Going to the toilet a lot (yep, anxiety poos are a thing!)
- Not being able to sleep properly
- Feeling tired quite a lot
- Changes in appetite
- Racing thoughts that you cannot control
Signs that your Anxiety is Getting Worse
Although anxiety can be useful in small doses, there comes a point when it can become too much and it’s important to know when the anxiety is getting out of hand. Here are some signs that you might have too much anxiety:
- The feelings of anxiety are really intense and don’t seem to go away easily
- When the anxiety can last for days, weeks, and even months at a time
- Feeling like your mind has gone into overdrive, leaving you exhausted
- Avoiding certain things e.g. school, friends, family members, and teachers to name a few
- When the anxiety starts to get in the way of your life e.g. socialising, going to school, and having healthy relationships to name a few
- Over-planning and trying to control things that cannot be controlled
The thing with anxiety is that it has a way of telling us that we are the problem. Just remember, the problem is the problem, and you are you – the problem and you as a person are two separate things. Anxiety is not a person or a personality trait, anxiety is a normal emotion that can often get out of hand. You are so much more than any anxiety you might be feeling, so don’t let it define you.
Need some tips to manage your anxiety? Read this.