This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is from the 15th-21st May and is focusing on anxiety, which is one of the most common mental health problems we can face, within our personal and work life. Most people feel anxious at times and statistics on anxiety show that nearly 7% of all people in England struggle with anxiety. Research also suggests that women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men, however, this might be because women are more likely to seek help and treatment for anxiety.
It’s particularly common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they could have a big impact on your life and anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can spur us on, help us stay alert, make us aware of risks and motivate us to solve problems. However, anxiety can be a problem if it affects your ability to live your life. If your anxiety is ongoing, intense, hard to control or out of proportion to your situation, it can be a sign of a mental health problem. Our latest article explores how to manage anxiety and spot the signs.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety can effect your mind and body. Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Causes of anxiety
No two people are the same and we all cope with situations differently and everyone’s anxiety levels can vary. Some people find more situations stressful and experience more challenges in life than others, and they get more anxious as a result.
However, possible causes of anxiety include:
- Our upbringing
- Our environment
- Things that happen to us
- Our temperament
How to cope with anxiety
While you can’t outright prevent developing an anxiety disorder, there are a number of strategies you can use to help you cope with anxiety and manage your anxiety symptoms. Taking time-out can be a useful tool. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Often we find that stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
Getting enough sleep is vital to our mental health, although you may be wondering how this is possible if you lie awake at night with anxiety. Practising a good bedtime routine can help, with a wind down period and removal of phones/laptops from the bedroom. Maybe it’s time to pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read.
Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Turning to a therapist for professional help is always a good idea and utilising your work support can be invaluable in coping.
Engaging in exercise diverts you from the very thing you are anxious about and moving your body decreases muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling anxious. Aiming for 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity-as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time may make a difference.
For further information on how to manage anxiety, please contact us here.