Anxiety is a normal reaction that many people experience. Everyone feels anxious at certain times. Workplace pressure, planning a big event, or writing an exam can cause feelings of wariness, or even fear. While uncomfortable, these situations may be more severe for those who suffer from an anxiety disorder.
An anxiety disorder is diagnosed when it is severe and significantly impacts a persons’ life. The good news is that anxiety disorders can be successfully treated once they are recognized.
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, or apprehension. Everyone experiences anxiety. It’s typical for people to feel anxious if they are in a dangerous situation, or before certain events such as public speaking, or an interview. Anxiety can help keep us safe and improve motivation and preparation.
Anxiety that is persistent, seems uncontrollable, and overwhelming may be an anxiety disorder. Anxiety affects our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions. It becomes problematic when daily living activities (ie. working, self-care, socializing etc.) are negatively impacted.
There are a number of different types of anxiety disorders including Panic Disorder, Phobias, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Is anxiety limiting your involvement in life? Are you avoiding everyday situations? Do you feel worried or tense most of the time? Do you feel your heart racing, tightness of chest, shortness of breath, butterflies in your stomach, dizziness, or fatigue? Do you often think “I can’t do this,” “I can’t breathe,” “I’m going to die,” “I’m trapped” etc? Do you feel fearful, on edge, uneasy, like you’re losing control. These are warning signs that anxiety may be a problem for you.
The good news is there is hope and help available. Try some of these suggestions:
- Talk to a family member or a friend you can trust
- Talk to a counsellor
- Talk to a doctor
- Attend a local peer support group
- Go for a walk
- Find ways to relax (practice mindfulness, grounding, visualization, deep breathing)
- Be mindful
- Do something you enjoy
- Reduce caffeine and/or alcohol intake
- Improve time management skills
- Visit the `Get Inspired` section of this app
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a process by which we learn to challenge our thoughts and change unwanted behaviour. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected; they influence each other. Here’s an example of how we can challenge our thoughts to have a more positive outcome:
Scenario: Job Interview
Thought-> “I’m terrible at interviews. I’m not going to get the job.”
Feeling -> Anxious, scared, nervous, butterflies in stomach, racing heart
Action -> Cancel interview.
A more positive way to think might be:
Thought -> “I’ll do okay. I’ve prepared a lot for this interview and I’ve gotten jobs in the past.”
Feeling -> More relaxed and confident.
Action -> Complete the interview.
To learn more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), check out Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) in the online programs section of this website.