Identifying And Dealing With Anxiety

Clip, clap…….kettle boiling! Please hurry up and get into bed…Toss…..turn……… duvet off …. …..right side…..left side…….what time is it?…….oh it’s 2am………I can’t sleep………oh no I can’t sleep……..but I must sleep……I must sleep in the next 15 mins……why did a car just speed down my road?…….I should re-set my alarm…..toss…..turn…… cold……duvet back on…… Sound familiar?

This, unfortunately, is the reality for a lot of people. Read on along as Sanam Naran shares her expertise on the subject. 

What is anxiety?

Often identified with fear, anxiety is indeed a type of fear or strong feeling about a situation, it’s the thought of a threat or something which may go wrong in the future. Anxiety causes fright and uncertainty and lasts a short time or can be prolonged. Anxiety can affect our ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, leave the house, go to school, or even work. Can interfere with our enjoyment and take over our lives. 

Anxiety can be understood as the inability to accept uncertainty. Individuals avoid certain situations or tasks, in an attempt to avoid a negative outcome. They procrastinate, refuse to delegate, do excessive checking, avoid situations, constantly seek reassurance.

Debunking anxiety:

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations and can sometimes be useful, for example, before a competition or presentation or a job interview. It will increase your alertness and performance. Anxiety in situations of real danger enables individuals to act quickly to ward off/escape danger. Anxiety in the workplace may produce the following symptoms:

  • Worrying
  • Performance anxiety
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Panic
  • Obsessive thinking styles

Why Do We Feel Anxious?

  • Sense fear
  • Extreme reaction to everyday events
  • Loss of control
  • Stress to a life situation
  • Release of adrenaline in the body
  • Preparation for an emergency
  • Fight or flight” primitive response
  • Increase blood flow to muscles
  • Dilated pupils, increased muscle activity etc.

Possible Triggers of Anxiety:

  • After something bad has happened
  • Significant life events i.e. bereavement/illness/separation/bullying
  • Fears: Dogs, spiders, snakes, flying, heights
  • Genetic predisposition – how we are made up
  • Temperamental disposition – how we behave
  • Uncertainty– A fear of having to do something new or out of our comfort zone.


Physical Signs of Anxiety:

  • Fast / irregular heart beat
  • Increased breathing rate / shallow breathing
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Weak/ tense /tingling/aching of muscles
  • Feeling lightheaded /headaches/dizziness
  • Stomach aches or bowel problems
  • Sweating – hot and cold
  • Frozen” to the spot
  • Blurred vision


It’s helpful to ask yourself these questions when feeling anxious:

  • Is this really true?
  • Am I exaggerating?
  • Is this thought helping me?
  • Am I making things out to be worse that they really are?
  • What other explanations could there be?


What Can I Do?

First port of call is always to seek therapy or counselling with a psychologist near you.



  • Be mindful of the things you say to yourself.
  • List & acknowledge positive qualities about yourself- create a record to fill your personal bank account-PBA
  • When anxiety threatens to take over ask yourself “am i making more withdrawals than deposits in my PBA?”
  • Mindfulness is being present, being aware of what you are thinking and feeling in your body.
  • Being aware of the here & now be aware of your breath and use it to remain present.
  • Disengage from auto pilot mode.


  • It is also important that you make time for yourself and your own relaxing activities.
  • Make a list of the things you can do to feel good and relax.
  • When you notice yourself feeling stressed or worried, engage in one of those activities. It could be something as simple as making a cup of tea, reading a magazine. Whatever works for you!


  • You might notice that we you feel worried; your breathing quickens and becomes shallow.
  • By taking slow, deep breaths, we can relax our body, our heart beats slower, and we feel less tense or worried.
  • Try taking in a slow deep breath, starting from the bottom of your stomach, in through the nose. Breathe out as slowly as you can through the nose or mouth.

Support system

  • Social support is vital for our emotional wellbeing and can buffer against stressful situations in life.
  • The ability to seek assistance from others is a skill that will help you cope throughout life
  • Discuss all the different support people that are available e.g. Family, friends, teachers etc.
  • Call upon a variety of members of their support team when they are faced with difficult situations.

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