What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a common feeling which most of us will experience at some point in our lives. It can involve the following experiences –

  • Feeling apprehensive, tense, edgy and irritable
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Physical sensations such as butterflies or cramps in the stomach, trembling, a fast heart rate and sweating
  • Feeling out of control
  • Worrying that you are having a heart attack, stroke or other serious illness
  • Wanting to withdraw from family and friends
  • Having a fear of being judged unfairly, which can increase feelings of low self-esteem
  • Panicking and avoiding situations which cause panic
  • Wanting to avoid public spaces (this is known as agoraphobia)
  • Being tearful and unable to express feelings

 What can help?

There are many things that can reduce anxiety and make it much more manageable. Psychological therapies can help in developing coping strategies and problem solving skills. There are some medications which people may find useful, especially in the short term.

Many people find mindfulness techniques helpful for anxiety, and physical exercise can also be really helpful.

Other things that may help include:

  • Taking a deep breath
  • Accepting that you’re anxious
  • Realising that your brain is playing tricks on you
  • Questioning your thoughts
  • Using a calming visualisation
  • Being an observer – without judgement
  • Using positive self-talk
  • Focusing on right now

“Coping with Anxiety & Panic Disorder”: Online Resource

Our free online course ‘Coping with Anxiety & Panic Disorder’ looks at how anxiety is a normal human response to everyday stresses and explains when anxiety can become a mental health issue. It explains what panic disorder is, what defines a panic attack, dealing with and preventing panic attacks and ways to cope with anxiety disorders including positive coping strategies, relaxation techniques, complementary therapies, psychological therapies and medication used to treat the symptoms of anxiety and panic.

To explore this resource, and more, head over to our e-learning site where you will need to create a free account.

Real Life Experience

If you’d like to share your experience of anxiety on this page, please email