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What is Anxiety?

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, one in four people – one in three women and one in five men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. Like depression, anxiety comes in a variety of different forms from general anxiety disorder (GAD) to more specific types such as social anxiety and phobias.

Anxiety is the feeling of not being able to meet what is currently required of you. It is the feeling we get when we feel like we are not equipped to perform a task, or be in a situation that we have in front of us. Whether that be a work presentation, a family gathering or simply getting out of bed in the morning, anxiety is an epidemic that almost everybody has been effected by. It is important to know that no one is naturally anxious and it is possible to heal from anxiety. If we are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of anxiety and listen to what our body is communicating to us through anxiety, we can work with it to build the skills required to feel more equipped to deal with life.


Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • Hot and cold flushes

  • Racing heart

  • Tightening of the chest

  • Sleep problems

  • Restlessness

  • Feeling tense

  • Wound up and edgy

  • Detached from your body

  • Excessive fear

  • Worried all the time

  • Catastrophizing

  • Obsessive thinking

  • Overthinking

  • Indecisive

  • Irritable, agitated

  • Worried you’re going crazy

  • Avoidance of situations

  • Inability to sit still and remain calm

  • Social withdrawal and isolation

  • Exaggerated startle reflex

  • Decreased ability to perform normal activities of daily life

What are the treatment options?

Everyone is unique with what treatments work for them so treatment needs to be tailored to your condition, circumstances, needs and preferences. Most people with anxiety or depression benefit from one or a combination of the following:

  • Lifestyle changes such as reduced alcohol consumption, dietary changes, exercise, sleep hygiene and mood monitoring

  • E-mental health programs

  • Mindfulness and meditation practices

  • Engaging with social support networks around you

  • Talking therapies (psychology or counselling)

  • Medical therapies recommended by your doctor

The first point of call for the treatment of depression is usually your doctor or another health care professional, they will be able to advise you on the treatment options that are right for you.

Often when people feel depressed engaging in treatment and taking that first step can feel almost impossible let alone maintaining the steps involved in recovery. It is important to remember that depression and anxiety are treatable and effective treatments are available. The earlier you seek support, the better.

  1. Stay Connected - Try to stay connected to people in whatever way you can

  2. Limit Social Media - Be conscious of your exposure to social media and the negative impact it can have

  3. Keep Routine - Keep routine in your day and add something enjoyable in where you can

  4. Controlled Breathing - Try deliberately slowing down your breathing. Focus on making it as slow and gentle as possible breathing through your nose.

  5. Set boundaries - Listen to what you are feeling and if you feel that something being asked of you is contradicting that, say no and set limits,

  6. Keep Active - Keep active, doing whatever you enjoy (this reduces stress hormone build up)

  7. Assess your diet - Look at your diet and alcohol consumption and see what might not be supporting you

  8. Limit Caffeine - Be conscious of your intake of caffeine after midday as it impacts your sleep

  9. Reach Out - Reach out for help and support from family, friends and health care professionals

  10. Sleep Hygiene - Look at your bedtime rituals. Are they working for you? Can you limit screen time before bed, use low lighting, implement regular bedtimes

If you would like to book in a session with one of our counsellors to discuss treatment of anxiety symptoms you can book online using the button below. You can also access some free government helplines for immediate support over on our resources page


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