Wellbeing Matters - coping with anxiety
The NHS website defines anxiety as, '...a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.'
It goes on to say, 'Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. During these times, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.
But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can can often affect their daily lives.'
I have firsthand experience of anxiety in a young person, and know how it can impact their daily life. It can range from being challenging at times to limiting life to very few choices. For those living with anxiety, the difficulty of always feeling on edge, worried and constantly ready to flee or fight can be exhausting and leave them feeling devoid of any joy.
Sometimes it's helpful to categorise worries into things that have already happened, and things that might be or are yet to come. For example, 'I'm anxious about an exam' and then after the exam 'I am worried about the result'.
Some would argue that there are some worries you can do something about, like study more or apologise for something. That may be true, but there are certainly some things we can't do anything about. Those of us who are lucky can simply say 'Don't worry about it, you can't change it'. For someone with anxiety, you might as well tell them they don't need to breathe. Even worse, some people have feelings of anxiety and worry but have NO IDEA WHY. There is no reason, there is nothing 'on their mind', they just have those feelings. It is brain chemistry, and we all know how complex that is.
Of course, there are specific treatments. But, for everyone, the basis of good mental health is the same mantra I always repeat - exercise, diet, water, sleep, connect with people, engage in activities you enjoy. There are others, but I firmly believe these six are a great starting point. Young people (and some not so young!) need to be educated about how to be mentally healthy - the bonus being, many on the list are good for the body too.
There are great organisations to contact for more information on anxiety and other mental health issues, including:
Have a great and healthy week.
Director of Wellbeing