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Your Healthy Mind

This is how anxiety can feel

Posted by Dr. Peter Farvolden, Ph.D., C.Psych. on Aug 8, 2018 11:27:15 AM

Feeling anxious – about people, situations, or just a general background soundtrack of worry – can have a profound impact on how you react to your everyday life.  While there is more than one type of anxiety, here are some of the feelings that people experience when they have an anxiety problem.

1-Lack of control. A woman buries her face in her hands at work, in front of stacks of paper.

Lack of control. The feeling that what’s happening to you is bigger than you can control. There are too many variables for you to take the reins.

2-Restless. A young man bites his fingernails.

Restless. Feeling tense, nervous, keyed-up, or on-edge are signs of hyper-arousal, which can happen when you’re experiencing anxiety.

3-Hypervigilance. A woman looks nervously up at a wall of windows.

Hypervigilance. That feeling of always being ready to react, on the verge of fight or flight.

4-Muscle pain. A person looking down in shadow rubs their bare shoulder and neck.

Muscle pain. Anxiety is not only experienced “in your head”. Muscle pain and tension can result from persistent anxious feelings.

5-Pervasive worrying. A construction worker sits against a wall, holding his head and staring forward.

Pervasive worrying. Your worrying feels out of control, and even though you’re aware it’s out of proportion, you can’t stop it.  

6-Difficulty sleeping. A woman lies awake, staring.

Difficulty sleeping. Being on edge and excessive worrying can lead to sleep loss, and start a cycle where fatigue bolsters anxiety, leading to more trouble sleeping.

7-Trouble focusing. A worried man looks at his phone.

Trouble focusing. Difficulty concentrating on regular activities, mind wandering, not being “there”.

8-Irritability. A person scrunches up papers on their desk.

Irritability. Losing your temper and feeling like your patience is in short supply.

9-A sense of doom. A woman in a dark room with a hand on her forehead, eyes closed in misery.

A sense of doom. A sense of doom or dread that hangs over your day like an oppressive cloud.

While some sense of anxiety and worry can be helpful in normal everyday life, if you’re feeling several of these signs for an extended period of time, you may have an anxiety problem, and should speak with a psychologist or other mental health professional.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a way to understand how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour are related, and can help you gain the perspective you need to be able to untangle your anxious thoughts and feelings, and move forward.  

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Topics: Stress, Anxiety