Stress and anxiety are quite normal feelings, especially if it is related to a particular event, for instance a driving test, interview or making a speech. In fact, nerves can give us an extra boost of energy to help us remember things or make quick decisions.
However, some people can experience constant feelings of anxiety and stress and/or intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. As a result, sometimes this can escalate to episodes of fear or terror that result in panic attacks.
Types of anxiety & stress
Work-related stress is a common issue that can deteriorate into anxiety.
Some people can experience anxiety in social situations, when they are interacting with people. For instance, just walking down the street or going to busy areas can be distressing.
Students can experience anxiety relating to academic work that can result in ‘writers block’, a lack of energy, poor focus or demotivation. Getting easily distracted, or the fear of failure can lead to avoidance and procrastination.
Sometimes, we cannot identify the triggers or reasons we are feeling anxious, and that’s ok.
How might I feel?
Common signs and symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Feeling nervous, feeling restless and muscles or neck tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Heart beating faster and breathing is fast and shallow
- Feeling sweaty and shaky
- Feeling nauseous or having butterflies in your stomach
- Having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep
What do other people say about it?
Clients often describe a feeling of being overwhelmed by stress or anxiety. Some find the thought of going shopping, meeting friends and going to family parties terrifying. The things that they used to enjoy are now totally out of their comfort zone. Clients sometimes say that they avoid people or situations; telling friends or family they can’t meet up or go to the party as they have other plans or feel ill. As a result, they often feel guilty, frustrated and in some cases stupid.
Ways in which stress & anxiety could affect me…
Feelings of anxiety and panic can prevent us from going about our usual daily routine or stop us from taking part in activities and have us avoiding social situations or busy places such as shopping centres, restaurants and cinemas.
Anxiety and stress can result in short temperedness which can put a strain on relationships and/or leave us feeling guilty that we have snapped at family, children or friends or said something that we wish we hadn’t.
Stress and anxiety can disrupt our sleep resulting in us feeling constantly tired. Sometimes worry goes hand in hand with stress and anxiety, further impacting sleep and making it impossible to switch off and relax.
Self Help: What can I do?
It can help to write down the issues that are worrying you and try to focus on the things that you can control.
Making time to rest and breathing or relaxation techniques can help – see our self-help guides for some ideas.
How can we support you?
We have anxiety and stress counsellors who are experts in supporting clients with these issues. Getting support early before any stress or anxiety gets worse means that it is sometimes easier to manage. You can learn techniques that help you to feel more in control so that you can get back to enjoying life.