Anxiety, stress and worry are different ways to describe similar things; these descriptions are all related to problems that cause people to be fearful and/ or experience tension and discomfort.
Many problems can cause anxiety, stress and worry and so if you experience any of these then your problems could fit into a number of different categories.
If you find that you:
- Worry a lot about many different things and find these worries uncontrollable, then your problems might be a generalised anxiety problem
- Experience intense fear in social situations because of worries about what you might do or what others might think about you, then you might have a social anxiety problem
- Perform repetitive behaviours such as checking, counting or particular rituals to manage distressing thoughts, images or feelings, then you might have problems with obsessions and compulsions
- Are extremely afraid of or very worried about specific objects or situations, then you might have a specific phobia
- Have repeated thoughts, images, memories or nightmares about a past event that was dangerous or life-threatening, then you might have post-traumatic stress related problems
- Constantly check your body for signs of illness and/or seek reassurance and advice about your health because of worries that you might be unwell, then your problems might be a health anxiety problem
- Have intense episodes of sudden terror and apprehension and notice that you have physical sensations such as dizziness, nausea, trembling and/or difficulty breathing, then you might have a problem with panic
Have difficulties getting used to life following a recent stressful event and/or a significant change in your life (e.g. serious illness, loss of employment, financial hardships), then you might have adjustment problems.
What can I do about it?
Guided Self Help, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and/or medication may help you to better manage anxiety and stress. Depending on your circumstances, you may benefit from one of these types of treatment or a combination of the two.
Guided Self-Help options
We offer a number of guided self help interventions for managing anxiety and stress. These include:
- The Feeling Good Group where you can learn strategies for managing anxiety
- Guided self help, where a Psychological Wellbeing Pracitioner will guide you through a techniques to help with anxiety
- Recommended Self Help Books and Resources Some people find that reading about anxiety can help them deal with their condition. There are many books based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). These may help you understand your psychological problems better and learn ways to overcome them by changing your behaviour.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Individual CBT for anxiety and stress specifically involves identifying your thoughts and actions, and with the help of your therapist, considering alternative. Treatment can be offered in one-to-one sessions or in a group.
If you would like to know more about Guided Self Help or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, please contact us.
How Can I Help Myself?
If you would like to read more about how you can help yourself please click here (link to anxiety booklet)
Useful self help strategies for managing anxiety include:
Exercise: regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, will help you combat stress and release tension. It also encourages your brain to release the chemical serotonin, which can improve your mood. Aim to do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Moderate exercise should make you feel slightly out of breath and tired. Going for a brisk walk is a good example.
Relaxation: as well as getting regular exercise, learning how to relax is important. You may find relaxation and breathing exercises helpful, or you may prefer activities such as yoga or pilates to help you unwind.
Diet: changing your diet may help ease your symptoms. Too much caffeine can make you more anxious than normal. This is because caffeine can disrupt your sleep and also speed up your heartbeat. If you are tired, you are less likely to be able to control your anxious feelings.
Smoking and drinking: smoking and alcohol have been shown to make feelings of anxiety worse. Drink alcohol in moderation and, if you smoke, try to give up. The NHS provides free support to people who would like to stop smoking.
Support groups for anxiety: these are also a good way to meet other people with similar experiences. Support groups often involve face-to-face meetings where you can talk about your difficulties and problems with other people. Many support groups also provide support and guidance over the phone or in writing. Ask your GP about local support groups for anxiety in your area or look up online emotional support services near you.
Acknowledgement of references
Most information taken from www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx