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  • Writer's pictureJan Johnson

Spotlight on Anxiety

Anxiety Demon illustration

ANXIETY – often placed alongside other conditions as if they come as a package. “Stress and anxiety,” “anxiety and depression” – buy one get one free! Joking aside, there are obvious links to other distressing and debilitating conditions, but here I want to break up the double-acts and shine the spotlight on anxiety itself.

normal anxiety transcends into the abnormal when it affects everyday living
What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to a perceived threat. A perfectly normal reaction that most of us will experience when dealing with change or a stressful event. Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing as it can motivate us to assess risk, stay alert and solve problems. However, normal anxiety transcends into the abnormal when it affects your everyday living. When anxiety becomes disproportionate to circumstance, feels harder to control, more intense and continuous, you may seek further support or even medical advice.

Signs of anxiety

Anxiety affects both body and mind causing changes in behaviour such as avoiding triggers and being overly risk-averse. Physical symptoms may include:

  • Poor sleep

  • Feeling shaky

  • Excessive sweating

  • Feeling tired and irritable

  • Nausea and headaches

There are many factors that may contribute to anxiety and everyone will differ in their experience. Difficult past trauma can impact on present emotions. Current, stressful situations such as financial worries, work pressures, bereavement or change are all powerful stimuli for anxiety.

Anxiety can be categorised into different types, the most common being Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). People with GAD worry constantly and unrealistically about wide-ranging everyday situations. Other types include:

  • Social phobia – fear of social situations

  • Health anxiety – worrying about your health and constantly looking for signs of illness

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviour


Self-help for anxiety
regular reflexology treatments will enable greater control over thoughts and feelings

For those seeking help to alleviate anxious feelings, consider a course of reflexology as part of your self-care program. This holistic, natural health therapy can be extremely effective in bringing inner calm to mind and body. The process soothes and relaxes and, over time, with regular treatments, will enable greater control over thoughts and feelings, lift mood, improve sleep and bring about a greater sense of well-being. I find it so rewarding to offer this therapy and witness such improvement in clients’ coping mechanisms as they achieve calmness, and control over their feelings and emotions. Clients who I have supported through issues with anxiety are people from all walks of life and across the age spectrum. It is sobering to know that anxiety can affect any one of us at some point in our lives.

Other ways that may help with anxiety include:

  • Keeping a journal – write down your worries to give respite from carrying them around in your head. Also note down good events and moments of joy. It’s important to notice the positive things in your life too!

  • Stay healthy – eating a nutritional diet, getting enough sleep and keeping active all contribute to better mental health, energy levels and resilience.

  • Talk to someone you trust.

  • Breathing exercises calm the body and help to regain control.

If your symptoms of anxiety are severe – feelings of distress and despair or suicidal thoughts, it is advisable to seek medical help. Phone NHS 111 or for urgent help phone 999.

Anxiety can take many forms and the turbulent times in which we live are laced with pitfalls and multiple threats to our mental well-being. Check in with yourself now and then – “How do I feel?” “Am I coping?”

Be kind to yourself.

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