Anxiety can feel like worry, fear, and nervousness wrapped into one and we may tell ourselves that in a given situation there will be catastrophe. We might not believe in our capability to manage the situation effectively, and therefore avoid those kinds of situations or uncomfortable feelings in the future.
For example, we may dread going to work because we are fearful of being fired, getting in trouble, or how our co-workers or supervisors perceive us and our work ethic. To cope with those anxious feelings, we may avoid going to work by taking sick days or avoid interacting with our colleagues.
Anxiety is different from stress in that it is fueled by fear-based thoughts where the mind believes there is a threat present. Anxiety wants to protect you and means well; however, it can be disabling when it makes you avoid daily tasks, spends more time trying to predict the future, or prevents you from doing activities you once enjoyed. It also creates self doubt, indecisiveness, and ruminating thoughts.
Physical symptoms of anxiety can include stomach aches and headaches, trouble sleeping or eating, feelings of panic, difficulty with concentration and memory, irritability, and/or low energy and motivation.
There are different types of anxiety disorders and the signs and symptoms are individualized based on a person’s life experiences.
If you or someone you know may be experiencing anxiety that is interfering with your daily life, I encourage you to seek out support from a psychologist or your family doctor.