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Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid, particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a natural response when we perceive that we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.

When you feel anxious, your body goes on high alert looking for possible danger and activating your fight or flight responses. As a result, some common symptoms of anxiety include: nervousness, restlessness, or being tense. feelings of danger, panic, or dread.

Anxiety attacks usually peak within 10 minutes, and they rarely last more than 30 minutes. But during that short time, you may experience terror so severe that you feel as if you're about to die or totally lose control.

Anxiety can be characterized by a variety of symptoms. One of the most common is excessive and intrusive worrying that disrupts daily functioning. Other signs include agitation, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, tense muscles and trouble sleeping.

Common symptoms are:

• Panic, fear, and uneasiness

• Feelings of panic, doom, or danger

• Sleep problems

• Not being able to stay calm and still

• Cold, sweaty, numb, or tingling hands or feet

• Shortness of breath

• Breathing faster and more quickly

• Heart palpitations

• Dry mouth

• Nausea

• Tense muscles

• Dizziness

• Thinking about a problem over and over again and unable to stop

• Inability to concentrate

• Intensely or obsessively avoiding feared objects or places

Anxiety can become a mental health problem if it impacts on your ability to live your life as fully

as you want to. For example, it may be a problem for you if:

• your feelings of anxiety are very strong or last for a long time

• your fears or worries are out of proportion to the situation

• you avoid situations that might cause you to feel anxious

• your worries feel very distressing or are hard to control

• you regularly experience symptoms of anxiety, which could include panic attacks

• you find it hard to go about your everyday life or do things you enjoy.

It's important to recognise that Anxiety is a normal emotion. It’s your brain’s way of reacting to stress and alerting you of potential danger ahead but when it becomes excessive it may be time to seek ways of helping you to manage it so you can enjoy life. Counselling is one of the options and helps you to learn how your emotions affect your behaviours. As a trained mental health specialist I will listen and talk to you about your thoughts and feelings and help you to find ways to understand and manage them and your anxiety so that you can begin to enjoy life again.

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