Occasional anxiety is a normal reaction that everyone experiences in their life. It’s a natural way in which your body works to keep you safe. But people who struggle with anxiety can find the feelings overwhelming.
Anxiety can mess around with your day to day activities and can become difficult to control. There are ways to beat anxiety though. There are various ways to reduce your anxiety and prevent it from affecting your life. And there is support available to help you.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is actually a normal human reaction to fear or threat . We get anxious when we face a stressful situation. Our brain alerts us to something stressful and prepares the body to get away as soon as possible. This is called the fight or flight response, and adrenaline is released and blood is pumped around the body in preparation for us to fight or run away (flight).
Worry is a normal feeling but usually it’s when we face something stressful, like an exam or a difficult conversation with a friend. But struggling with anxiety when we aren’t in a stressful situation can be a problem. It can make everyday tasks like talking to new people or going to busy places more difficult.
What Causes Anxiety?
There are many reasons why someone might develop anxiety. Some people are more likely to get it because of their genes or if there is a history of anxiety in your family. But life experiences can also cause anxiety, like experiencing abuse or losing someone close to you. Your current situation can also cause anxiety. For example, if you are stressed about school, your home life, or if you’re being bullied.
Physical conditions and health problems can make us stressed and worried, which can lead to anxiety. You might have a health condition that makes you anxious. Or maybe you have a mental health condition, which triggers your anxiety.
What you consume can also cause anxiety, like caffeine in coffee or drugs and alcohol. For some people, anxiety is brought on by several causes.
What to do About Anxiety
Constant anxiety can be exhausting, and it can make situations difficult to deal with. We’ve all felt emotionally drained by stressful situations. But there are different ways to treat anxiety and to reduce the impact it has on your life. And there is plenty of support to help you with your recovery.
Talk About Your Worries
If you think that you’re struggling with anxiety, the first step is to talk to your doctor. They will be able to suggest the best type of treatment for your needs. If you feel like you’re worrying too much and it’s impacting your life. Anxiety is sometimes linked to other problems so a chat with your doctor can help to rule this out.
Talking therapies are also helpful in getting to the core of your anxiety. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is particularly useful for anxiety. You and your therapist can work together to understand your thought patterns and find practical ways to help you cope with them.
But it’s also a good idea to chat to people close to you as well, like a friend or a family member. Sharing what is worrying you can often help make the problem feel less overwhelming. And it can be comforting to have the support of people who care about you. It also means that when you struggle with anxiety in the future, you have someone close by who understands what you’re going through.
Try Self-Help Techniques
It is possible to manage your anxiety yourself. You can try mindfulness techniques or meditation. There are apps you can use, like Headspace, that can help you find ways to calm your anxiety and reduce stress.
Breathing techniques are also useful in helping you to calm your body down when you get anxious. If you enjoy being active, you might find that exercises like running or yoga can help too.
Another idea that can be helpful is to create a self-soothe box. You can fill these boxes with things that keep you calm. Some ideas are a fidget cube or a stress ball, photos or items that bring back happy memories, positive mantras and your favourite music. When you are dealing with anxiety, you can then use the items in the box to calm you down and put you in a happier mood.
If your anxiety is very intense and you’re anxious on a regular basis, your doctor might prescribe you medication. This will help manage the symptoms of anxiety and it can be used with other treatments, like talking therapy or mindfulness techniques. Medication shouldn’t be the only way you manage your anxiety though. It is most effective when it’s used with other methods of treatment. So, find what combination works best for you.
There are several organisations and charities that can help young people dealing with anxiety. These resources can offer advice and information, as well as helplines or text services if you need to talk to someone.
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
YoungMinds has a free text support service that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All the texts are answered by a trained volunteer and you can stay anonymous if you want to.
Text: YM to 85258
No Panic aims to help people struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It also offers a specialist line for people aged 13 to 20. It’s open 10am-10pm every day.
Call: 0844 967 4848
Youth Helpline: 0330 606 1174
Childline is available to people under 19. It provides a confidential service where you can call, email or chat online to someone about what’s bothering you. It’s open 9am until midnight every day of the year. There are also online message boards where you can talk to other people in a similar situation to you.
Call: 0800 1111