Anxiety is a normal and, in fact, helpful emotion. Everyone experiences it sometimes. At the right level anxiety can help you to focus and perform well. But it can become a problem if it persists beyond its usefulness in a situation.

Remember the following points about anxiety:

  • Anxiety is a normal process that everyone experiences, but it can cause problems when it persists or becomes excessive.

  • Anxiety causes body sensations such as faster breath, an increase in heart rate, sweating, and feelings of dizziness, among many others. Bodily sensations caused by anxiety can’t harm you.

  • Anxiety can lead to you overestimating the risk of danger and underestimating your ability to cope.

  • Things that you might do because you think they keep you safe (safety behaviours) sometimes make your anxiety worse.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy can help reduce your anxiety by helping you re-evaluate your thoughts and changing your behaviour.

In its most troublesome forms, anxiety can lead to:

  • A debilitating fear of or desire to avoid some specific object or event that doesn’t pose a significant danger to you.

  • Regular but unpredictable panic attacks where you experience palpitations, sweating, trembling, dizziness and feelings of losing control.

  • Chronic, distressing and uncontrollable bouts of worrying.

  • Regular intrusive or obsessive thoughts that you find disturbing.

  • Compulsive or ritualistic behaviours that you believe are necessary to prevent you from feeling anxious or to help you avoid bad things happening.