Anxiety is our mind and body’s reaction to any situation, stressor, or stimulus that feels uncomfortable, difficult, or stressful. Feeling anxious is a natural response from our body that can help us regulate decision making and sense danger. However, uncontrollable worry and difficulty managing stressors can create anxiety, which is the intense feeling of discomfort that can impact our ability to function as we would like.
Many people wonder if the anxiousness they’re feeling is “normal.” Feeling anxious can be helpful in appropriate amounts and harmful in excess. Common symptoms of anxiety that can be helpful include: worrying about an upcoming presentation/test, feeling nervous about new situations/jobs/relationships, and feeling anxious when we have many things on our to-do list with little time to get it all done. It could also look like worrying about our children, significant other, friends, and family. All of these situations are triggering your body and mind to feel anxious, and it’s not a bad thing. We worry about the people in our lives because we care about them and want the best for them. We feel overwhelmed when we have too much to do and not enough time because it’s a lot to handle. We feel nervous about new situations because it’s unfamiliar.
Just like with most things in life though, too much of something can be problematic, and that goes for anxiety too. Feeling anxiousness to the point that it causes us to not sleep at night, have difficulty managing our thoughts or concentrating, feel on edge, or stop doing things that were once enjoyable can all be signs your body’s anxiety level is too high. At this level of anxiety, the feelings of worry and overwhelm are typically hard to manage and impacting our ability to live as we would like. When we get to this stage, it is essential we find some tools and strategies to use to help us better manage our anxiousness and start to feel more in control of our thoughts and actions.
So, the question is not necessarily “Do I have anxiety” but more “Are my feelings of anxiousness and worry standing in the way of me living my life as I would like?” If the answer to that question is yes, it could be helpful to gain some support in managing those symptoms.