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This informal CPD article on Anxiety was provided by The T.H.I.N.K. Big Project, an organisation whose aim is to provide a range of products and services that improve communities and services for young people.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is often described as a feeling of fear or panic. When we are faced with stressful situations, it can set off our brain’s alarm bell system to create a safety mechanism. When faced with stressful situations our brain wants to put a stop to the situation that is causing us distress to make us feel safe again. How we do this is dependent on the individual as we all process information differently and deal with things differently.

Types of anxiety

There are different types of anxiety and can be triggered by different experiences. The most common ones are listed below.

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

GAD is a long-term condition that often causes a person to feel anxious about serval situations rather than one specific event. People who have experienced GAD often feel anxious most days and struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. GAD presents itself as when a person resolves one anxious thought, another may appear about a different issue.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder is an intense fear and anxiety over everyday activities, such as shopping or speaking on the phone. Social anxiety disorder means a person worries excessively about social situations before, during and after the situation. The person may be feeling afraid of doing or saying something others may think are embarrassing or humiliating. People that experience social anxiety often overthink what people will do or what they meant or intended to do in a situation.

Panic disorder

A panic disorder is where you have recurring and regular panic attacks. It may start as sweating or shaking, a feeling like your heart is racing or skipping beats or feeling like you’re going to be sick. Panic attacks can be frightening and intense but there is support for people that suffer from panic attacks and it is more common than you realise.

Impact of anxiety

The impact of anxiety will be different depending on the individual. If two people have the same form of anxiety it may not present in the same way for both individuals. Below are some ways of how anxiety may impact a person.

  • Feeling nervous, on edge, or panicky all the time
  • Feeling overwhelmed or full of dread
  • Feeling out of control
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Low appetite
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Feeling tired and grumpy
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Feeling faint
  • Stomach cramps and/or diarrhoea/needing to pee more than usual
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Wobbly legs

Tips to help anxiety

  • Stay active – regular exercise is good for your physical and emotional health
  • Get some sleep – sleep is a vital part of relaxing the mind and recovering from our day
  • Meditate – this can help with easing anxiety and calming the mind
  • Journal – this can help identify triggers or support in avoiding unhelpful situations
  • Maintain a healthy diet – eating the right foods will support with how you feel and support your active lifestyle
  • Read – this will allow you to take time out of your day for yourself. Self-care should be a vital part of our life
  • Ask for help – building a support network is key, whether it is through support lines or family and friends. Being able to speak about how you feel will make you feel better

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from The T.H.I.N.K. Big Project, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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