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What is anxiety?

Anxiety is typically described as a feeling of unease. It can be mild or severe and can cause a sense of worry or fear.  

Is it normal to feel anxious?

Yes! It is completely normal. Everyone will experience feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. It might present itself in a variety of situations such as sitting an exam, going for a job interview or having a medical test and/or awaiting results.  

Anxiety can, however, be difficult to control and as a result, it can affect our daily lives, where symptoms are more constant. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be having a huge impact on all of our mental health and some of us will be experiencing more anxiety at this time. Anxiety can also be a symptom of some of the following conditions:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias such as claustrophobia or agoraphobia 
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

Generalised anxiety disorder

GAD is a long-term condition that typically causes anxiety about various situations as opposed to one specific situation. The exact cause is not known, however, several factors may be involved, overactivity in parts of the brain which control emotion and behaviour, an imbalance of the brain chemicals which control and regulate mood, genetic predisposition, history of stressful or traumatic experience, having a painful long-term health condition and/or a history of drug or alcohol misuse. There are however instances when there may be no apparent reason.  

Treatment 

You should seek advice from your GP if your anxiety is affecting your daily life. There are several treatments available, some of which include psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Medication can also help with the imbalance of the brain chemicals which regulate mood. However, as we move through these unprecedented times, more of us will be experiencing varying levels of anxiety, some of us will recognise the symptoms and for some of us, it will be a completely new symptom. It is important to remember that this is completely normal and there are somethings you can do to help yourself, 

  • Exercise regularly
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol or caffeine you drink
  • Self-help courses (some available online)
  • Relaxation and meditation techniques

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Exercise

Regular exercise can help combat stress and relieve tension. Exercise encourages the body to release chemicals such as endorphins or ‘happy chemicals’ as they are often referred to which can help improve mood. Go to our website, www.ejphysio.co.uk to see a full list of exercises classes that you can try remotely at home via the online platform ‘Zoom.’  

Relaxation and meditation

Learning to relax is an invaluable tool. Even in a busy schedule or hectic lifestyle, carving out 5-10 minutes for yourself to practice relaxation techniques can make a significant difference to anxiety levels and well-being. You may wish to try relaxation or breathing techniques or why not try yoga or pilates, both of which are available on our exercise class timetable on our website, www.ejphysio.co.uk 

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Self-help courses

There are several online resources you can access including NHSinform, Mind and Anxiety UK. However, you may just need to make your concerns known and say them aloud to help you process your thoughts and feelings. Why not book a remote consultation with one of our therapists to help you formulate an individual plan? Contact us at reception@ejphysio.co.uk or go to our website for more information, www.ejphysio.co.uk

References

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/mental-health/anxiety#introduction

https://www.mind.org.uk/

https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/

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