Anxiety is actually a normal human emotion and a reaction to stress.

We need anxiety.
On a good day, it can be good for us. It is designed to alert us to the potential of overloading the system that is our human frame.  Daily stress is a part of life but too much stress leads to worry and worry to anxiety.

Anxiety is basically fear.
It’s an awareness of worries around things that might happen in the future. Our minds are prone to playing with potential outcomes, the “what ifs” of life. Then our bodies soon kick in and we hold the anxiety in our bodies as well as our heads. We suddenly experience the worries and the pressures as nervousness, restlessness, fatigue, sleeplessness, shortness of breath and tension. Normally, after a while things sort out, we move on and we are back to normal. But sometimes we don’t move on. We can’t move on, we get stuck in a spiral of negative thinking. It seems unending and there is no way out.


Something quite simple can trigger your anxiety. Your response to anxiety will depend on what stresses you are already dealing with and what state of mind you are in. Take for example that extra bill that comes in when the car breaks down. If your finances are reasonably healthy your response will be quite different to the day it arrives, at the end of the month along with five other unpaid bills and an already overloaded credit card.

Triggers to anxiety can also be about concerns can lie in poor health or sickness, tiredness, sadness, family concerns and pressures, concerns for the future of your employment or success in life, exams and other things that are about your mental, physical and spiritual survival, your relationships, or future prospects.                         

What can you do?

Anxiety is very much about the future. In our worries about the what might be we tend to lose touch with the present moment. Being healthy in the present helps us deal with those pressures. The tendency of course is to say that we have no time in the present to look after ourselves, there is too much to worry about. And therein lies the problem. Catch 22!  The first step in responding to anxiety is break the cycle and start to look after yourself.

  1. Get enough sleep. Quality sleep is a great healer and finding a way to break the sleeplessness cycle is important. We usually can’t sleep because of the myriad of thoughts that fill our heads. Finding a way to sleep peacefully can be a challenge. Put the computer/ phone/TV away early. Stay clear of stimulants of any sort and get organised so that you can find a relaxing space if only a few minutes before sleeping.
  2. Healthy diet. Eat well and check your diet is well balanced and not overloaded with carbs or sugars.
  3. Some daily exercise will help if it’s only a walk around the block.
  4. Some quality “me” time so that you feel important, A coffee with a friend or connection with someone who does you good.

It is really important that you don’t cut yourself off from people. Community is important to good health. We are relational beings and our mental health needs feeding by good relationships. Talk to someone who will listen and be there for you.

If none of this works then do see your doctor or seek advice from a dependable objective listening ear or/ and find a counsellor.

I regularly see people who have not been able to find solutions at home and need someone to talk to. I am trained to listen and most importantly can be there solely for you. You can find the space you need, away from the noise of your life, to consider your life and start to work out some solutions. I can support you in this search.

I won’t give you the answers because I can’t live your life for you but I can be a support and a special place for you.  It might be that you will need to chat to your doctor for help at the same time. There is no shame in asking for help to sleep or a break from the bleakness of anxiety while we work things out together by talking. And hopefully you will soon be back in the swing of things and able to deal with life’s messiness.

Carolyn Powell