Anxiety ….is it your Friend or Foe?

Examining Anxiety - Free online GAD-7 Generalised Anxiety Test

As we continue to navigate an uncertain world, our mental wellbeing is constantly being tested, which has led to levels of anxiety increasing around the world. In the UK, anxiety is among the most common mental health disorders.

Research also shows that employee anxiety is a challenge for organisations as well, with anxiety accounting for a significant percentage of all work-related ill health cases.

With anxiety becoming part of our daily conversations, understanding how it impacts us and knowing that it can be both friend and foe is important.

Anxiety as a FRIEND:

  • It is our flight or fight mechanism.
  • Our internal warning signal.
  • Raises our level of alertness to a situation.
  • Makes us aware of risks.
  • Motivates and energises us.
  • Inspires us to think clearly and logically.
  • It can help us feel prepared when we face challenges.
  • Improves our performance.
  • Enables you to be more empathetic with others.

Anxiety is a natural human emotion –  our body’s alarm system.

It occurs in response to situations where we may be in danger and anticipate that something unpleasant may happen.

It puts us on our front foot. For example if you have an important presentation your raised anxiety will ensure you are focused on being prepared, giving  yourself time to get there, double check your slides and ensure your laptop is compatible with the projector.

Anxiety as a FOE

  • When it overwhelms us.
  • Takes us from our stretch to our panic zone.
  • Overtakes our mind making it hard to think straight.
  • Causes us to catastrophise.
  • Pulls our mind into a negative place.
  • Creates a strong physiological response such as high heart and breathing rate, sweating, shaking, feeling sick.
  • Paralyses us with a fear of uncertainty.
  • Ongoing anxiety can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health.

It is when our anxiety overwhelms us that is becomes our foe. We feel out of control, unable to think straight, overwhelmed by uncertainty, focusing on the negatives and our inner voice reinforcing our anxious emotions.

Managing  your own Anxiety

  • How do you know when you’re feeling anxious? What is your first symptom?
  • Once you have acknowledged this, it is time to explore strategies you can use to stop the anxiety developing.
  • Know what triggers your anxiety so you can reduce your exposure to them.
  • Explore strategies that will enable you body and mind to feel calm.
  • Deep breathing, meditation and yoga can quickly calm your mind, especially if you use visualisation techniques
  • Distraction techniques will pull your mind away from anxious thoughts – talk to a friend, listen to your favourite playlist, plan your next holiday whatever it is that will immerse you in something that makes you feel good.
  • Immerse yourself in an activity that puts you in the flow – such as playing a sport, a musical instrument or some other absorbing hobby.
  • Focus on helping others and going out of your way to be kind.
  • Surround yourself with people who help you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Manage that inner voice that catastrophises and draws your focus onto those things that build your anxiety.  You can’t eliminate this voice but you can manage it.
  • Be mindful, keep yourself in the present and focus and enjoy what you have in that moment rather than vexing about what has just happened or could be about to happen.

Take a moment to reflect on your anxiety does it serve you well or hold you back?

If you would like to manage your anxiety so it serves you well rather holding you back and impacting on your performance we are here to help and happy to talk.

Be assured you are not alone and you can overcome it with the right tool kit of coping strategies.