Anxiety is a normal part of life and everybody feels it from time to time. However, when anxiety gets overwhelming and doesn't go away, it can be difficult to know how to manage it. By understanding what triggers your anxiety, you can develop strategies to cope.
Understand your anxiety triggers
- stressful events in your life
- family history — you are more likely to develop anxiety if you have a family history of anxiety
- patterns of thinking — unhelpful thoughts or habits in the way you think might contribute to anxious feelings
- your physical health — if you suffer from other health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure, it can make you more vulnerable to anxiety
- drug and alcohol use
- other mental health conditions, such as depression
Sometimes physical conditions such as an overactive thyroid gland can mimic anxiety, so if you regularly suffer from the symptoms of anxiety, it’s best to see a doctor and have this assessed.
Tips for reducing anxiety
If you are feeling anxious or stressed, there are some strategies you can use to help manage anxiety yourself. These include:
- making sure you exercise regularly and take time for yourself
- relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness and meditation
- limiting how much alcohol, cigarettes and drugs you use
- distraction techniques, such as counting backwards from 10
- slowly taking deep breaths in and out — ReachOut.com has a mobile app, Breathe, that can guide you through this
- learning how to change your ‘self talk’ or inner thought patterns by seeing a mental health professional
Know your sources of support
If you are experiencing anxiety, it can help to talk to family and friends about how you are feeling. They can offer support, understanding, or just listen to you.
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Last reviewed: May 2020