Worry or anxiety?

How do you know what is worry or anxiety, and when it is a problem?

Worry or anxiety?
Image credit: Shutterstock

Everyone worries and has anxious feelings at some time in their life. How do you know what is worry or anxiety, and when it is a problem? And how do you learn how to manage anxieties in order to prevent them from affecting your day-to-day life?

New website Anxiety: think, learn, do - developed by leading women’s health organisation, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health - is an innovative resource aimed at preventing common mental health problems in women. The website helps women to learn about anxiety, encourages them to think about the things that worry them and make them anxious, and offers practical ways to manage and live with anxiety.

It includes self-assessment and self-management tools, videos with experts, as well as personal podcast stories. The website covers stages of life including young, midlife and older age, as well as particular conditions such as fertility, pregnancy & beyond and chronic illness. Using simple questions, the tool guides women through the stages of anxiety to help them work out if what they are feeling is worry, anxiety or an anxiety disorder.

When you are worried you usually feel troubled or concerned about something.

Worry generally doesn’t last too long and it doesn’t cause fear.

When you are anxious you usually experience nervousness or fear that something bad is about to happen.  You experience physical symptoms such as faster breathing, sweaty palms or racing heart but you can usually get on with doing daily tasks and the symptoms calm down.

Anxiety that causes constant physical symptoms, intense fear, distress and affects your day-to-day living, is more likely to be an anxiety disorder. One in three women and one in five men will experience an anxiety disorder over their life-time.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

  • Excessive worry that is difficult to control
  • Increased heart beat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Feeling irritable, restless
  • Fatigue, difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • A specific fear of something, e.g. spiders
  • Avoidance
  • Feeling like you are losing control or need to escape
     

Causes of worry and anxiety and how you can help

Since time began, to ensure our survival, humans were programmed to feel anxiety to fight against threats (the fight response) or to run away from them (the flight response). This is why you get a racing heart and the blood moves to your muscles to prepare for action. The trouble is, the causes of anxiety are now not necessarily real threats to our life.

Understanding what causes you worry and anxiety and then working out ways to help yourself is a great first step.

Remember...

The most important thing is to face the very things that are causing you to be distressed and know that a certain level of anxiety is part of life.  Avoiding situations in case something bad might happen makes you feel better in the short term, but makes anxiety worse in the long term.

If you are in need of urgent psychological help and need to talk to someone straightaway please call Lifeline on 131 114 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

For more information on anxiety across the whole of women’s lives visit anxiety.jeanhailes.org.au

Published with the permission of Jean Hailes for Women's Health

jeanhailes.org.au

1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642)





    COMMENTS

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    Nightshade
    6th Feb 2014
    4:06pm
    I have 2 huge trees in my back yard.
    The guy who sold them to stupid old me - several years ago said they would only grow 3-4 meters tops.
    Like the idiot that I am I believed him.
    $400 each to cut down in today's world.
    For no good reason - some mornings I wake up & have an anxiety attack over the trees - I am overwhelmed by the fear that they will fall on someone.
    I say to the fear that has manifest, for no reason "don't be stupid - piss off idiot" & it passes.
    go figure what it is that comes over me.
    I am beginning to think that electromagnetic or some such forces in the atmosphere are responsible for emotional changes ...
    Solar activity & when it is stronger is said to cause the population of earth to become more aggressive ?
    I need to do some heavy duty science reading to find out ...
    buby
    7th Feb 2014
    2:15pm
    perhaps if you take some much needed magnesium also might help. but just have a good check up at the doctors, let them have some of your blood and see if anything is missing.
    I for one was having problems with sleep, and was craving choci all the time. I thought what the hecks going on. but i started taking magnesium, or magnesium with calcium. Now me nails are growing better i'm sleeping better and i'm not craving. so for each of us it be something different. I also spoke to a good natropath, which has been beneficial. Hormones if unbalance will give you the feeling of instability also. So think about it. But i have to say, OUr foods are not longer stable, Much is Genetically Modified and will not give you what your body needs. Sometimes its a job in itself i have found as i get older. but i certainly feel better these days gl nightshade
    Polly Esther
    10th Feb 2014
    4:35pm
    Yes I worry. I always worry about finding something worth worrying about. I worry a lot worrying about whether I am worrying enough about what I worry about. I find it all a bit of a worry really.


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