Coping With Anxiety

Coping With Anxiety

by Grace Anaja

Anxiety is an emotion that affects every individual. It is a common and natural emotion characterised by feelings of tension and worry, but it can also result in physical symptoms such as feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure, restlessness, uncontrollable feelings of worry, increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleep difficulties.

The first step to coping with and overcoming anxiety is understanding what it is. These are some of the things you can do to manage anxiety and protect your mental health:

  • Focus on your breathing
  • Exercise
  • Keep a diary or journal
  • Challenge negative thoughts
  • Get support for money worries
  • Spend time in nature
  • Connect with people and talk about how you feel
  • Try to get some quality sleep or rest
  • Try to eat a healthy diet

Just like adults, children and young people feel worried and anxious at times. Children can feel anxious about different things at different ages which is a normal part of growing up. For instance, for children who are about 6 months to 3 years old, it is very common for them to have separation anxiety. They may become clingy and cry when separated from their parents or carers. This is a normal stage in a child’s development and should stop at around age 2 to 3.

It is also common for preschool-age or kindergarten children to develop specific fears or phobias. Common fears in early childhood include animals, insects, storms, heights, water, blood and the dark. These fears usually go away on their own. There may also be other times in a child’s life when they feel anxious. For example, many children feel anxious when going to a new school or before tests and exams. Some children feel shy in social situations and may need support with this.

One of the first things to do to help an anxious child is to talk to the child about their feelings or worries. Teach the child on recognising the signs of anxiety and managing it. Anxiety becomes a problem for children when it starts to get in the way of their everyday life. Severe anxiety can harm children’s mental and emotional well-being, affecting their self-esteem and confidence. In such cases, get help and medical advice or treatment.

Unlike anxiety, anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and several effective treatments are available.

Myths exist about certain anxiety disorders, one of which is social anxiety. It is believed that social anxiety is the same as being shy. However, social anxiety and being shy are not the same. Shyness is a characteristic of a person’s personality, while social anxiety is an anxiety disorder. Social anxiety is characterised by a persistent dread of social interactions or excessive worry about fitting in with other people. People with social anxiety often avoid social settings or suffer intense anxiety or panic before them.

Although the two conditions are not the same, shy people may be more likely to feel social anxiety. Shyness is not marked by excessive fear or panic in social settings, but shy people may find seclusion comforting.

With anxiety disorders, it is important to understand the signs, symptoms and treatment options available.

Mental health is essential to achieving good health and well-being but it is often neglected. One must take care of oneself to have the strength needed to care for and support others. Not taking care of your mental health can lead to anxiety, burnout and depression. Decide to actively and deliberately prioritise your mental health as much as your physical health.