Anxiety and how to manage it

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It’s quite normal to feel anxious in some situations — a job interview or an awkward social event for example. But it can be a problem if anxiety doesn’t go away, or if it’s out-of-proportion to what has happened.   

If anxiety is difficult to control and affects your quality of life, it can be a mental health problem.

Mental symptoms             Physical symptoms
Dread or fearing the worst            Feeling dizzy or light-headed  
Feeling on edge or panicky             Shortness of breath or hyperventilating  
Lack of concentration                Panic attacks 
Feeling irritable                Sleep problems 
Feeling detached              Feeling wobbly or pins-and-needles  
Being unable to relax            Sweating or nausea 
            Heart palpitations (strong, fast heartbeat) 


People with anxiety can pull away from colleagues, friends and family. They often feel they can’t cope with their work or social life.  This tends to make the problem worse.

Anxiety can be caused by genetics, childhood abuse, trauma, drug or alcohol misuse and painful health issues.

Things like work stress, money worries, housing issues, bullying, loneliness and relationship problems can also trigger it.

Managing anxiety

If you already have anxiety, here are a few things that might help you cope better:

  • Make a start on the tasks you’re worried about
  • Talk to friends or family about it
  • Focus on your wellbeing by exercising, improving your sleep or adjusting your diet to make good, healthy changes
  • Try thought exercises or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • If you need urgent help, please call 111
Key sources and further reading

NHS: Anxiety, fear and panic

17 March, 2023