Living with anxiety

We all feel anxious from time to time, it is a normal emotion that everybody can experience and is the natural response to the uncertain world around us. Sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem.

What can cause anxiety?

There are lots of things that can lead to feelings of anxiety including exam pressures, relationships, starting or leaving a job or other big life events. We can also get anxious at everyday needs such as money worries, especially with the current cost of living crisis where people are struggling to meet their basic needs such as heating the home or buying food. It is known that more than a third of adults feel anxious about their financial situation.

Is it important that we recognize when we are anxious and develop responses so that it does not become overwhelming.

Although an emotion, anxiety can affect us both physically and mentally. If you feel anxious you may notice your heart rate increases, headaches, loss of appetite, breathlessness or chest pain. Anxiety can make you feel tense or nervous, find it hard to relax, feel tearful or have issues sleeping and concentrating. Other people, such as friends and family may notice that you are more irritable than usual or more withdrawn. Or you may appear fine on the outside but feel panicky inside.

What can we do to manage anxiety?

There are things that we can do to protect our mental health and manage anxiety. What works will be different for each individual. Things that can be helpful for those experiencing anxiety include being active, getting out in nature, practicing breathing techniques, getting support to tackle money issues or eating well. Talking to a friend or spending time with loved ones can often be a good first step.

Taking action in order to address the causes of anxiety is one of the biggest steps to take to overcome anxiety. This could be contacting a money advisor, discussing workplace stress with your employer, or seeking support if you are experiencing bullying, harassment or discrimination.

If anxiety does get to the point that it is severely affecting your everyday life then contacting your GP can help, they can offer additional support and help.

No one should struggle alone with anxiety.

We cannot overcome anxiety on our own. The causes that trigger anxiety are often not in our control and complex with financial worries, social isolation, social pressures and discrimination can all play a part.

Due to this and the increase in individuals feeling anxious it is felt by many that local and national politicians should be looking at measures to help people such as income support, the provision of good quality housing, strong legislation around bullying, harassment and discrimination.

It should also be ensured that communities are equipped with the services and facilities needed to live well and help protect everyone’s mental health.

If you are struggling it is important to seek help, the hardest step is the first one, but it is worth it. There are number of treatments are available including talking therapies, medication and lifestyle changes.

We at Moonrise wanted to raise awareness of this top topic, particularly this week since it is Mental Health Awareness Week, aimed at highlighting mental health and the issues that many people are struggling with. For more information go to: Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 | Mental Health Foundation.

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