What is normal anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, or apprehension. Everyone experiences anxiety. It’s typical for people to feel anxious if they are in a dangerous situation, or before certain events such as public speaking, or an interview. Anxiety can help keep us safe and improve motivation and preparation.

What is an anxiety disorder?

Anxiety that is persistent, seems uncontrollable, and overwhelming may be an anxiety disorder such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, etc. Anxiety affects our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions. It becomes problematic when daily living activities (ie. working, self-care, socializing etc.) are negatively impacted.

What are the warning signs of an anxiety problem?

  • Is anxiety limiting your involvement in life?
  • Are you avoiding everyday situations?
  • Do you feel worried or tense most of the time?
  • Do you feel your heart racing, tightness of chest, shortness of breath, butterflies in your stomach, dizziness, or fatigue?
  • Do you often think “I can’t do this,” “I can’t breathe,” “I’m going to die,” or “I’m trapped” etc?
  • Do you feel fearful, on edge, uneasy, like you’re losing control.

These are warning signs that you may be experiencing anxiety.

What can I do about my anxiety?

  • Talk to a family member or a friend you can trust.
  • Talk to a counsellor.
  • Talk to a doctor.
  • Attend a local peer support group.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Find ways to relax (deep breathing, visualization, etc.).
  • Be mindful.
  • Meditate.
  • Journal.
  • Do something you enjoy.
  • Reduce caffeine and/or alcohol intake.
  • Improve time management skills.

Have you tried learning cognitive behavioural therapy techniques?

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a process by which we learn to challenge our thoughts and change unwanted behaviour. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected; they influence each other.

Here’s an example of challenging your thoughts: Scenario:

Job Interview Thought-> “I’m terrible at interviews. I’m not going to get the job.” Feeling -> Anxious, scared, nervous, butterflies in stomach, racing heart Action -> Cancel interview.

A more positive way to think might be: Thought -> “I’ll do okay. I’ve prepared a lot for this interview and I’ve gotten jobs in the past.” Feeling -> More relaxed and confident. Action -> Complete the interview.

Services related to this information:

  • Bridge the gApp
    Newfoundland and Labrador’s ‘go-to’ website for mental health information. Bridge the gApp offers self-help resources, links to local services, and invites people to share their personal stories. Bridge the gApp is free of cost and available to every resident in the province. The site is divided into adult and youth sections, however many services are appropriate for both.
  • Mental Health Crisis Line – 709-737-4668 / 1-888-737-4668
    A free, confidential service for individuals, family and friends. The crisis line is province-wide, 24 hours a day.
  • 811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555
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Last updated: 2019-08-14