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Understanding Anxiety: What’s Normal, and When to Seek Help

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health issues Australians face. Though anxiety can cripple your ability to manage your life and make even mundane daily events feel impossible to handle, anxiety is also among the most treatable mental health conditions. In many cases, it can even be treated without medication!

If you find yourself waking up with anxiety every day, or so overwhelmed with nervousness that you can’t sleep, please know that you do not have to live this way. Three Seas can help.

Anxiety: What’s Normal, What’s Not?

We live in an increasingly complicated and stressful world. Normal anxiety includes:

  • Brief periods of anxiousness—two weeks or less—surrounding stressful events such as job transitions or money problems.
  • Anxiety before a performance, big meeting, or job interview.
  • Occasional anxiety related to diet, lifestyle, or other choices; for instance, you might feel jittery after drinking a cup of coffee.

Some signs that your anxiety is unhealthy, and may indicate an anxiety disorder include:

  • Constant anxiety, even when you’re unsure of what you are actually anxious about.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Anxiety that causes muscle pain, gastrointestinal problems, or sleeping difficulties.
  • Being unable to do things because they are so intimidating.
  • Feeling like you have no ability to control your anxiety.

When Can Counselling Help?

If you are bothered by your anxiety, there is good news: counselling can help whether you struggle with daily stress or chronic anxiety. If your anxiety has a source, or if you’re simply overwhelmed with stress, your therapist can aid you to set reasonable goals and uncover lifestyle strategies that can help you recover. If you have generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, a phobia, or another form of unhealthy anxiety, your therapist can help you better understand the issue while offering a range of treatment options.

What Other Strategies Are Effective?

Chronic anxiety is unlikely to go away on its own, so if you feel plagued by this unpleasant emotion, you need and deserve professional help. Nevertheless, a number of lifestyle strategies can help you reel in your anxiety, expediting the recovery process and supplementing the work you do in therapy. As part of therapy, or as you wait for a counseling appointment, try some of the following:

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  • Commit to at least eight hours of sleep each night, and go to bed at the same time each evening.
  • Find something to do each day that brings you pleasure, even if it feels silly or meaningless.
  • Reach out to friends and family for help.
  • Join a support group for people with anxiety.
  • Get plenty of exercise, which studies show may be as effective at reducing anxiety as medication.
  • Plan each day and avoid procrastination, since poor time management can lead to chronic anxiety.
  • Ask your partner for help managing household and childcare duties; these roles should be evenly split, rather than just falling to one partner.
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