Anxiety can affect us at any time – and the signs might not always be what you'd expect.
Whether you're about to head into a job interview, having trouble at home or simply feeling stressed out, it's important to be able to recognise signs of anxiety and know how to help your body to control them.
As well as physical effects like irregular breathing, a dry mouth, sweating and that "butterflies in your stomach" feeling, anxiety can also bring on a number of psychological effects too such as lack of concentration, disturbed sleep patterns, constant worrying and loss of appetite.
If you're finding that anxiety is affecting you in your everyday life more than it should, here are a few simple changes that can help to ease it.
Talk it out
It's so important to discuss your feelings with others if you're not feeling yourself. Draw on support networks like friends, family or a trusted co-worker if you feel you need to let off steam. Sharing your problems is one of the key steps to solving them. If you feel you're struggling to cope, don't be afraid to seek professional help from a counsellor or your GP.
Know your body
If you notice the same symptoms of anxiety recurring – you haven't been sleeping well for weeks, or you constantly feel panicked before work, for example – it's important to be mindful of those feelings. It will not only help you in trying to find the root of the problem, but you can also arm yourself with anxiety-reducing tips and techniques.
Breathe, breathe, breathe
Sometimes a few moments to yourself is all that's needed to calm your nerves. One good relaxation technique is to breathe in deeply and let the air hit the tip of your tongue, before breathing out slowly and repeating three times. Others recommend breathing in and out ten times, counting on each exhale, to occupy your mind and calm the nervous system.
Move your body
Even a moderate amount of physical energy each day is vital for clearing your head and de-stressing. A short walk on your lunch break or after work is enough to get you going.
Avoid excessive alcohol
Yes, alcohol might calm you down in the short term, but once it wears off you'll only be left feeling worse and your brain will be less able to cope with your worries (hello, Hangover Fear).