What is Anxiety?

October is international mental health month and HO3 wants to help you understand what anxiety is and how you can deal with it. In order to understand what to do if someone is having a panic attack, we need to start from the beginning, and the beginning is anxiety.

You may have heard the word ‘anxiety’ on the show before or you’ve heard it at school, but do you know what it is? Anxiety can be a thought or a feeling that could be very scary but it’s normal. In fact, feeling anxious can be good! It keeps you alert and can even be useful in some situations.

The human instinct to survive is one of the most powerful drives in life. This is called the flight or fight instinct. Imagine you’re walking through the jungle and a tiger jumps out at you. Your life is in danger so you need to run. When you see something scary, you tell your brains that something bad is about to happen. These changes can help save your lives when a tiger is chasing you in the jungle, as they help you to react quickly and run away.

Our brains then send instructions to our bodies to make sure that it reacts properly in the situation, which would be to run away. Because our bodies were anxious, our brains knew what to do to remove ourselves from a dangerous situation. Maybe you’re seeing ‘tigers’ in many areas of your life. Do you feel nervous about going to school, being in big public spaces, going to
birthday parties?

Sometimes you may find yourself asking ‘what if’ questions or even having ‘bad thoughts’ such as ‘if i don’t do this what will happen?’ Anxiety can also show itself physically. This is when you start to
feel physically ill. Maybe your head is spinning, your hands are sweating, it feels as though your heart is about to beat out of your chest. Maybe you get these feelings at night and that means that you struggle to sleep.

Thoughts are one of the first ways that anxiety shows itself, which is why it is so important to take note of how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking about. This will help you deal with your anxiety.
Having anxiety or feeling anxious doesn’t feel good, which is why it is so important to verbalise how you’re feeling squad members! Find someone that you feel comfortable enough and trust to speak to and explain why you’re feeling the way that you are. If you find yourself feeling anxious, drink a glass of cold water, find a quiet space, breathe in and out and create a safe space for yourself.

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