Most people feel anxious or nervous from time to time, especially when under extra pressure. For example, it is normal to feel nervous before speaking in front of a crowd or when waiting to sit an exam. Moderate anxiety in these situations can help us perform better. However, some people experience anxiety more frequently and intensely in a wide range of situations. This is called Generalised Anxiety.

What are the signs and symptoms of Generalised Anxiety?

  • Generalised Anxiety is driven by excessive worry about a range of things. For example, someone with generalised anxiety may worry about upcoming events, social situations, travelling, relationships, health issues, study or work, etc.
  • Worry can feel uncontrollable. That is, you might want to have a break from worry, but no matter how hard you try to distract yourself or ignore your thoughts, they keep bothering you.
  • Worry occurs frequently and feels quite intense at times. You may even realise that your thoughts are irrational, but continue to feel consumed by them.

How does Generalised Anxiety affect me?

  • Sometimes the worry can become so intense and uncomfortable, that you may find you seek reassurance from others.
  • You may also take extra precautions, to avoid situations from arising or to avoid situations all together. This includes procrastinating and putting off doing things, like housework, study or work-related activities. You may also plan ahead and problem-solve how you are going to handle a worried situation. For example, you might prepare for a potential confrontation with a friend or colleague.
  • Generalised anxiety can affect your sleep. Sometimes you may sleep during the day, to avoid the experience of anxiety or you may find it difficult to fall asleep at night, due to constant rumination. This can leave you feeling exhausted and fatigued.
  • Your ability to concentrate may be affected. For example, you may struggle to focus on study or work. This can also mean you struggle to be ‘in the moment’, taking away from your ability to have fun.
  • Generalised anxiety also affects your mood, making you feel on edge and/or irritable. In more severe Generalised Anxiety, you may also experience depression.

How can I treat my Generalised Anxiety?

There are several well-researched treatments that are effective in treating Generalised Anxiety, including: Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Self-Help, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and medication.

How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?

We are experienced and trained in treating psychological difficulties like Generalised Anxiety. If you are experiencing Generalised Anxiety and would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.

FAQs for Generalised Anxiety

How to manage anxiety?

Everyone will find different things helpful when it comes to managing anxiety, and it’s normal to take some time, or need some professional support in finding the best strategies for you. Start by taking some time away from alcohol and other drugs that can lead to additional mood disturbances, and work on eating well, getting outside once a day, spending more time with healthy relationships, and scheduling in time to do things that you have enjoyed in the past. You might also like to try include journaling or finding another way to explore and express how you are feeling – this might even mean speaking to a trusted friend or family member. Finally, never underestimate the power of breath; try to take some deep breaths into your belly just a few times a day – this helps to communicate to our brains and bodies that we are safe.

What are the causes of Generalised Anxiety?

You might be more likely to develop anxiety if your relatives have also experienced anxiety or other mental illnesses (genetics), if you have been through particularly stressful events across your lifetime (environmental and social factors), or a mixture of all of these things. Anxiety is part of the body’s natural stress and survival response so isn’t always a bad thing, but when it is uncontrollable, extremely intense, and happening too often, it becomes unhelpful.

What are some treatments for Generalised Anxiety?

There are several well-researched treatments that are effective in treating Anxiety, including but not limited to Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Self-Help, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and medication (particularly in conjunction with therapy).