Recognize Anxiety in Yourself and Others

You suddenly notice an increase in heart-rate and breathing, your palms get sweaty, and you can’t shake that queasy feeling at the pit of your stomach. You brain has detected a threat and is alerting you to it: you are experiencing anxiety. 


Anxiety is important for our survival. It grabs our attention and lets us know that there is potential harm waiting. However, this alarm system can become overly sensitive, causing us to feel too anxious too much of the time. Dysfunctional anxiety can negatively affect our sleep, relationships, leisure time, work, and even our outlook on the future.  Dysfunctional anxiety can express itself in:

    Excessive worry about the past or future      Thoughts returning to specific issues over and over again without finding solutions     Feeling more emotional: frustrated, irritable, tearful, withdrawn, stressed, overwhelmed     Difficulties concentrating on daily tasks     Difficulties breathing, fast heart-rate, dizziness     Loss of appetite or increased emotional eating     Greater fatigue than usual     High levels of physical restlessness or difficulties sleeping     Tense muscles, headaches, or stomach issues

Have you noticed any of these symptoms in your life? If you want to assess your anxiety levels, take our 3-minute free Anxiety Quiz.


Anxiety may creep in slowly under prolonged stress and we like to believe that our anxiety would go away if only our circumstances changed. Yet this view fosters a sense of helplessness and sadly, when things around us improve, anxiety often finds something new for us to worry about. Thus, the cycle continues and worsens. 


Research has shown that we do not simply have to surrender to our anxiety and hope for better days. Therapy can help us to assess our anxiety, identify our triggers, and address their underlying causes one by one. This lets us take back control and transform our anxiety into power. In the meantime, check out this 7-minute breathing exercise to help your body calm down quickly during acute stress and anxiety.


To explore your anxiety further, get in touch on e.terrighena@mind-balance.org.

Dr Esslin Terrighena - Psychologist in Hong Kong

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