Shows Anxiety

How To Recognise and Recover from Anxiety.

22. Jun 2021
Author Hanna Solman

Written by:

Hanna Solman

Psychology, Clinical Psychology & Mental Health BSc (Hons) Royal Holloway University, College of London.

What is anxiety? Anxiety is a normal experience that is caused by your brain’s natural response to danger. It happens to everyone and can be triggered when we feel under pressure. For example, many people feel anxious before an important interview, first date, or speech.

In many ways anxiety is a useful experience that helps us to perform. But if you are feeling anxious all the time it can be very overwhelming and it might start to affect your relationships and day to day life. This is when anxiety stops being helpful and starts to become a disorder.

What Does Anxiety Feel Like?

Because anxiety is caused by your brains ‘fight-or-flight’ response, it can give people physical as well as psychological symptoms.
The psychological symptoms can be:

  • Feeling very worried or tense
  • Expecting the worst outcome
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling very irritable
  • Feeling like your mind is blank

The physical symptoms can be:

  • Finding it hard to breath
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia and restlessness
  • Your heart beating quickly
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle tension or shakes
  • Headaches or stomach sickness
  • Dry mouth

Anxiety is a normal and important psychological phenomenon but if you feel like you have some of these symptoms too often, then you may suffer from abnormal levels of anxiety.

Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder?

Below are 7 questions that can help you determine whether or not you have an anxiety disorder. Alternatively, you can complete our anxiety test here.

  1. Do you constantly feel like something bad is going to happen?
  2. Do you find yourself avoiding places or activities because they make you nervous?
  3. Do feelings of anxiety get in the way of your education, occupation or relationships?
  4. Do you ever suddenly panic and feel your heart pounding?
  5. Do you have any fears you can’t get over, even though you know they are irrational?
  6. Do you believe something bad will happen if something isn’t done in a specific way?
  7. Do you ever feel like you are reliving a past experience that makes you very anxious?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may have an anxiety disorder, but know that you are not alone. Research suggests that up to 29.8% of individuals globally may suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime. Further, recent studies on the psychological impact of Covid-19 suggests that this figure might now be even higher.

What are Panic / Anxiety Attacks?

Anxiety / Panic attacks can happen when we are overwhelmed by our anxiety, and are often a regular feature of certain anxiety disorders. The attacks are characterised by an intense feeling of panic or fear that lasts on average around 10 minutes. Sometimes they have a clear cause or ‘trigger’ like being reminded of a traumatic event. Other times they seem to occur at random. Some people describe their attacks as relatively mild while others have reported confusing them for heart attacks because they were so fearful of dying. Because people experience attacks so differently, hey can be hard to recognise, but here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for:

  • An intense feeling of panic or terror
  • Feeling as though you are losing control
  • Heart palpitations or chest pains
  • Feeling dizzy or like you might faint
  • Hyperventilating or feeling short of breath
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Feeling like you might be sick
  • Shaking or sweating
  • Feeling detached from reality

If you have experienced an attack and you find yourself avoiding situations that might trigger another, it is important you reach out for help. Panic attacks are highly treatable. In fact many individuals report being panic attack free after just 5 to 8 treatment sessions.

How Can I Help Myself?

Anxiety is something that a lot of people struggle with, whether or not they have a disorder. We often feel nervous and stressed if we are working a pressurised job or living an unbalanced lifestyle. Regaining control can be hard. Here are some things that you can do to reduce your anxiety or manage the symptoms of an anxiety disorder:

  • Reaching out. Talking about your worries out loud to someone else can often make them seem more manageable and isolation can make them worse. So try to regularly meet up with friends and family or join a local self-help/support group. If none of these are accessible to you, you may benefit from calling a self-help line like the samaritans.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is an effective anti-anxiety treatment that relieves tension and boosts energy. It is recommended that people strive to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day if they can. Activities that are rhythmic like running or swimming have been found to be most effective.
  • Reduce your caffeine, alcohol and nicotine intake. Caffeine and alcohol both increase the effects of anxiety. Even though smoking might feel relaxing, nicotine is a stimulant and will also heighten symptoms of anxiety.
  • Get more sleep. Not sleeping enough increases the effects of anxiety, so try to build up a regular sleeping pattern and routine.
  • Mindfulness Meditations.. Mindfulness meditations are a powerful relaxation technique that has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety. By engaging in these meditations you force yourself to take a break and sit still, but perhaps more importantly the practice itself teaches individuals to observe their own thoughts without judgement. This can help you to identify any negative thought patterns that might be contributing to your anxiety.
  • Manage your worries. It can be helpful to directly address your worries, so that you don’t feel the need to think about them all the time. Sometimes it helps to choose a specific time to actively think about your concerns, so that you know you have considered them. Other people find that writing their worries down and keeping them in a specific notebook or box can also be helpful.

Do I need professional help?

Self-helping strategies can be very helpful, but if you are finding that your anxiety is disrupting your personal or professional life, then you might benefit from professional help.

If you experience many of the aforementioned physical symptoms you might want to see a doctor for a medical check up first. This means that your doctor can rule out any underlying causes such as asthma. They can also inform if any medications or herbal remedies might be the culprit in your condition.

The next step is to find a therapist or psychologist that suits you. The most frequently used therapies for anxiety disorders are CBT (cognitive-behavioural therapy), exposure therapy and applied relaxation therapy, but there are a host of others that might suit you and your lifestyle better.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will help you identify and change the irrational beliefs and negative thought patterns that cause your anxiety.

Exposure Therapy will help you gradually face any phobias or fears you have in a safe and controlled environment, so that your anxiety reduces over time.

Applied Relaxation Therapy teaches you how to relax your muscles in situations that normally cause you anxiety.

Medication can be prescribed to help manage anxiety. However, anti-anxiety medication is sometimes addictive and can have side-effects that are unwanted. Often self-help and therapy is equally, if not more, effective than medication. Therefore, you should always speak to a medical professional and consider the benefits and risks of taking medication carefully .

Anxiety responds very well to therapy, but finding the right professional can be time consuming and difficult, especially when you’re anxious. That is why healper aims to match you with a professional that suits you and your needs straightaway. Complete our five minute questionnaire and let us help you find a good psychologist, completely free.

Helplines & Support

There are several ways to find support no matter where you are.

First, you can in Denmark visit your municipalities website to see concrete offers of support for anxiety disorders.

If you are looking for a psychologist, please visit, answer their questionnaire, and find the psychologist who fits your mental health needs. It takes five minuttes, it is free, and it is completely anonymous.

Anxiety disorders can influence individuals to consider suicide. Hvis du har mistanke om, at du eller en af dine nærmeste kunne finde på at begå selvmord, skal du ringe til Livslinien – 70 201 201 alle dage på året fra kl. 11-05. If you suspect that you or a loved one is feeling suicidal call one of these numbers in Denmark and the UK respectively: Danish Suicide Hotline: +45 70 20 12 01 // British samaritans: 116 123 or Shout Crisis Text Line – Text “SHOUT” to 85258.

If you are considering taking your own life right now, call 112 immediately, if you are in Denmark, or the relevant emergency hotline of the country you are currently in.


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Want to know more?

Many Danes experience one or more symptoms of Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD), sometimes called hypersexuality, hypersexuality disorder or sexual addiction. This disorder can include behaviours such as compulsive masturbation, cybersex addiction, erotomania, excessive sexual drive, problematic hyper-sexuality, sexual addiction, sexual compulsivity, and out of control sexual behaviour. Take this test called PATHOS, from the Greek word for “suffering”, and find out if you have symptoms of CSBD. 

What is anxiety? Anxiety is a normal experience that is caused by your brain’s natural response to danger. It happens to everyone and can be triggered when we feel under pressure. For example, many people feel anxious before an important interview, first date, or speech.

In many ways anxiety is a useful experience that helps us to perform. But if you are feeling anxious all the time it can be very overwhelming and it might start to affect your relationships and day to day life. This is when anxiety stops being helpful and starts to become a disorder.