Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease that can sometimes develop into fear or panic.

It’s completely normal for us all to feel anxious from time to time – before a job interview or when we’re being chased for an unpaid bill. It can even be useful in some situations, making us feel more alert to danger.

However, if worry overwhelms you and anxiety prevents you from functioning normally in day-to-day life, you might need some support to help manage it.

If you suffer from anxiety, or Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), you’ll notice lots of different things from the below list.

Symptoms can be different for everyone, but include:

  • You feel restless and irritable
  • You feel tired and struggle to sleep
  • You find it hard to concentrate
  • You sometimes have heart palpitations
  • Your chest feels tight and you sometimes find it difficult to breathe
  • You might have panic attacks 

You can find a longer list of symptoms on the NHS website and NAViGO’S Choice and Medication portal.

Your first port of call may be self-help as it’s the most accessible option. Simply paying attention to your own emotional needs can sometimes ease the effects of anxiety.

Self-help may include:

  • Relaxation and breathing exercises
  • Speaking to someone you can trust
  • Eating healthily
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting your intake of caffeine and sugar
  • Accepting help from others

Talking therapies, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), might help you deal with the symptoms of anxiety. CBT tries to change the way you react to situations by adjusting the way you think and behave with ‘coping skills’.

Sometimes it may be necessary to use medication to lessen your anxiety. You can see a list of medicines we might offer you on our Choice and Medication portal.

If you’re in a mental health crisis and need urgent help, call the Single Point of Access on (01472) 256256 and select option 3. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 free from a landline or mobile phone.

Open Minds offers a range of therapies aimed at helping you to deal with anxiety and should be your first port of call if you’re looking for support. You can self-refer to Open Minds online.

Safespace provides instant support if you’re vulnerable and need assistance with your mental health out-of-hours. You can speak to the team using Zoom or by calling in via telephone, between 5.30pm and 11pm, Monday to Friday.

You could also consider making an appointment with Simply You – our beauty and holistic therapy service. They have a range of treatments that can help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety.

NHS mood self-assessment: This short questionnaire will help you understand how you’re feeling and signpost you to the most appropriate support.

Orcha Apps Library: This library lists thousands of NHS-approved health apps by condition, making it quick and easy for you to find support.

Every Mind Matters: This Public Health England campaign shares hints and tips developed with experts and approved by the NHS.

Anxiety UK: The national charity gives lots of self-help advice and links to courses and groups that may be useful for you.