What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural response to stress. It helps activate our body to respond to perceived physical, social, or emotional danger. This is called the flight, fight, or freeze response. Anxiety can help keep us and our loved ones motivated, safe, and healthy.
Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by anxiety. We might experience unhelpful anxiety or find it hard to tell between real danger and perceived danger. Many things can help.
Symptoms of anxiety may include:
- Physical feeling of unease (butterflies, sweating, racing heart, breathlessness, achy)
- Difficulty sleeping, restlessness, and/or fatigue
- Fear, panic, nervousness, tension, irritability
- Worry, having a hard time focusing or stopping anxious thoughts.
If anxiety is causing distress, doesn't match the situation, is disrupting normal activities, and/or continues for a long time, it's a good signal to seek professional support.
What can you do to help manage symptoms of anxiety?
1. Breathing techniques, distraction, or relaxation exercises.
You can search online, download an app, or call 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389) and one of our team can walk you through one of these.
2. Learn and reconnect with positive coping strategies. What has helped you before?
3. Exercise, healthy nutrition and hydration, good quality sleep.
Our physical and mental health are interrelated. Taking the time to take care of our body, will support our mental wellbeing.
4. Talk to someone you trust, make time to connect or ask for help.
5. Challenge your thoughts, are they true? How likely are they to come true?
6. Notice what you can control and what you can't (act or let go).
7. Avoid too much stressful or negative information (i.e., limit social media).
8. Seek supportive resources, see your GP, connect with mental health support.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 111 or phone your local Mental Health Crisis Team or visit mentalhealth.org.nz/help for contact numbers.