Is My Anxiety Normal?

Anxiety is an experience many can readily relate to. Having people around us who can understand feeling anxious is great, except when they don’t quite understand our unique experience of anxiety. When people struggle with anxiety issues, it could be anything from having a few rigid expectations and sticking to certain preferences to having an anxiety disorder that affects their daily lives.

Knowing when it’s time to work with a professional starts with being able to recognize when your experience of anxiety affects your life in different ways (relationships, work performance, health concerns). When the anxiety we experience reaches a certain level (or sticks around for longer than is helpful) our level of functioning may be adversely affected.

Let’s face it – life can be stressful and there are various situations in life that can exacerbate problems that we have previously been able to maintain some semblance of control over. Rather than wait for a situation to take place that will catch us unprepared, why not identify the areas that need to be addressed ahead of time?

Here are a few symptoms that may be indicative of anxiety:
• Frequent worrying
• Preoccupation with certain thoughts
• Expectation of the worse outcomes
• Second-guessing your decisions/ Overthinking
• Having difficulty paying attention and concentrating
• Fear and avoidance of certain situations or things
• Concerned with being viewed a certain way
• Being critical of others
• Sleep difficulties
• Engaging in certain repetitive behaviors
• Experiencing palpitations or sweaty palms
• Feeling faint
• Having difficulty breathing
• Feeling faint
• Physical reactions to situations that make you uncomfortable (nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing, palpitations, sweat)
• Physical tightness, aches and pains

Each symptom does not necessarily indicate that you have an anxiety disorder. For example, if you experience physical symptoms from the list above, it is important to ensure that they did not arise due to medical reasons. These symptoms may also indicate a different kind of mental health issue that you need to address. The professional you work with should be equipped to help you to confirm if it is anxiety.

When anxiety gets the better of us, we may experience these symptoms to a degree that impacts how we go about life, including restricting ourselves in ways that do not allow us to feel in control of our lives. The good news is that anxiety is something that you can learn to manage. If your symptoms persist, seek professional help to address the symptoms and causes.