What are the symptoms of anxiety?


Are excessive worry and anxiety stopping you from having the life you wish to have? You may often feel overwhelmed when in social situations or in general it feels that worry and anxiety are running your life and even limiting it. Perhaps you have started to avoid certain situations or carry out safety behaviours to manage your anxiety and other unpleasant feelings. The symptoms of anxiety may be so overwhelming that it is affecting your mood and you are starting to feel low for not being able to engage in activities you used to enjoy.

Anxiety symptoms are varied:

Anxiety is a part of our normal life. Low levels of anxiety can be motivating whilst high levels of anxiety can have a paralysing effect.

Anxiety is a general term for a collection of thinking patterns, feelings, physical and behaviours symptoms. Something happens in your external or internal environment (stimulus), which triggers a series of events taking place. Anxiety can be very specific (fear of public speaking) or more general, when a person feels anxious a lot of the time and struggling to identify specific triggers.

For example, you have a particular meeting coming up where you are expected to present your new ideas to the boardroom. How do you feel and react to this thought? If this situation typically would cause you to feel anxious, you may experience various symptoms.

Physical anxiety symptoms are such as:

  • Sweating or blushing
  • Shortness of breath, hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Feels like having “butterflies”
  • Shaky hands
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration

Thought patterns:

  • “I’m going to fail”
  • “They won’t like my ideas”
  • “I’m going to faint”
  • “What if I mumble or I forget what I have to say”


  • Anxious
  • Fearful

Behaviour changes

  • Pretending to be sick on the day of the presentation
  • Pacing up and down nervously, restlessness
  • Smoking more than usual
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Comfort eating
  • Sleeping difficulties

Generalised anxiety

Generalised anxiety (disorder) refers to anxiety that is not specific to a situation and trigger, but instead a person is often fearful,  across different situations, such as work, relationships, and children. Their body is constantly on “Fight or Flight” mode preparing for the worst to happen. This type of anxiety can be very life limiting as the person rarely gets to fully rest and their behaviour may start to change, such as stopping activities that they used to enjoy, stopping socialising and isolating themselves, becoming easily tearful and feeling tense all the time.

More information on different types of anxiety on NHS website.

What is a panic or anxiety attack?

Panic attack is a misinterpretation of bodily sensations. It is often a very intense physical experience, when a person, for example, starts to hyperventilate, fears that they will faint or die, have heart palpitations and become fearful of having a hear attack. If you experience these symptoms, visit your GP to ensure that it is an anxiety related condition and there isn’t any other underlying illness.

What makes anxiety worse?

  • Alcohol
  • Excessive caffeine
  • Lack of sleep
  • Triggered by some kind of underlying and untreated trauma either recently or in the past history

What can help with managing worry and anxiety?

  • Healthy lifestyle choices: good nutrition (not too much caffeine or spicy foods), enough relaxing exercise, enough “down time” and good sleep hygiene
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Becoming aware of triggers and gaining self-awareness
  • Practicing self-compassion – The free Resource Library has a self-compassion guided meditation to get you started.
  • Grounding techniques:
    • Think about 5 things you can see
    • 4 things you can hear
    • 3 things you can touch (and touch them)
    • 2 things  you can smell
    • take 1 slow, deep breath in through your nose counting to four and out through your mouth counting to four (repeat a couple of times)

Would you like to put a stop to that worry and anxiety?

Therapy can help you to, for example:

  • Develop coping strategies for worry and anxiety caused by changing life circumstances or events
  • Have freedom or reduce excessive worry as you resolve the underlying sources of your worry
  • Live more freely and be able to enjoy your life fully

When you are ready to address worry and anxiety, please get in touch to organise your FREE 15 min phone consultation. I’d love to hear from you!

Take your first step towards a happier life!