Anxiety is pervasive and can be debilitating for those experiencing it constantly. It can evoke a sense of heightened threat which leads Individuals to underestimate their ability to cope with the threat and consequently avoid many situations due to the perceived fear.

I decided to create this post through utilizing part of a 6 week course that I delivered on anxiety to a group of Individuals accessing treatment through the NHS Community Mental Health Team in Greater Manchester.

The purpose of this article is normalize anxiety and challenge the stigma as its more prevalent than you are likely to believe. Living in 2018 has exposed many to a lot of uncertainty through Brexit which would understandably heighten anxiety and the terrorist attacks in Europe could also lead to you being hypervigilant which perpetuates anxiety related experiences.

A YouGov survey of 2,300 adults in Britain carried out for Mental Health Awareness Week 2014 reveals that:

.Almost one in five people feel anxious all of the time or a lot of the time,

.Only one in twenty people never feel anxious.

Women are more likely to feel anxious than men.

.The likelihood of feeling anxious reduces with age.

.Students and people not in employment are more likely to feel anxious all of the time or a lot of the time.

.Financial issues are a cause of anxiety for half of people, but this is less likely to be so for older people.

.Women and older people are more likely to feel anxious about the welfare of loved ones.

.Four in every ten employed people experience anxiety about their work.

.Around a fifth of people who are anxious have a fear of unemployment.

.Younger people are much more likely to feel anxious about personal relationships.

.Older people are more likely to be anxious about growing old, the death of a loved one and their own death.

.The youngest people surveyed (aged 18 – 24) were twice as likely to be anxious about being alone than the oldest people (aged over 55 years).

.One-fifth of people who have experienced anxiety do nothing to cope with it.

.The most commonly used coping strategies are talking to a friend, going for a walk, and physical exercise.

.Comfort eating is used by a quarter of people to cope with feelings of anxiety, and women and young people are more likely to use this as a way of coping.

.A third of the students in the survey said they cope by ‘hiding themselves away from the world’.

.People who are unemployed are more likely to use coping strategies that are potentially harmful, such as alcohol and cigarettes.

.Fewer than one in ten people have sought help from their GP to deal with anxiety, although those who feel anxious more frequently are much more likely to do this.

.People are believed to be more anxious now than they were five years ago.

.There is a tendency to reject the notion that having anxious feelings is stigmatising.

.People who experience anxiety most frequently tend to agree that it is stigmatising.

.Just under half of people get more anxious these days than they used to and believe that anxiety has stopped them from doing things in their life.

.Women and younger people are more likely to say that anxiety has impacted on their lives.

(Living with Anxiety :commissioned for Mental Health Awareness Week 2014 )

The statistics highlighted indicate that anxiety is widespread and can effect people in various ways such as procrastination, irritability, seeking reassurance, overthinking, avoidance or making negative predictions regarding situations.

I f you would like to discover some strategies to manage anxiety please feel free to read my article on anxiety traps.

Martina Witter

Accredited Cognitive Behaviour Therapist I Resilience & Wellbeing Specialist I Director of Rapha Therapy Services