What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a body’s natural response to stress. It is a deep feeling of fear, apprehension or dread for a known or unknown future.
It’s normal to feel anxious about starting a new job, going to a new school, taking an exam, or preparing to meet someone new. This type of anxiety may be unpleasant, but it may motivate you to prepare better or to work harder. Ordinary anxiety, like this, comes and goes but it doesn’t interfere with your everyday life.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety can cause a variety of symptoms which fall into three main categories: physical symptoms, mental symptoms and behavioural symptoms.
Self-Assessment quiz for anxiety (for age 16+)
- The quiz will open in a new tab. Please note that this is an external resource from the NHS.
- The quiz will give you a score for Anxiety and Depression.
- Take a screenshot of (or print out) the results page if you would like to discuss it with your mental health practitioner.
What to do about anxiety
You may be feeling anxious because something in your life isn’t right right now, and you may need some help figuring out what that is.
Talk to your GP – If they think you’re suffering from anxiety, whether mild or severe, they can suggest different types of treatment that might help. They can also offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing.
Get other help – If you think you need more dedicated treatment, ask you GP to refer you to a counsellor or psychologist. You may also visit the Services Directory to find a suitable psychologist, counsellor or alternate healer in your area.
See your GP or a mental health professional if you are struggling to cope with anxiety, fear or panic, or if the self-help tools (below) are not helping. Once you’ve received a diagnosis, you can explore treatment options with your mental health professional.
Contact a professional based on the type of assistance you need or want.
|Who should I contact
|What is it?
(registered by HPCSA)
|Psychologist, or Registered Counsellor
|Therapy that is offered by a qualified therapist. This may include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Exposure Response, Hypnotherapy, etc.
(registered by ASCHP)
|Wellness Counsellor, or Specialist Wellness Counsellor, or Psychological Coach
Supportive counsellor, or Holistic counsellor
|Talk Therapy, mindfulness and self-management strategies (such as stress management, etc.)
Aroma therapy, massage, reflexology, herbal treatments, Back flower therapy,
|a medical doctor – your GP or a Psychiatrist
|Anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication
Self-help tools for dealing with anxiety
Making some key lifestyle changes can relieve some of the stress and anxiety you feel. This involves being more conscious of caring for your body, participating in healthy activities and eliminating unhealthy ones.
- getting enough sleep
- staying active and exercising
- eating a healthy diet
- meditating – paying more attention to your spirituality and religion
- avoiding caffeine
- avoiding alcohol
- quitting smoking cigarettes if you smoke
Other ways of dealing with anxiety include:
- talking to someone your trust
- trying to manage your worries
- looking after your physical health (see the above list for ideas)
- trying breathing exercises
- keeping a journal
- Put your hands in water. Focus on the temperature and how it feels on your fingertips, palms, and the backs of your hands. Does it feel the same in each part of your hand? Use warm water first, then cold. Next, try cold water first, then warm. Does it feel different to switch from cold to warm water versus warm to cold?
- Take a short walk. Concentrate on your steps; count them! Notice the beat of your footsteps.
- Your body is producing adrenaline. Put it to good use! Do jumping jacks, or go for a brisk walk, or jog on the spot.
According to a Registered Dietitian, these 6 foods may help with anxiety:
- dark chocolate
- green tea
Free resources from What WayD Says
- Try this worksheet entitled Walking Through your Worry
Do you offer a mental health service for women? Submit your listing now.
I need urgent help for my anxiety – emergency numbers
- SADAG – South African Depression & Anxiety Group – 0800 12 13 14
- Adcock Ingram Depression & Anxiety Helpline – 0800 70 80 90
- LifeLine South Africa – 0861 322 322
- Befrienders Bloemfontein – 051 444 5000
Government Mental Health information line – 0800 567 567
Stay well, inside and out
Waheeda, a.k.a Waydi
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