Anxiety is a normal reaction that everyone experiences in response to different experiences and situations. Anxiety can help you prepare for that big job interview you have coming up, the important paper you have to complete, or the presentation you have to give at work. Anxiety can also be experienced when you are transitioning into a new and exciting part of your life – such as starting a new job, moving out for the first time, or going on a trip.
Manageable Anxiety –
This kind of anxiety is manageable and can even be helpful in allowing ourselves to realize what is important to us. When anxiety becomes overwhelming and unmanageable, it may be more than just normal anxiety, it can be an anxiety disorder that you may need to seek out help to figure out how to manage.
Normal Anxiety –
This kind of anxiety means worrying from time to time, experiencing sweating, or doubting your ability to complete a task. Normal anxiety typically presents as a low level of fear. This will typically motivate you to work harder towards a goal and put you in “problem-solving mode.” Most importantly, normal anxiety does not interfere with daily functioning. Although you may experience doubts, fear, or apprehension about a situation, you are able to work through it without major interference in your daily life, such as missing work, not leaving the house, not being able to drive, etc, etc.
Anxiety Disorder –
This kind of anxiety is different because the level of anxiety rises to the point where it impacts performance, causes impairment and interferes with a person’s daily level of functioning. This means that the worry is severe enough to cause distress and avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations, such as going to work, getting behind the wheel, or flying on a plane.
Clinical anxiety can affect your daily life, which includes school, your job, and your social life. When you have an anxiety disorder, your worries are uncontrollable and distressing, and it can feel like you cannot let go of them. At times, it can seem like your worries and thoughts are coming at you at a rapid-fire speed, ranging from current concerns to worries about the future, your job, health, and the relationships that you have with others.
You may also feel restless, irritable, and easily fatigued, or experience difficulty concentrating, tense muscles, and have difficulty with sleep. This can look like not wanting to do anything at the end of the day because you are tired, snapping at someone over something that would not usually bother you, having a stiff shoulder/back, and experiencing difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. You may also find it difficult to concentrate when trying to work or complete a task.
If you are currently experiencing excessive worrying with any of the other symptoms above, it can be helpful to receive treatment and mental health support from a licensed therapist. Therapy can provide a safe place for you to explore your anxiety and how to manage and cope with it.
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Luana Marques, P. D. (2018, July 23). Do I have anxiety or worry: What’s the difference? Harvard Health. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.
NHS. (n.d.). Signs of an Anxiety Disorder. NHS choices. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/mental-