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Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time. It is a normal response to situations that we see as threatening to us.

For example, if we had to go into hospital for an operation, or had to sit a driving test, or take an exam, it would be natural to feel anxious. Anxiety at certain levels can even be helpful in some situations such as when we need to perform well, or cope with an emergency.

Anxiety can affect us in at least four different ways. It affects:

  • The way we feel.
  • The way we think.
  • The way our body works.
  • The way we behave.

Anxiety is the feeling we get when our body responds to a frightening or threatening experience. It has been called the fight or flight response. It is simply your body preparing for action, either to fight danger or run away from it as fast as possible. The purpose of the physical symptoms of anxiety therefore is to prepare your body to cope with threat. 

To understand what is happening in your body, imagine that you are about to be attacked. As soon as you are aware of the threat, your muscles tense ready for action. Your heart beats faster to carry blood to your muscles and brain, where it is most needed. You breathe faster to provide oxygen which is needed for energy. You sweat to stop your body overheating. Your mouth becomes dry and your tummy may have butterflies. When you realise that the attacker is in fact a friend, the feelings die away, but you may feel shaky and weak after the experience.

The fight or flight response is a really basic system that probably goes back to the days of cave men, and is present in animals who depend on it for their survival. Fortunately, nowadays we are not often in such life or death situations, but unfortunately many of the stresses we do face can’t be fought or run away from, so the symptoms don’t help. In fact they often make us feel worse, especially if we don’t understand them.

Courses that can help you


SilverCloud is an exciting online therapy programme proven to help with stress, anxiety, low-mood and depression. There are a range of programmes, including extra activities and ideas from mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy. The programme is flexible; use it anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. You can even access it on a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Click here to read more

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Group (ACT)

The group is a powerful psychotherapy based on cutting-edge research into how the human mind works. It has been clinically proven to be successful in a wide range of psychological problems. The unusual name of this therapy comes from one of its key themes: Learn how to accept those things that are out of your control and commit to changing those things that can be changed to make your life better. Click here to read more

Calming Anxiety and Boosting Mood (CABM) 

The course is a psychological educational course run within a group setting. If you are aged 16 or older and registered with a Worcestershire GP, you can self-refer to attend a course. The CABM course is designed to help you understand and recognise low mood, anxiety and panic and help you learn skills and techniques to combat it. Click here to read more

Relaxation Techniques - Healthy Minds

Try some Relaxation Techniques to help

Relaxation techniques including deep muscle relaxation, controlled breathing, distraction techniques and mindfulness can all help reduce anxiety. Click here to read more