Let’s talk anxiety.


I’m sure you agree with me when I say everyone experiences anxiety or feelings of fear or worry at some point in their lives. There could be various reasons for this, such as, relationship issues, divorce or separation perhaps.

Job related worries, can cause significant stress, especially since the way we work has changed dramatically over the past year. With global news just a simple click away, we have instant access to political, environmental and societal events, and can also cause serious emotional distress. This is normal and to be expected. For some people, however, this fear, worry, and stress can increase to the point of interfering with daily life!

The term “anxiety disorders” describes a group of conditions characterised by persistent, excessive fear or worry, even in non-threatening situations. Anxiety disorders are increasing at a tremendous rate within the UK and other countries too. Luckily, anxiety can be treated in many ways and help manage symptoms to lower anxiety.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety disorders come with a wide variety of symptoms, although varies from person to person.

Symptoms can include:

  • Fear and worry about yourself or your loved ones; fears may be general or specific
  • Feeling nervous, irritable, restless or on edge
  • Feelings of impending danger or panic; potentially with no obvious reason
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Sweating or trembling
  • Heart palpitations or increased heart rate
  • Difficulty focussing
  • Changes in appetite and eating patterns, including craving comforting foods or simply losing your appetite.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Nightmares – irritable sleep
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, diarrhoea, or heartburn
  • Maladaptive coping strategies such as smoking/vaping, increased use of alcohol, or recreational drugs to try to cope with stress and other uncomfortable feelings.

Symptoms of anxiety can appear in childhood or as a young adult and may come and go over time. If we think back for a moment, I’m sure, like me, you can think of times when we felt anxiety at school, in social settings or maybe somewhere else?

High anxiety may also lead to a worsening of chronic health problems, such as asthma, chronic pain, high blood pressure, or diabetes etc.  This is because our brain begins to produce an increase in stress hormones, such as adrenalines and cortisol’s.

From lifestyle changes to specific types of therapy, here are some things that can help you or your loved one manage anxiety:

Meditation & Mindfulness

Practicing mindful meditation can be especially helpful for people dealing with racing or distracting thoughts. Why not look at some of Shama’s online mindfulness and meditation videos on YouTube to get your body and mind to relax.


Get that body moving! More and more research highlights how our mental and physical health are closely connected. I’m sure you agree that it makes sense that exercise helps both your body and mind feel better. This is because your brain produces more happy chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that counter those stress hormones.

Why not pick a type of exercise that you enjoy.  It can be anything from simply walking more regularly, swimming, running, or try something completely new.  Or maybe you feel more inclined to the gentler, slower pace of yoga rather than a high intensity activity such as kickboxing, etc.

Talking Therapy

At Shama we offer counselling, and other talking wellbeing therapies. What exactly is a talking therapy I hear you ask! Well, it involves working with a therapist to discover anxiety triggers and manage symptoms. Gives you the space and time to get back on top of life again with specialists who really care.

If you or your loved one struggles to manage anxiety due to the COVID-19 emergency, there are a variety of things to keep in mind;

  • Keep in touch with the people you care about and trust. Even if you can’t visit someone in person, you can take advantage of many free video conferencing tools, such as FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom, to help maintain connections. There’s also the good old phone calls; sometimes a familiar voice can help, even if you cannot see their face.
  • Remember to take breaks from the news, including social media. I find this really helps to stay focussed. If you want to or need to stay updated on the coronavirus outbreak, try to listen to, read, or watch the news only once a day. Otherwise, it is easy to become overwhelmed by repeated references to the virus.
  • Keep a journal. This can help you organise your thoughts, better understand your feelings, and look at them more objectively.

Get in touch with Shama if you or someone you care about could use some friendly advice and support.

Do you need some support?