What is anxiety?

Most people feel stressed from time to time, for instance, when dealing with a work deadline or money worries. However, when people go through prolonged periods of stress — or experience a shock or trauma — then they can develop anxiety.

Anxiety is different from stress in that stress is mainly an external experience while anxiety is mainly internal. This means that you can feel anxious even when everything around you seems fine. Yet at other times there can be clear triggers for anxiety, such as meeting new people or starting a new job.

Anxiety can cause you to feel constantly fearful or worried about the future, affecting your overall happiness and wellbeing. It can sometimes seem like a vicious cycle, as its effects can cause you to feel even more anxious and avoid things like socialising.

Anxiety can show up in various different ways, here are a few of the main types:

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

A chronic state of feeling anxious and worrying excessively about everyday issues, including worrying about worrying.

  • Health Anxiety

Obsessively worrying about health, including regularly checking yourself for signs of illness.

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive thoughts combined with compulsive behaviours or rituals that are carried out as a way of managing those thoughts.

  • Panic Attacks

An extreme and sudden attack of anxiety combined with overwhelming physical sensations. Sometimes during a panic attack a person might feel as if they are dying.

  • Phobias

An extreme fear and exaggerated sense of danger towards a particular ‘trigger’ like an animal, object or situation.

  • Social Anxiety

A fear of humiliation or negative judgement from others.



What are the signs of anxiety?

  • Persistent feeling of fear, threat, dread or being ‘on edge’
  • Restlessness
  • SecretivenessSecretiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach aches
  • Sleep problems
  • Catastrophic thoughts such as ‘I can’t cope’ or ‘I’m in danger’
  • Depersonalisation and feelings of detachment
  • Avoiding triggering situations like socialising


Whatever kind of anxiety you’re experiencing, the good news is that the right therapy can make a difference. A therapist can help you to manage your anxiety symptoms and also explore the underlying causes.


Help for anxiety

All of our therapies can help with anxiety. However, these approaches have been shown to be particularly effective: CBT, DBT, ACT, CFT, Mindfulness.

Also, these therapies can explore the origins of your anxiety more deeply: EMDR, Body-Focused Therapies, Art Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy.

Your next step

Need confidential help with anxiety? Our team of compassionate, expert therapists are here for you.

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