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Feeling Anxious?

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you go; they merely determine where you start.”
Nido Qubein

This month marks Mental Health Awareness Week 15-21 May, an important day in the wellbeing calendar; this year, the focus is on raising awareness and understanding of anxiety. With this in mind, we thought it appropriate to explore anxiety a little further, to understand what it is, what the signs are and when to seek help. Mental health in the workplace continues to be a challenge and can present itself in many ways. The Mental Health Foundation published some research in 2022 with the London School of Economics and Political Science that put the cost of mental health problems to the UK economy at just under £118 billion, per year. This is a staggering amount. Anxiety is one of those conditions but it is a normal emotion, however, it can sometimes spiral out of control, perhaps in response to pressures at work or changing circumstances at home.


Many things can lead to anxiety, including exam pressure, relationships, starting a new job or losing one, losing a loved one, finances and other big life events. In a recent survey by The Mental Health Foundation, anxiety was cited as one of the most common mental health problems. Over 34% of adults said they felt anxious about their finances in the last month and it stopped them from doing the things they enjoyed. With so much coverage in the media at the moment around the rising costs of living, this in many ways was to be

anticipated.


What is anxiety?

So let's start by defining what we mean by anxiety. The NHS define anxiety as “A feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe.” Everyone can have feelings of anxiety at one point or another but some people find it harder to control their worries than others. For those, the feeling of anxiety is more constant, affecting their daily lives and is generally felt over a prolonged period of time. The exact cause of anxiety is not fully understood, but it is likely a combination of several complex factors that contribute to individuals feeling anxious. Those factors may include your genes, a history of stressful or traumatic experiences, a long-term health condition or a history of drug or alcohol misuse.


What are the signs to look out for?

The signs of anxiety can vary from person to person, but indicators listed by the NHS are:

  • Feeling restless or worried.

  • Having trouble concentrating.

  • Having trouble sleeping.

  • Dizziness or heart palpitations.

When to seek help?

More women than men tend to be affected by anxiety between the ages of 35-55. The main indicator that you need to seek help is that if your anxiety is limiting your daily life. On a positive note, there are many options to help manage anxiety. Mind share some things you can do yourself to help manage anxiety which include:

  • Taking regular exercise.

  • Eating well.

  • Reducing alcohol consumption, stopping smoking and taking recreational drugs.

  • Talk to someone you trust.

  • Breathing exercises.

  • Keep a diary.

Read our previous blog, 'What is Anxiety?', for info on the differences between everyday anxiety and an anxiety disorder, why we experience anxiety and further top tips for managing it.


In Summary

We can all sometimes feel stress and anxiety levels in the workplace, but by being informed and understanding the signs, we can take early steps to manage the condition. If you would like to get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May) click here.


If you would like to raise awareness of, and support, stress and anxiety in your workplace, we offer a number of different workshops and MHFA training solutions, please get in touch to see how we could help.


Sources:

  • https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/public-engagement/mental-health-awareness-week

  • https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/overview/

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