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Intense Anxiety: How Do I know If It’s Normal or If It’s a Problem?

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Do you often feel stressed out, nervous, and tense? Do certain situations increase the intensity of these feelings? When you feel a lot of intense anxiety, it can be hard to get through daily life. There is a way to know whether or not the anxiety you are experiencing is normal for the situation or if it could be a more serious problem.

What is “Normal” Anxiety?

Believe it or not, it’s completely normal to experience anxiety. It is just one of a range of emotions that human beings feel. Anxiety can actually be quite helpful in some situations. Have you ever had an experience when you felt unsafe? For instance, as you walk down a dark street at night you might suddenly notice anxiety rise up in you:

  • You become more alert to your surroundings.
  • Your heart rate and breathing rate go up.
  • Certain sounds cause you to keep your guard up.

These sensations are designed to help you be more aware of your surroundings and to help determine whether you are safe or vulnerable at that moment. They also prepare you to take appropriate action. In this situation, for instance, we may walk more quickly to get to a lighted area or reach our final destination as fast as possible. Then we can feel safer behind closed doors. Anxiety is not a mistake. In reality, it is actually an emotion that has helped us as a species to stay alive.

What is Intense Anxiety?

Intense anxiety is when these sensations and feelings go into overdrive. Symptoms of intense anxiety include:

  • When the anxiety you experience overwhelms you, and prevents you from functioning or participating easily in your day to day activities.
  • Intense anxiety floods you with emotions, overriding your ability to make rational decisions.
  • You frequently experience intense anxiety, perhaps even on a daily basis.
  • You experience intense physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach issues, or hyperventilating.
  • The anxiety creates feelings of panic and intense fear.
  • You intentionally avoid situations knowing that they could cause intense anxiety.

In this sense, intense anxiety can be considered an issue that significantly affects your life on a daily basis, or at the least several times a week.

How Do I Know if Intense Anxiety is a Problem?

That’s a good question and the answer depends on a few factors. On one hand, you recognize that certain things cause you to feel intense feelings of anxiety. You are able to structure your life to avoid those things most of the time. On the other hand, however, you may not even realize that what you’re experiencing is anxiety, but you know you have feelings that you don’t like. In the worst-case scenario, you self-medicate, using alcohol or drugs to numb those feelings. Either way, anxiety can be a problem. Normal anxiety might be an inconvenience, but intense anxiety and the way you choose to deal with it can sometimes be quite serious, or even potentially life-threatening.

When is Intense Anxiety Not a Problem?

Intense anxiety doesn’t have to run your life. You can reduce the severity of your symptoms through therapy and treatment. For instance:

  • Practicing mindfulness exercises to help you lower your stress levels when you feel anxious.
  • Talking to a friend or a loved one about what causes you to feel anxious.
  • Working through mind-blocks you might have regarding anxiety.
  • Connecting with others who feel the same way as you do for support.

If you experience intense feelings of anxiety, you can learn coping skills and develop strategies to reduce the impact of anxiety on your life.

Anxiety by itself isn’t necessarily a problem. It is a useful emotion that we have developed as humans to keep us safe from danger. Yet, when you feel unsafe all the time to the point where you can’t live your life, then that’s a problem.  I can help you find relief from your anxiety and teach you tools to better cope when you feel anxious. That way, you don’t have to live in fear any longer.

Having read this post, do you recognize that you may be experiencing feelings of intense anxiety? Are you ready to make the changes you want, but not sure where to start? I will support the goals you want to accomplish. I will listen and help you address your concerns. Working together, you can develop skills to cope with intense anxiety.

Please contact me, to make an appointment or if you have any questions.  I believe you have what it takes to succeed and look forward to working with you.

-Pamela Bromley

Rest is not idleness…

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Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.  John Lubbock