We all have feelings of anxiety, worry and fear sometimes. These can be normal responses to certain situations. For example, you might worry about a job interview, or about paying a bill on time. These feelings can give you an awareness of risks and what you need to do in a difficult or dangerous situation. This reaction is known as ‘fight or flight’.

Your brain responds to a threat or danger by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Even if the danger is not real, these hormones cause the physical symptoms of anxiety. Once the threatening situation has stopped, your body will usually return to normal.

But if you have an anxiety disorder these feelings of fear and danger can be ongoing and interrupt your daily routine long after the threat has gone. They can make you feel as though things are worse than they actually are.

Breathe. Just by taking a few deep breaths is one of the simplest ways you can help alleviate anxiety. Getting more oxygen in your body, and to your brain, is a great way to help regulate the sympathetic nervous system. Just try focusing on taking in deep inhales and long exhales for as long as needed.

An Anxiety Handbook

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