We all go through times in life when we feel worried about a particular event or about something new we have to do. You might already notice people you know who seem to worry a lot and others who just seem to take things in their stride. Neither of these ways is wrong or right, we just all react to things differently.

There are times when a little stress can actually be a good thing because it motivates us to deal with the challenges life throws at us, but too much can lead to us feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.

Sometimes there will be an obvious cause to the anxiety you are feeling. You might have an exam coming up or a job interview that is really worrying you. When the event has passed, the anxiety goes away.

For some people it might be that a bad experience from the past is still causing them to feel anxious or a big change that is going to happen in the future is the source of their worry. Some people might feel anxious for no apparent reason and everything seems worrying to them.

Anxiety can affect you in lots of different ways.

How you feel
People describe feeling really fearful and worried, being more nervous, restless and edgy, being irritable, feeling angry and impatient.

How you think
You may find it really hard to make decisions, get confused more easily, or have difficulty concentrating. Sometimes people describe their mind as racing with too many thoughts.

How you behave
You might go out of your way to avoid the situations that are worrying you.

Physical effects on your body
Sometimes people find that their heart is racing or they have a ‘knot’ or ‘butterflies’ in their stomach. They might notice they are sweating more than usual, trembling or feeling short of breath. Other people find that they have difficulty sleeping too.

There are times when a little stress can actually be a good thing because it motivates us to deal with the challenges life throws at us.

Feeling anxious at various times in our life is part of what it is to be human! But it’s important to find healthy ways of coping with these feelings.

More info and support: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

The Resilience Lab has some tips for your self-care toolbox!

Get the basics right
We know it can be tempting to let all the simple stuff that helps go out the window, but eating right, getting some rest and getting some exercise will help improve your mood and keep you calmer.

Drink less caffeine
Energy drinks, tea, coffee and fizzy drinks all contain caffeine, which is thought to increase the symptoms of anxiety. Try to reduce how many you drink in a day or, better still, replace them with something else altogether.

When in doubt, breathe out!
Taking some long, deep breathes when we feel anxious can help us calm down. Try breathing in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 7 for a few minutes for some instant calm.

Notice the good things when you can
Gratitude – where you practice being thankful each day even for really little things in your life – can help you keep the worries in perspective. Keep a diary where you jot down two or three things each day that you’re grateful for.

Write a list
Do your thoughts race with all the things you’ve got to do? Write a list of everything and tackle what you can one thing at a time. Look at the list with a friend to help you get some perspective on what to prioritise. It’s amazing how writing it all down and talking it through can help to make it more manageable.

Get Mindful!
A form of meditation, Mindfulness has been proven to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Just 10 minutes a day can make a difference. We recommend Headspace as a good place to start to find out more.


You don’t have to do this on your own! If you notice that you have any of these symptoms and they don’t seem to be going away or they are interfering with your daily life then you might need some extra support to get back on track.

Get in touch!

Call us: 0808 808 9120

Text us: 0789 688 0811

Email us: confidential@otrbristol.org.uk