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What exactly is Anxiety?

Feeling stressed or worried?

Sometimes it feels tough just to keep your head above water. Life throws a lot at us as we try to juggle pressures from work, family and commitments with the people in our lives.

But for some of us, this feeling just doesn’t quit. In fact, it can get pretty intense.

Maybe you have a fear that you can’t stop thinking about - it could be public speaking or someone finding out something private about your situation. Or it could be ongoing and intrusive thoughts that you feel like you need to focus on. You may try to combat them with certain habits or rituals, even if you think that they seem a bit silly, or find yourself drinking a bit more just to calm things down.

Snowballing worries are just one of the common symptoms associated with anxiety.

Whatever’s going on, if these feelings and behaviours aren’t going away, it’s time to deal with them.

It may be that you’re experiencing anxiety. This is incredibly common, with one in five men experiencing an anxiety condition at some stage in their life.

A bunch of factors can cause anxiety, like your family history, substance use, and even some personality traits. Ongoing stressful events or health problems can also trigger anxiety. If you’re in a marriage or living arrangement that you’re not quite sure is right for you, that could be a trigger.

As men, we have a tendency to write anxiety off as something we all experience and something that will go away, but the danger lies in when we experience too much anxiety and it starts to get in the way of our daily life.

So how much is too much? It’s hard to define, but here are some of the common symptoms to look out for:

Physical: You might notice panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, quick breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy.

Psychological: You might feel excessive fear, worry, catastrophizing, or obsessive thinking.

Behavioural: Maybe you’re avoiding situations that make you feel anxious so you’re missing opportunities in your work life or not going out.

Beginning to sound a bit like you? The guys at beyondblue have put together a simple checklist to help give you an idea of where you’re at. Remember, you can always call the beyondblue Support Service on 1300 22 4636.