CERTAIN challenging life experiences can contribute to or lead to feelings of anxiety. A job interview, tests, or exams, being ill, and other stressful environments can trigger anxiety. Physical symptoms of anxiety can include racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, muscle tension, shakiness, and sweaty palms among others. These are our basic, temporary survival reactions to dangerous situations, readying us for the fight, fight or freeze response. Difficulty in calming down or relaxing in the absence of danger, though, can lead to persistent feelings of anxiety, characterized with catastrophic thoughts and a sense not being able to cope.
Being worried and tense all the time, while looking out for potentially dangerous situations, can interfere with the ability to concentrate, the quality of sleep, and the capacity to carry out certain tasks. Therapy is aimed at helping clients identify thoughts and behaviours associated with anxiety, in order to reduce anxiety to manageable levels when danger is not present, or less serious than perceived.