By Karen Burge and staff writers at the ABC.
Most of us have experienced the racing heart, sweaty palms, feelings of dread and snowballing worries that are the calling cards of anxiety.
Feeling anxious or stressed when you’re going for a job interview or moving house is not unusual. It’s how most us respond when we’re under pressure or feeling threatened. Usually these feelings fade once we feel safe.
But sometimes anxiety is not fleeting or a ‘proportionate response to our surroundings’, says Associate Professor Peter McEvoy.
One in four of us will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in our lives, so this means we’ll find our heart races and our worries snowball, without any obvious cause and more often than we would expect.
The good news is most people will be able to get a handle on their anxiety with the right treatment, which might involve psychological therapies, medication or e-therapies.
Associate Professor McEvoy says there are also some simple acts that can help you to better deal with your anxiety and make you less vulnerable to stressors.
Keeping your stress levels in check can help you feel more on an even keel and in control.
Clinical psychologist Dr Cindy Nour, director of MindFrame Psychology, says stress can exacerbate anxiety if you are vulnerable to it.
We all have different ways of coping with stress, for some of us it’s yoga and for others knitting. Whatever you do, it has be something that works for you.
In its most recent survey, the Australian Psychological Society found there are a range of ways most of us try to cope with stress.
Mindfulness, breathing exercises and relaxation practices are other tools to add to the tool box, says Dr Nour, and there is good evidence they can work well when it comes to worrying.