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Anxiety is a common mental health concern characterised by persistent worry, fear, and unease. While experiencing some anxiety is normal, if it begins to interfere with your daily life and relationships, it's important to seek support and explore coping strategies to manage your symptoms effectively.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time and can be a normal human response to situations where we want to do well, like a big game or a job interview. In small doses, anxiety keeps us safe and motivates us to perform.

Experiencing anxiety can mean having lots of worries or fears that you know might be unreasonable but that you still find hard to stop. They are often negative and it can sometimes feel like you’re going round in circles and are stuck inside your own head.

The main symptoms of someone experiencing unhelpful amounts of anxiety are intense feelings of worry and fear that stick around and don’t reduce easily. When those feelings stick around for a couple weeks or more it’s usually a sign that someone might need some new strategies to help them cope.

What are the Signs?

People can experience both physical and emotional symptoms with anxiety. Because it is a part of the body’s normal fight-or flight response to danger it involves a wide range of symptoms.

  • Feelings

    • Fear
    • Tense all the time
    • Constantly nervous and on edge
    • Feelings of dread or panic
    • Feeling like your mind’s gone blank
    • Difficulty concentrating 
    • Unable to relax
  • Physical

    • Racing heart
    • Sweating and/or shaking
    • Shortness of breath
    • Headaches
    • Stomach upsets/nausea
    • Tiredness or insomnia (not sleeping)
    • Loss of appetite
  • Thoughts

    • I can’t control my worry
    • Persistent worries that are out of proportion 
    • Racing thoughts that don’t stop
  • Behaviours

    • Avoiding socialising or going out
    • Avoiding eye contact with others
    • Using alcohol or drugs to calm down 
    • Restlessness and fidgeting
    • Feeling the need to repetitively perform certain activities 
    • Avoiding situations out of fear or worry

Worried about how you feel?

Learning to cope with, and overcome, anxiety is absolutely possible. If you find the strategies below are not enough then it might be time to ask for some extra help. There are lots of people out there ready and wanting to help. 

Here are some different ways to ask for help and a list of people who can help.

Alternately, take the self-test to help you figure out what you might be feeling and what your next steps could be. 


Strategies to manage anxiety

Understanding your own experience of anxiety and what it feels like for you is a great first step. From there you can start to look at things that can help. Take a look below at what you can start doing today to get on the road to tackling anxiety.

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Talking to Someone (Korero/Talanoa)

Sharing your worries can be a huge help when it comes to anxiety. This could be a whānau member, a friend, or someone in your community you feel close to. They can offer emotional support.


Counselling and Talking Therapies

These are proven to be highly effective in supporting someone to deal with and manage their anxiety. Therapy focuses on helping you develop ways to deal with the challenges you’re facing.

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Mindfulness and Breathing

Mindfulness is a skill that focuses on being able to acknowledge your worries and then redirect yourself back to the here and now. Mindfulness and breathing strategies can be particularly useful for coping with anxiety.

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Get Outside Into Nature

Getting outside and enjoying nature can be calming and gives you a break from worry and tension. Try going for a walk, sitting in the sunshine or listening to music and take a break from your work or training.

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Movement & Exercise

Exercise is a great way to relieve tension as well as get rid of excess adrenaline built up in the body often felt by people experiencing anxiety. Training and games are great, swimming and walking are good options too.

Getting it sorted

Managing anxiety can take time and it’s important to be patient with yourself as you learn the strategies and skills that work best for you. It’s also important to remember that you are not alone in how you are feeling. Anxiety is very common and there are lots of people who have felt the same way you do. 

Learning to cope with, and overcome, anxiety is absolutely possible. If you find the strategies above are not enough then it might be time to ask for some extra help. There are lots of people out there ready and wanting to help. 

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Take our anxiety quiz

Sometimes people who experience depression also feel anxious and worry often. The symptoms of anxiety and depression can overlap and it’s not uncommon to experience both.

Quiz: Do I have signs of anxiety?

Talk to someone

You don't have to struggle alone. There are plenty of helplines you can use to get whatever's bothering you off your chest.

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