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The Effects Of Living with Anxiety

The Effects Of Living with Anxiety

People suffering from an anxiety disorder experience constant and excessive worrying that is out of proportion to the actual source of worry, which makes it difficult for them to enjoy life. There are a number of different underlying causes for anxiety disorders such as genetics, brain chemistry, medical conditions, unhealthy lifestyle choices, environmental factors and certain personality traits that contribute to anxiety development. 

If anxiety is impacting your day-to-day life and preventing you from enjoying daily activities and feeling good about yourself, it’s important to seek help as early as possible.

It’s often recommended that individuals consider therapy or counselling as an initial step, before taking prescription medication. Therapy can help you understand how anxiety affects your life, how to accept and manage it, and provide you with self-care strategies that work.

Making the effort to find out what’s causing your stress or anxiety will ultimately help you manage it more effectively. It takes practice but with the right tools and strategies, you can feel better.

Problems Of Living With Anxiety

Life with anxiety is a lifetime of highs and lows. You may feel anxious for no reason at all, or you may worry about a number of things, like work deadlines or money problems. You might be plagued by obsessive thoughts or always expect the worst. It can seem like your fears are beyond your control and that nothing will help. 

Anxiety disorder is a state of unease that can have many different causes.  It can lead to poor concentration and energy levels, making it hard to fulfill your role at work or meet the demands of your partner, family member or someone in your social network.   

Living with anxiety isn’t easy. It can be a powerful emotion that impacts your whole life but there are ways to help manage it. Finding out what is causing your anxiety is an important first step in treatment. There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder, some examples are as follows:


  • Experiencing trauma. Childhood trauma, where a person has experienced abuse or witnessed something traumatic increases the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder later in life. The same is true for an adult who has experienced a traumatic event.
  • Serious illness or health conditions. These issues can cause a great amount of anxiety as people worry about their treatments and what will happen to them in the future. 
  • Feeling overwhelmed. Being hit by too many stressors at once can trigger anxiety – dealing with work stress, family matters, finances, or grief all at one time can be a lot to handle. 
  • Genetics. Anxiety disorders can sometimes run in the family. 
  • Different Mental Health Disorders. People who are afflicted with other mental health disorders, such as depression, often also suffer from anxiety. 
  • Drug or alcohol use. Substance abuse or addiction, and subsequently withdrawal can cause and worsen feelings of anxiety.


Life can be stressful and if you’re anxious, you may feel overwhelmed and on edge. If it feels like your anxiety is out of control, it may be time to seek professional help

Signs Of An Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness and unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It comes in many forms such as social phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic attacks. Anxiety can be caused by organic events or symptoms of other mental health disorders. It helps to know where it comes from and what you can do to relieve it.

There is a wide range of anxiety disorders, and symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people have severe, debilitating anxiety attacks while others may only experience a constant feeling of subtle worry over every day issues. 

It’s normal to feel stressed once in a while. However, if you experience anxiety more often than not or have constant feelings of anxiousness, you may have an anxiety disorder. Signs of anxiety disorder often occur so gradually it may be difficult to pinpoint the change. 

Some symptoms may include:


  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense; 
  • Your heart might become faster or irregular; 
  • You might begin breathing rapidly and find it hard to get enough air; 
  • You may sweat;
  • Feel weak or tired;  
  • Have trouble concentrating on anything except the present worry;
  • Have trouble falling and staying asleep;
  • Experiencing GI (gastrointestinal) problems; and
  • Avoiding social situations that you fear will trigger your anxiety. 


If you have been experiencing these symptoms for a while, it is possible that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Types Of Therapy

Anxiety disorders can be managed. People with anxiety disorders have options when it comes to treatment. Many people choose to work with their doctors and personal therapists to better cope with anxiety and stress. Sometimes medication will be prescribed along with counselling and therapy as a way to manage anxiety and perhaps reduce some of the symptoms or severity of an anxiety disorder

Just as there are many types of anxiety disorders, there are many types of therapies. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that therapy is the key to reducing and overcoming the effects of anxiety. Therapy can help you better understand what your anxiety is trying to tell you, it can then guide you through various techniques that can help reduce the uncomfortable feelings that often accompany anxiety.

Although many types of therapy are used to treat anxiety disorders, studies show that cognitive-behavioral therapy is particularly helpful. This type of psychotherapy (or “talk therapy”) teaches you how to change the way you react to certain situations and allows you to better control your anxiety.

Complementary Treatments

Complementary treatments for anxiety, in addition to counselling, are gaining popularity as people look to utilize any means of addressing their symptoms. Complementary treatments are utilized in conjunction with traditional medical therapies. 

The symptoms of anxiety disorders can often be debilitating and make it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks or meet the demands of your work, home, or school life. Below are some things you can do to treat your anxiety in addition to therapy:


  • Exercise and stay active.  Exercise has been shown to assist in mood improvement and overall feelings of well-being. 
  • Healthy lifestyle choices.  In addition to a regular exercise regimen, a healthy diet can also be used to combat anxiety.
  • Social interaction.  Although this may be initially hard, pursuing social interaction and developing caring relationships can be a healthy distraction that can lessen feelings of worry and anxiety.
  • Avoid caffeine, drugs and alcohol. Substance use and misuse can cause or worsen feelings of anxiety. In addition, having to quit caffeine which is classified as a stimulant, drugs or alcohol can further exacerbate anxious feelings.


Anxiety is not a character flaw but a common experience that can be managed through various means such as therapy or counselling and medication. Anxiety can accompany many different sensations, including physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms. A qualified therapist can help you understand your anxiety and teach you how to manage it. 

Like many other health conditions, anxiety can be harder to treat the longer you wait. It’s important to get help early on so you can tackle the issues you are facing and start living a happier and more productive life.

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We at Virtuous Circle Counselling acknowledge Moh’kinstsis, the lands where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, in what we currently call Calgary. We acknowledge that we are visitors on Moh’kinsstis and acknowledge the Blackfoot are those who named this area as Moh’kinsstis. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize the ancestral territories, cultures, and oral practices of the Blackfoot people, the Îyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Dene people of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.