Anxiety is more than just being nervous about meeting new people or social settings - it can become a debilitating condition that impacts your mental health and puts stress on your body. This intense fear can manifest itself into many different types of anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, or even cause physical pain.
But you can access help - there are plenty of resources for people to get help dealing with anxiety symptoms. More than 1,600 specialised mental health facilities provided care to Australians in 2016-2017, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), showing the wealth of options available to those who need help.
However, before you can get help you need to be able to identify feelings of anxiety.
Common signs of anxiety
Restlessness and fatigue
Anxiety can often manifest as minor mood swings or spikes in energy levels throughout the day. If you find that you are full of enthusiasm but cannot focus on anything during the day, and then suddenly you slump into an energy lull, minor anxiety may be the reason.
Sleeplessness is a common sign of anxiety.
Head buzzing when you should be sound asleep? Anxiety often becomes more prominent at night time when you are trying to wind down for the day. Here, your mind turns over your fears and problems endlessly, contributing to fatigue and dizziness in the mornings
Panic attacks and social stress
Panic attacks can be very distressing and often indicate fear of certain social situations. These fits cause heightened breathing and heart palpitations, imitating some of the symptoms of a heart attack.
Irrational need for control
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is just one manifestation of a need for greater control over the details of your life. Common characteristics include an inability to give another person control over a situation, and excessive time spent cleaning or organising your home.
It's easy to confuse the regularly occurring symptoms of anxiety with other issues such as being unable to sleep - that's why it's important that you remain vigilant if any of these issues appear.
Tips for helping with mental stress
Below are some tips for helping you deal with the most common signs of anxiety:
Restlessness and fatigue - good diet and exercise
Diet and regular exercise contribute more to our energy levels than we realise. Balancing your food groups to include more green vegetables while limiting your intake of processed food will help even out your peaks and troughs. Light cardiovascular exercise, like a 20-minute walk, is also a must every day.
Sleeping trouble - natural sleep remedies
Sleeping trouble can be one of anxiety's most irritating symptoms. Cutting out screen time on mobile devices or television at least an hour before bed will help to ready your body for sleep. Additionally developing a good routine for rest can assist with improving night time sleep.
Panic attacks and social stress - breathing
Counsellors and Mental Health Practitioners can assist with tools that help like breathing techniques which can reduce the heart palpitations that come with a panic attacks. These can also reduce your overall stress levels.
Irrational need for control - taking a personal inventory
The most important step to letting go of control is identifying what you want to control. Break down your behaviour patterns into the elements of your life you focus on most. Start small, say with certain cleaning habits, and work your way up to identifying the major issues in your life you feel an irrational urge to control.
The most important point to take away from these techniques is self-kindness. Don't beat yourself up if one of the above tips doesn't work - that will only increase your anxiety. Instead, try something different, and focus on taking small steps towards your bigger goal.
How to get help for excessive fear and anxiety
You can deal with some elements of anxiety personally. However, sometimes the symptoms are too severe to deal with alone. If that's the case, there are plenty of resources and services that can help, no matter your age, culture or background. Over $9 billion was spent on mental health in 2016-2017 (AIHW), showing you have options for seeking help with your anxiety.
There are numerous mental health resources for individuals in NSW.
Sometimes all it takes is a bit more information on the symptoms and triggering factors behind excessive anxiety to help deal with it better. Organisations such as Beyond Blue, the Black Dog Institute and Head to Health all provide a wealth of resources to help those suffering from mental illness, including guides for managing anxiety and real case studies.
- Beyond Blue is a good general hub for information relating to people from different sections of society, helping all Australians improve their long-term mental health.
- The Black Dog Institute aims to shine a light on the stigma facing those with anxiety and depression. The website contains resources on managing these conditions.
- Head to Health is an Australian Government-funded digital gateway to a range of state and federal mental health support services and information.
If you need more help or are ready to open up about your mental health issues, there are programs state wide you can attend. Health NSW offers a centralised mental health services and contact list, linking those in need with all kinds of support.
Anglicare's team can help individuals of all ages and from all backgrounds.
Anglicare's mental health support services
In addition to government support, private institutions such as Anglicare are also working to help Australians better identify signs of anxiety and provide mental health programs to help. Our compassionate team of mental health staff offer a range of support services.
Mental Health Services under National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Anglicare Mental Health services aims to provide psycho--social support for people with mental health issues to enhance their quality of life and community inclusion.
Our aim is for people to live independently and manage their day to day well-being with choice and control in the services they receive.
Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) our services include:
- support coordination
- therapeutic support
- behaviour support
- capacity building sessions for people with mental health issues
Our highly-qualified and dedicated staff have guided numerous people through their journey of well-being, with the utmost compassion and understanding, ensuring that every person who comes to us is cared for.
Family Mental Health Support Service
This free service operates in the Shoalhaven and Port Kembla/Dapto areas as an early intervention support group for families with young children or young people affected by mental illness. Our focus is to achieve long-term well-being for the next generation.
Anglicare Art Space
Creative activities can be therapeutic for reducing mental stress and the fear of making social connections. Our arts program offers an encouraging environment for those at risk or currently suffering from fear and anxiety where individuals can develop artistic skills while re-engaging with a like-minded community. This free weekly group runs every Friday at Anglicare's Bondi Office at Bondi Junction.
Anglicare Mental Health Community Living Supports for Refugees
The processes of resettlement and experiences of trauma that migrants and refugees undergo can place your mental health at risk.
Grief, loss, trauma and anxiety can make it hard to adjust to a new life in Australia. People feel isolated from family, friends and others of a similar cultural background. Grief and stress can also be felt when one has to move and possibly change lifestyle
Anglicare Mental Health Community Living Supports for Refugees
This is a service where refugees and migrants can share their experiences and hopes. The service can help people to identify what their challenges are and develop tailored supports to improve wellbeing
The program is supporting the Western Sydney area – based in Parramatta and Mt Druitt.
Anxiety can happen to anyone, at any time of their life - you don't have to face it alone.
Reach out to someone who cares today.