Understanding Anxiety

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future.

Anxiety is a natural human response when we feel that we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.

“For me, anxiety feels as if everyone in the world is waiting for me to trip up, so that they can laugh at me. It makes me feel nervous and unsure whether the next step I take is the best way forward.”

Most people feel anxious at times. It’s particularly common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they could have a big impact on your life. See our pages on how to manage stress for more information about stress.

If you are feeling anxious or experiencing a panic attack right now, see our page on how to manage panic attacks.

Anxiety can become a mental health problem if it impacts your ability to live your life as fully as you want to. For example, it may be a problem if:

  • your feelings of anxiety are very strong or last for a long time
  • your fears or worries are out of proportion to the situation
  • you avoid situations that might cause you to feel anxious
  • your worries feel very distressing or are hard to control
  • you regularly experience symptoms of anxiety, which could include panic attacks
  • you find it hard to go about your everyday life or do things you enjoy.

If your symptoms fit a particular set of medical criteria then you might be diagnosed with a particular anxiety disorder. But it’s also possible to experience problems with anxiety without having a specific diagnosis. Our pages on self-care and treatment for anxiety offer suggestions for help and support.

“You know that feeling when you’re rocking on the back legs of your chair and suddenly for a split second you think you’re about to fall; that feeling in your chest? Imagine that split second feeling being frozen in time and lodged in your chest for hours/days, and imagine with it that sense of dread sticking around too, but sometimes you don’t even know why.”

Anxiety is a normal human experience and everyone who is alive experiences some level of anxiety. When anxiety becomes so strong that it gets in the way of daily life. It is estimated that 1 in 8 children (12%) in England is living with a mental health issue including experiencing feelings of anxiety.

Black old wall realistic mockup

Families in Mind is a new project aimed at supporting parents and guardians to help their child cope with everyday worries and anxiety.

Content is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) an effective way to reduce anxiety symptoms. It shares education, tools and activities to help you as a parent/guardian support your child, delivered in a safe and confidential space.

It is educational but also filled with activities and tools that are practical and geared towards reducing levels of anxiety and sustaining that change.

This service is for parents and guardians of children 4-10yrs (supporting an anxious child) and parents of guardians of children aged 11-18yrs (supporting an anxious teen).

To access this free programme simply register by completing the form, which can be downloaded at the bottom of our web page and sending it to enquiries@yourvoicecumbria.org. Please allow 5 working days from your request being received.

Further information is also available below but if you would like to discuss the programme or have questions about how it might help you to help your child then please contact us via email at enquiries@yourvoicecumbria.org.

Families in Mind – Carlisle Eden Mind (cemind.org)