Person outdoors with eyes closed, using earbud

Anxiety often is described as sustained, excessive worry that a person cannot control related to the anticipation of a future threat, such as a traumatic event. At times, anxiety can have a significant,  adverse effect on daily life, work, relationships and overall happiness. Anxiety also can manifest as an irritable, worried, restless and debilitating stress response lasting minutes to days. Almost everyone has had anxiety surrounding a stressful situation.

Anxiety becomes an obstacle to a happy, healthy life when it affects your day-to-day life in these ways:

Emotionally, anxiety can appear as:

Physically, anxiety can appear as:

The negative effects of anxiety

Left unchecked, anxiety can negatively affect your life in these ways:

Tips to combat anxiety

There are several things you can try to help combat anxiety, including:

Mindfulness is a meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you see and feel in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind to help reduce stress. Recent research shows mindfulness meditation may be as effective at reducing anxiety as medication for some people.

Try this exercise the next time your mind is stuck on the worry setting.

Sit quietly. Look around you and notice:

This exercise helps you shift your focus to your surroundings in the present moment and away from what is causing you to feel anxious. It can help interrupt unhealthy thought patterns.

When to seek advice or treatment from a medical professional

It’s recommended you speak to a health care provider about your anxiety should any of these situations occur:

Seek support from a therapist, medical professional, family member, friend, community support person, crisis line resource or a crisis center. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, a behavioral therapy plan, anti-anxiety medication and coping mechanisms may be recommended for your situation.

Recognition of anxiety is a key factor in dealing with excessive worry and moving forward in life. If you experience symptoms or difficulty controlling worry, ask yourself if it could be anxiety you’re experiencing. It’s important to share any concerns about excessive worry with your health care provider so we can help you identify ways to address your anxiety and move past the adverse effects of excessive worry.