Anxiety SUCKS. It can catch you off guard, or it can infiltrate into your life as feelings of being on edge, nervousness, and feeling unsettled. It can show up at work, at school, at home, and out in social situations, and just when you are trying to fall asleep – BOOM. It’s there.

There is no way I am going to pass this exam. I can’t believe what I just said – would that be interpreted as rude? I don’t want to show up. Im uncomfortable. It’s hard for me to breathe. I am getting sweaty. I can’t go to sleep, I can’t leave the house. I have to get to school an hour early – you just never know what might happen.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you? These are the voices of anxiety. Anxiety can be a common reaction to life events, like taking a final exam, or speaking to your colleagues or coworkers. However, when it makes day to day life difficult, it can become a real problem. Anxiety can feel like its’ about everything and all and everything happening at once. You can feel like you are worrying about so many things in so many different ways, and stressing non-stop about things that are about to happen or could happen.

Anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms, such as heart pounding, sweaty palms, a having a knot in your stomach. However, not everyone experiences anxiety in the same way. The key is to become familiar with how your body expresses anxiety and noticing when, how, and under what circumstances it occurs.

Anxiety takes the fun out of any and all activities. When you are anxious, you are likely living in the past or living in the future, ruminating about anything and everything. You can feel like you never live in the present moment; you mind just goes elsewhere. And when you aren’t fully present, life can feel like it’s passing you by.

Anxiety can make you feel like you are in a fog. Brain fog is real – and it likes to hang out with anxiety. When your brain is overstimulated by racing thoughts, it becomes very difficult to live in the present moment, and you can find yourself questioning your memory or you ability to recall what you did the previous day or what you had for lunch. You may feel like you are working really hard, but accomplishing very little. Maybe your coworkers or family members have even noticed and mentioned it to you in passing. Often, these are the individuals who find that they never give themselves credit for their accomplishments and reward for their good work – they feel like they need to keep doing, keep performing, because nothing is ever “good enough.”

When you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, you may be tempted to isolate and hide from the world. If you believe that you are alone in your fight against anxiety, know that this is one of the most common and treatable mental health conditions. Ask yourself: Is now the best time to reach out for support? Am I ready?

And remember: You are not alone.

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