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  • Anxiety – what’s normal, what’s not

    All of us experience feelings of anxiety from time to time. It is a feeling of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, fear or dread of what is about to happen or what may happen.

    Picture this scenario:

    You have your department's regular meeting the next day for staff to update each other about their current projects. Just the thought of speaking in front of your colleagues is making you anxious. You can't sleep the night before because of the anxiety building up in you.

    Finally, the meeting is over. You feel a huge sense of relief and begin to relax. But the memory of the meeting is still playing in your mind. You are unsure if you had made a fool of yourself. Your week passed by quickly with no problems at work. In the following week, you received news that the boss will attend the regular meeting. And he is known for being critical, not one to mince his words. On the night before the meeting, you toss and turn in your bed as the thought of the meeting fills you with some anxiety.

    It is normal to feel anxious when faced with new, unfamiliar or challenging situations such as going for an important meeting, a new date or make a presentation in front of an audience. You feel your heart pounding, your hands get sweaty or you feel the pit in your stomach. Although these situations don't threaten your safety, they can cause you to feel "threatened" by potential failure or embarrassment. These are normal feelings of anxiety. In fact, some degree of anxiety pushes us to do our best.

    Anxiety disorder

    However, if you are often preoccupied with unrealistic or excessive fear and worry, and the intense feelings of anxiety overwhelm you and interfere with our daily life activities and performance, you may have an anxiety disorder.

    Anxiety disorder can take on the form of

    • panic disorder,
    • phobia,
    • generalised anxiety disorder,
    • post-traumatic stress disorder and
    • obsessive-compulsive disorder.