What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry or nervousness in relation to some form of uncertainty. Anxiety is often felt in relation to future events, or in relation to yourself and how you think others perceive you. These feelings of worry are linked to thoughts about imagining bad things happening, often in the form of “what if?” questions. Physical signs like sweating, shaking or heavy breathing can also occur.


Most people will experience fleeting moments of anxiety almost every day, but for some people anxiety becomes out of control. These people experience worrying thoughts and feelings very regularly and have difficulty controlling or “switching off” these thoughts. Anxiety then comes to dominate the person’s life as they feel unsafe interacting with the world around them and instead choose to withdraw. This is often the case for people suffering from one of the many kinds of anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are categorised based on what produces anxiety in the people suffering from them. If the anxiety is in relation to specific objects or situations, such as snakes, heights or being in enclosed spaces, these are termed phobias.