It is normal for someone to become nervous or anxious from time to time. This is common when you have to give a speech or when you have financial worries, when you face a deadline, when you meet new people or when your relationship is going through a rough patch. However, anxiety or worries can become so forceful and overwhelming that it can take over your life.

When you are preoccupied and crippled with concerns, it may mean that your everyday worries have crossed over into an anxiety disorder. This is when you may benefit from psychotherapy. You may want to get help with your anxiety when you are struggling with any of the following anxiety symptoms:

Excessive Worry
Worrying excessively and constantly about a whole lot of things (big and small). Your worries are persistent and it leads to you feeling overwhelmed and fatigued. It causes a lot of distress and interferes with your everyday life.

Sleep Problems
You have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. You are chronically finding yourself lying awake and worrying about specific problems or nothing in particular.

Racing Mind
Your mind is constantly racing and you are unable to calm yourself down.

Muscle Tension
Anxiety is often accompanied by muscle tension. This may include stiff shoulders, clenched jaw, balling fists, etc. Sometimes people who are anxious are so used to flexing their muscles that they are not even aware of it anymore.

Irrational Fears
Some fears are specific to a particular situation or thing, such as flying, animals, crowds, heights, etc. The fear may be way out of proportion to the actual risk.

Social Anxiety
If you experience an intense nervousness and self-consciousness when you are being closely watched or when you perceive yourself as being judged or criticised by others. Sometimes you will endure certain social situations in extreme distress or you may avoid them altogether. Coupled with this, you worry about social situations before it even happens.

Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder
Panic disorders are different from the normal fear and anxiety reactions to stressful events. Panic attacks strike without reason or warning. Symptoms of panic disorder include sudden attacks of fear and nervousness as well as physical symptoms such as sweating, a racing heart and dizziness. Over time, a person with a panic disorder develops a constant fear of having another panic attack, which can affect your daily functioning and general quality of life.

A common feature of anxiety disorders is persistent self-doubt and second-guessing. Many people judge themselves very negatively and this can cause a great deal of distress and unhappiness. That critical inner voice can stop you from living a fulfilled life and reaching your full potential.

Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviour
People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms may interfere with many aspects of your life, such as work, school, and personal relationships. Obsessions are repeated thoughts or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include, fear of germs, unwanted thoughts, excessive desires to have things in a perfect order. Compulsions are repetitive behaviours you believe you need to do in response to an obsessive thought and may include, excessive cleaning, ordering or arranging, repeatedly checking or compulsive counting.

Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everybody double checks things sometimes. A person with OCD can’t control the thoughts or behaviours, they spend a great deal of time on the thoughts or behaviours and they usually do not get any pleasure from the behaviour or habit, but may feel a brief relief from the anxiety.

Perfectionists often spend a huge amount of time making sure that they never make mistakes and that every single aspect is flawless. Even though we often encourage perfectionism in our society, it can be associated with mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders. The fear of not being good enough creates crippling worry over many aspects of your life.

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Corrie ten Boom