Top 5 Signs You May Have Anxiety

By: Debra O’Shea, Psy.D. | NYC Anxiety Specialist

​“Anxiety disorders share features of excessive fear and anxiety and related behavioral disturbances. Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived imminent threat, whereas anxiety is anticipation of a future threat” (DSM-5). Everyone experiences anxiety and that is absolutely normal. We typically feel a little anxious when we have a job interview or a presentation. Feeling a little nervous, concerned or apprehensive around these events is to be expected. Research shows that we learn best when an optimum level of anxiety is reached. The optimum level is different and unique to each of us. However, anxiety becomes problematic when these feelings start to impact our daily living in a negative way.

Here are 5 signs you may have anxiety:

  1. Excessive Worry: If you find yourself worrying all the time and the worry doesn’t seem proportionate to the issue/event/activity then you may be worrying excessively. When this happens you may also find yourself seeking re-assurance from others that everything will be okay. If you find yourself in this cycle of constantly worrying about various things and you’re having trouble coping with your concerns, you may be experiencing anxiety symptoms.
  2. Difficulty Sleeping: Are you having trouble falling asleep and turning the worry off so you can get a restful night’s sleep? Sometimes you may find you have difficulty staying asleep as you wake up concerned about what is going to happen regarding your job, relationship or family issues. You may find you are tossing and turning at night and when you wake up, you don’t feel rested or as though you had a good night’s sleep.
  3. Physical Symptoms: You may have a stomach ache or headache if you are anxious about something specific such as an event or a meeting with your supervisor. Increased heart rate and sweating are also signs when people are feeling stressed and anxious and can be symptoms of panic attacks. Many people also have stress headaches which can impede everyday functioning. If these physical symptoms are not related to a medical condition, you may be experiencing anxiety.
  4. Attention and Concentration: When you feel stressed and maxed out, do you have difficulty with your attention and concentration? I know that when I’m feeling anxious and/or stressed about something, I usually misplace my keys. In this situation, I’m not paying attention and I do not remember where I placed them. In addition, you may also find your mind goes blank at the worst possible time such as on a test, giving a presentation or while interviewing.
  5. Keyed Up: Feeling restless or keyed up as well as being more irritable are signs of anxiety. Feeling tense, jumpy and on edge all of the time can impact our relationships in all areas of our lives in a negative manner. These symptoms can reduce your daily functioning and make work, school and home life more stressful.

If you are experiencing several of these symptoms and they are causing you significant distress in your life and you do not have a medical condition or another mental health disorder that may have similar indicators, you may be experiencing anxiety. However, there are some things you can do today to begin to feel better. Check out my blog where I discuss 5 ways to reduce stress today: If you have tried some of these strategies already and/or feel stuck, frozen, or as though nothing is helping, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional.

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