Joseph Rajagopal, Senior Professional Counsellor
Singapore Counselling Centre

More and more people are suffering from anxiety these days and it tends to affect them to varying degrees and disrupts their lives. In fact, anxiety affects all of us in different ways, one way or another. It can be intrusive and debilitating for some of us. Some of us even suffer from panic attacks and it strikes suddenly leaving us feeling shaken and stricken in fear.

Anxiety can be seen as one of the most prevalent mental health problems. Some of us live our entire lives with anxiety and they could be related to worries about financial problems, relationship problems, family problems, health problems, work issues, and many more, contributing to us experiencing a high level of anxiety in our everyday lives. 

People cope with anxiety in many ways. Some of us seek help from doctors while others resort to emotional eating. And there are others who cope with it by talking to their family members or friends or going for walks or doing exercises. But many cope by hiding themselves away from the world and may resort to consuming alcohol or cigarettes. 

Essentially, feeling anxious is a sign of not being able to cope with a situation in life. Our present era has come to be known as the ‘age of anxiety’ due to the enormous amount of pressure and stress that we experience in our lives these days, including uncertainties and demands that we have to meet in our personal and professional lives.

Most of us who suffer from anxiety are able to function on a daily basis but when we start to worry excessively, it starts to have an impact on our daily lives. It is normal to be anxious during moments when we are faced with financial difficulties or having to do a presentation to a big group of people or even meeting someone new. But for some of us, it begins to take over our lives. We become somewhat consumed by it and start to see things negatively and have a pessimistic outlook on life. 

Anxiety makes us feel edgy and irritable, and we have difficulty being able to relax or concentrate to complete the things we need to do. Our thinking becomes affected and we start to have fear and doubts and constantly feel that the worst is going to happen. We may then experience physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea. Our hearts may start to race because of the fear we are feeling inside of us and we become restless. 

We may have difficulty eating regular meals or sleeping well. Some of us become withdrawn and stop socializing and tend to isolate ourselves in an effort to hide within ourselves. We may feel helpless and hopeless. All of which will lead to us not being able to meet our needs and becoming deprived which may lead to long-term mental problems.

To be continued in my next article.