Who hasn't felt anxious, apprehensive or worried? These feelings are a normal part of life. Being able to anticipate things that might happen allows us to make plans and to consider the possible consequences of choices we make.
Those same abilities bring with them the experiences of arousal, especially when what we anticipate is negative or threatening. The whole point of the experience of arousal (e.g., increased heart rate, nausea, trembling, dry mouth, muscle aches, sweating, cold, clammy hands, etc.) is to get us ready to take action: fight or flight.
However, this becomes a problem when what we feel anxious about isn't likely or realistic, or is so far removed from us in time or space that being aroused serves no point. Sometimes anxiety is focused on things we cannot change or control so our anxiety doesn’t help us but distracts us from enjoying the things we could enjoy. In each of these instances, talking with someone (perhaps even to a therapist) is often the most effective way to reign in this unpleasant experience.
For some people, anxiety becomes overwhelming and impacts their lives on a daily basis. When this happens, normal patterns of anxiety can become something for which people need to seek professional help. Luckily such help is quite effective and can come in the form of psychological counseling, stress management techniques, or medication.
If you wonder whether or not your experience falls into this category, consider coming to the Student Counseling Services and talking to a member of our professional staff who can help you identify your needs. Also, take our online anxiety screening.
Anxiety is such a common problem that perhaps it would be helpful to talk about some other forms it takes. Below are some frequent anxiety problems and links to information about them.