What does anxiety feel like?
Anxiety is different in different individuals. One person may liken the ‘feeling’ to standing in the middle of building that is crumbling or falling apart without anything to protect yourself with. Another may describe the feeling as if they are standing on a merry-go-round which is spinning at a fast speed and feeling unable to slow it down or stop the motion.
Common descriptions of anxiety include the sensation of butterflies in your stomach or a racing heartbeat. Individuals experiencing anxiety often have nightmares, moments of panic (or panic attacks) or painful thoughts or memories that feel out of their control. The feeling of fear can be general or relate to something specific – a place, a person (or personality type) or even an event.
Symptoms typical of general anxiety are:
- An increased heart rate or heart palpitations
- Rapid / fast-paced breathing (hyperventilation)
- Restlessness (not being able to be still and calm)
- Problems with concentration
- Sleep difficulties (falling asleep)
- Nervousness and tension (especially muscle tension)
- Having a sense of impending doom, danger or panic
- Sweating (especially in the hands and feet)
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Fatigue and feeling physically weak
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Difficulties with managing and controlling fears and worries
- Experiencing an urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety