Anxious behaviour is something that we all experience from time to time. It can be a symptom of an anxiety disorder, or it can be a way of coping with stress in the short term. Understanding anxious behaviour and how to reduce it can help you manage your symptoms better.
The main types of symptoms of anxiety are
Physical symptoms of anxiety include things like muscle tension, headaches, stomach aches, changes in breathing and heart rate, nausea and hot flashes. These symptoms are caused by the ‘fight or flight response which prepares us for quick action when we feel threatened. More about fight-or-flight symptoms. Mental health symptoms of anxiety include things like worrying, feeling restless or on edge, difficulty concentrating and negative thoughts about yourself. More about mental health symptoms of anxiety.
Behavioural symptoms of anxiety include things like avoidance, checking or seeking reassurance, hoarding or ruminating over anxious thoughts. More about behavioural symptoms of anxiety.
Treat your anxious behaviour
You can reduce your anxious behaviour by learning how to manage your feelings of anxiety. See a list of ideas for coping with anxiety.
Anxious moods and behaviours are often associated with depression too, so you might want to take a look at some tips for dealing with depression as well. If you feel that your symptoms are controlled but still interfere with your everyday life try reducing the frequency or intensity of them instead.
It’s important not to wait until you’re feeling desperate before you seek help. Anxiety is treatable, so ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that could happen if I didn’t tackle my anxiety problems now’ and then remind yourself that ‘the only way out is through – what you’re experiencing now won’t last forever and the best thing you can do is to face it and get help.
If your anxiety symptoms are more severe you might need some extra support to get on top of them completely, try our section on looking for help.
More about reducing anxious behaviour
People experience anxious behaviour in different ways, but there are a few common types: Worrying about things such as ill-health or financial difficulties Avoiding situations due to fear of becoming unwell Checking activities such as making sure doors are locked Repeatedly thinking about certain events or problems Personal relationships can suffer when someone who experiences these feelings begins acting differently from how they want to be seen by others, and this can lead to isolation.
If you’ve been feeling more anxious than usual lately it might be difficult to pinpoint exactly how often your anxious behaviours occur – so why not keep a diary to monitor your symptoms? You could use our printable symptom diary sheet.
People sometimes worry that writing down their anxious thoughts will make them feel worse, but actually keeping track of what’s going through your mind can help you understand your thoughts and feelings better, and can help you work out what triggers them.
The key to breaking the cycle is to remind yourself that your anxious behaviours don’t make things safer, in fact, they do the opposite! So rather than checking the locks on the door again and again when you get home from work, sit down with a cup of tea instead. You might also want to try coming up with some grounding techniques to bring yourself back into reality.