Anxiety is a natural emotional response to a perceived threat. While this can be from immediate danger, often it is more from worry or fear when thinking about something that has happened in the past or something we think might happen in the future. 

We experience anxiety through our thoughts, feelings and physical responses. This is often referred to as the ‘fight, flight, freeze and fawn’ response.

When we feel under threat our body reacts by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which make us feel more alert and makes our heart pump faster to help send blood to where it is most needed.  

Fight-or-flight response.

While it may feel uncomfortable to us when we experience it, we all need anxiety so that we can keep safe and react to danger. However, it can become a mental health concern when it stays for longer than needed and starts to have a negative impact on how we live our lives.  

Have a think about your relationship with anxiety? 

Over the past week what are the different emotions that you have been feeling?

Happy, sad, anxious, frustrated, excited… 

My feelings over the past week..............

In the blank pie chart, map out how much of each of these emotions you have been feeling. 


We all experience an array of emotions, so sometimes one emotion, such as anxiety, can have a greater presence in our lives at certain times than others.  

Can we invite you to think of yourself not as an ‘anxious person’ but as someone who experiences anxiety as well as other emotions? 

Diverse multiracial and multicultural group of people isolated on white background.

Externalising our emotions creates space for others emotions to come into our life. 

Reflecting on your relationship with anxiety, take some time to consider the following questions: 

  • How long have you noticed anxiety as part of your life? (This could be after the birth of a child, the death of family member/friend, due to losing job/starting a new job, or something you have begun to notice in recent years. 
  • When anxiety is present, what effects does it have on your daily routine? Do you go out less/not at all, avoid crowds, increase your alcohol use, don’t sleep. 
  • What do you think anxiety wants you to believe about yourself? “I’m not good enough, I wouldn’t cope” 
  • How do you think it wants you to think? “It’s safer to stay in, alcohol will take away these negative thoughts, if I don’t go out no one can talk about me.” 

Thinking about which of the emotions you have felt over the past week. 

  • Which of these would you like to feel more of? ………………………………… 
  • Where were you when you felt like this? Were you with friends/family or on your own? Were you in your home/visiting/at the park?  
  • What were you doing? Chatting/shopping/walking/cooking? 
  • What could you do more of this week to increase the feelings you prefer? 
  • Increasing the space for feelings that we want decreases the space for feelings that have a negative impact on how we want to live.