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What Is Anxiety?

If you are asking yourself, "What is anxiety?" You are not alone. Anxiety is a word which is often used yet is best utilized when it is given definition so others can understand the challenges it causes.

Our goal is to not only define it, but also find appropriate responses to it by asking the question, "What is anxiety?" and then discovering ways to meet it through:

Defining Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural, physical response to fear or stress. While everyone faces anxiety at various points in their life, and is quite normal, if prolonged symptoms such as rapid or racing heart, difficulty breathing, persistent, unsubstantiated worrying, or panic attacks—it may be time to consider consulting the advice of a professional to determine if you can receive help for an anxiety disorder.

The Mayo Clinic names common anxiety signs and symptoms as:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense

  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom

  • Having an increased heart rate

  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

  • Having trouble sleeping

  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

  • Having difficulty controlling worry

  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety 1

The US Department Of Health And Human Services states the five most common forms of anxiety disorders are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Panic Disorder

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder )2

Though it may be scary to think about anxiety and how it could affect our everyday lives, looking into the causes, treatment options, and ways to manage anxiety can offer a sense of control many are looking for.

Fear is a powerful thing. And while it is healthy as a short-term warning light—it serves as a terrible master.

We welcome you to come with us on a journey as we look at what it means to shift an incomplete story of anxiety towards truth.

What Is Anxiety? - Video Discussion

Why Does Anxiety Happen?

Anxiety is a natural response to fear or stress. However, when an individual is constantly fearful, worried, or stressed—either due to current or past physical, mental, or emotional triggers, this has pushed beyond the boundaries of normal, everyday anxiety.

If that has occurring in your life, or in the life of someone you care for, know you are not alone—and there is no shame. This is a real situation happening in your life.

According to Healthline.com3, the primary causes of anxiety disorders include:

  • Trauma

  • Stress

  • Genetics

  • Personality

  • Gender 3 4 also shares 11 triggers, which spark anxiety incidents in someone’s life. These include:

  • Health Issues

  • Medications

  • Caffeine

  • Skipping Meals

  • Negative Thinking

  • Financial Concerns

  • Parties Or Social Events

  • Conflict

  • Stress

  • Public Events Or Performances

  • Personal Triggers 4

If you wonder if it is time to see a doctor, the Mayo Clinic 5 suggests involving healthcare professionals when:

  • You feel like you’re worrying too much and it’s interfering with your work, relationships or other parts of your life

  • Your fear, worry or anxiety is upsetting to you and difficult to control

  • You feel depressed, have trouble with alcohol or drug use, or have other mental health concerns along with anxiety

  • You think your anxiety could be linked to a physical health problem

  • You have suicidal thoughts or behaviors — if this is the case, seek emergency treatment immediately 5

If you do not believe it is time to consult professional guidance, but you do want private support, consider the Apps Collection available at: which hosts 53 different professionally-reviewed tools and apps which promote mental health.

Why Does Anxiety Happen? - Video Discussion

How Many Individuals Struggle?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.6

An estimated 31.9% of adolescents had any anxiety disorder.7

According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, an estimated 7% of children aged 3-17 have occurrences of anxiety each year.8

During the fall of 2018, 29.5 percent of college students in the U.S. reported that they had felt overwhelming anxiety within the past 2 weeks, and 18.9 percent reported experiencing anxiety in the past year.9

The Psychiatry & Behavioral Health & Learning Network shares that anxiety disorders may be grossly underreported, as one study 10 reports the discrepancy between retrospective self-reporting vs. diagnosis—showing number of cases was higher than patients previously discussed openly. See below:

  • Major depressive disorder: 4.5% vs 13.1%

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: 0.6% vs 7.1%

  • Panic disorder: 2.5% vs 6.7%

  • Social phobia: 12.6% vs 25.3% 10

How Change Your Narrative Offers Support

It takes courage to begin a journey to seek wholeness. Though many of us will face individual struggles in our own life—there are some struggles which feel as if they have the power to take the pen and write our future.

But you are the author—not any pain, brokenness, or hurt of your past and present.

The goal of Change Your Narrative is to create an environment of support along with hosting resources and tools which guide you towards wholeness.

One thought constantly pushes me towards the future. I would ask you the same question:

What if tomorrow was stronger than yesterday?

We are rooting for you, not only once you complete your journey, but every step through it.

If you are looking for a guide to help you process your story and walk a journey of wholeness - we would love to partner with you in the Anxiety Matters - Change Your Narrative Video Mentorship Guide.

Check out a sneak peak here:

Apps Which Offer Support

TalkLife offers online support similar to group therapy. Share anonymously or with your name.

Moodpath offers 14 days of check ins, providing an overview of your emotional well-being. Plus 100+ exercises.

Happify includes games and activities which elevate mood and build resilience through CBT, mindfulness and positivity.

What’s Up aids individuals in discovering the cause of feelings and thoughts though guided questioning.

Self-Help For Anxiety Management (SAM) offers an anxiety toolkit which tracks thoughts and behaviors, while also offering tools to combat negativity.

Panic Relief provides coping strategies, exercise, and breathing techniques to help move through a moment of panic.

PTSD Coach provides ways to understand PTSD along with how to find additional help.

BeyondBlue App provides tools to build and implement a safety plan.

Communities Which Offer Support

To Write Love On Her Arms -

  • Offers a search for free or low cost therapy options to connect with a therapist.

7 Cups Of Tea -

  • Offers chat rooms to begin a conversation, plus educational videos and when to seek professional help.

Lifeline Crisis Chat -

  • Offers free, online chatting with trained individuals.

Love Is Respect -

  • Offers education, support and advocacy to those facing complicated dating issues, along with a live chat feature connecting you to trained advocates.

Remedy Live -

  • Offers a faith-based videos on mental health issues along with trained advocates who want to connect.

Anxiety And Depression Association Of America -

  • Provides a listing of support groups, including a search feature to find a group near you.

Heads Up Guys -

  • Provides action points and support specifically for men from men.

OK2 Talk -

  • Offers online support, education, and relatable stories for teens and young adults who battle mental health.

Resources for Parents

The American Depression And Anxiety Association of America has a screening tool for you to use and share with your child’s doctor. It can be found here:

Identifying The Signs Of Anxiety In Children

  • Key indicators of anxiety, along with resources to help them. Apps Collection

  • Hosts 53 different professionally-reviewed tools and apps which promote mental health.

Anxiety Treatment Options

  • Discusses the various forms of treatments, medications, and resources.

  • Additionally, the Mayoclinic and CDC have helpful guides which can come along side of you as you find your child the support they might need.

NBC News created a check in with 14 questions to ask your child if you wonder if they are anxious.

Support For Families

The National Alliance On Mental Illness has a directory of support groups for you and your family.

The Society For Adolescent Heath And Medicine has a comprehensive listing of additional support options.

The Depression And Bipolar Alliance Support Alliance offers connection to local chapters.

Family Caregiver Alliance provides a map of network help in your area.

Insight For Siblings

Community Training Tools

Mental Health First Aid

  • Offers intensive, 8-hour trainings worldwide on topics of mental health.

National Association Of Mental Illness, Community Presentation

  • [From their site:] NAMI Ending the Silence presentations include two leaders: one who shares an informative presentation and a young adult with a mental health condition who shares their journey of recovery.

My Younger Self – Videos:

  • The Child Mind Institute created the #MyYoungerSelf campaign which seeks to begin a conversation for children struggling with mental health. Their page hosts short video clips of actors, athletes, and influencers who share messages of their own journey to wholeness.

Resources For Ministry Leaders

How to Build Education, Understanding & Community Around Someone Who Is Struggling


  • Offers a roundtable discussion of how to be supportive of someone who struggles.

Tips For Students – How To Talk About Mental Health

  • Includes several prompts which help students get started with beginning an important conversation, including a letter template. Can be utilized as a means for helping young people frame the discussion.

10 Free Ways Your Church Can Stop Mental Health


  • Offers actionable steps to create a haven of support within your community, along with links to get started.

How To Create A Suicide Prevention Policy

  • Offers your leaders a template for drafting policy and procedures when an individual shares suicidal thoughts with them.

Helping Young People Know How To Talk With Parents

Integrate Mental Health Awareness Into Your Programs:

Crisis Conversation Guides High School.

Resources For Teachers

Vantage Point Recovery

  • Guidance for teachers to help students who struggle with mental health disorders.

Classroom Mental Health

  • Provides insights for teachers to help guide students to navigate their mental health.

When Something’s Wrong – Strategies For Teachers

  • A Free PDF handbook for teachers

Tips For Talking About Your Mental Health

  • Includes several prompts which help students get started with beginning an important conversation, including a letter template. Can be used to young people frame the discussion.

Mental Health First Aid

  • Offers intensive, 8-hour trainings worldwide on topics of mental health.

Resources For Men

Heads Up Guys

  • Site offers male-specific action steps.

Man Therapy

  • Site uses humor to discuss difficult topics.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

  • Male-centered mental health resources.

Male Depression And Suicide: The Barbers Trying To Get Men To Talk About Their Mental Health: Channel 4 News

Face It Foundation

  • Provides guidance to overcome depression

Your Head: An Owner’s Manual PDF Resource

  • Printable PDF filled with resources and tools for those wanting to learn more about male mental health issues.

Resources For Teenagers Who Struggle

Time To Talk: Talking To Your Parents

  • Includes reactions to thoughts and feelings you might be having about talking with your parents and how you can build courage in order to find support.

Tips For Talking About Your Mental Health

  • Includes a letter template to help you get started with beginning an important conversation.

How To Tell Your Parents You Are Suicidal

  • Key tips for having an important conversation.


1. Anxiety disorders. (2018, May 4). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from

2. Digital Communications Division. (2015, August 21). What are the five major types of anxiety disorders? Retrieved February 29, 2020, from

3. What Causes Anxiety? (2016, June 23). Healthline Editorial Team. Retrieved February 29, 2020, from

4. 11 Anxiety Triggers And How To Identify And Manage Them. (2018, May 1). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from Kimberly Holland.

5. Anxiety disorders. (2018, May 4). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from

6. Facts & Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from

7. Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27. PMID: 15939839

8. Survey Results. (n.d.). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from

9. Elflein, J. (2020, February 13). Anxiety symptoms college students U.S. 2018. Retrieved February 29, 2020, from

10. Prevalence of Mental Illness Might Be Underreported. (2014, January 15). Retrieved February 29, 2020, from

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22 de mar. de 2023

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