1 Introduction


“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear; not absence of fear.”

Mark Twain (1835 – 1910).


Some people call anxiety a mild or a minor disorder. However, for those people who have experienced the distress caused by anxiety, this probably feels far from accurate.

We’re all familiar with stress and with anxiety. It can help us focus and provides us with the “get up and go” to get things done.

It’s normal to feel anxious sometimes, for example before an interview or an exam. Normal anxiety only becomes a problem when it becomes so intense, or when it happens so often that it stops us dealing with day-to-day things.

For example, does stress or anxiety:

  • Make you worry or feel bad about yourself?
  • Stop you enjoying things?
  • Prevent you from being more effective at work?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, this Programme could be for you.

Anxiety and stress.

We feel stressed when we don’t feel able to meet the demands made of us. Stress tends to add up over time, so it’s common to find ourselves becoming stressed over things we used to take in our stride.

Stress affects us all, a little helps keep us “on our toes.” It help us stay alert and effective. Too much stress and we can become tense, irritable, and unable to concentrate. The more complex the task, or the less familiar we are with it; the more stress affects our ability to work effectively (figure 1).

When we’re stressed we can begin to blow things out of proportion, we become less able to solve problems, and can have problems remembering things. Too much stress over a long period can make us ill, as well as more prone to anxiety and depression, as well as a range of physical health problems.

We’re all different, so what stresses one person might not bother another person at all. Quite often, other people realise we’re stressed before we do.

It’s very important to learn to manage stress if we are to stay healthy.

Yerkes-Dodson Curve

Figure 1.

Anxiety and shame

If we suffer from stress or anxiety it’s very easy to feel ashamed, especially if our symptoms make us feel different from others. A lack of understanding from other people can make us feel much more ashamed of our fears.

The difference between the seemingly trivial trigger, and the extreme fear it can produce, can make it hard for people to understand and sympathise. It’s no wonder we try to conceal our fears.

People can make us feel worse by:

  • Avoiding us.
  • Being angry with us.
  • Thinking of us as weak.
  • Blaming us.

Being alone with anxiety.

Shame stops us talking about our problems, leads us to cut ourselves off from other people, and makes us become preoccupied with ourselves and our symptoms (figure 2).

Some people with stress and anxiety complain of physical illness, headaches and palpitations, or tiredness, rather than acknowledge their fear to others. Severe anxiety makes us feel were going mad. The physical symptoms of stress and anxiety are very real, and can be very distressing.

Anxiety Cycle

Figure 2.

What can we do?

It’s impossible to get rid of anxiety completely. We’re always going to come across things that make us anxious from time to time. What’s important is that we learn to manage our anxiety, so that it doesn’t take over our lives and make us miserable. To do this, we need an understanding of what anxiety is, how it affects us, and how we can better manage it.

This programme can help with understanding, and with the practical things which can help us manage stress and anxiety. We will introduce you to some new approaches, to help manage the thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms which accompany stress and anxiety.

We hope you enjoy the Programme and find it useful!

Next – Understanding.

Written by: SC.
Written on: 20 May 2019.
Last updated on: 06 June 2019.
Checked by: JL.
Checked on: 06 June 2019.
Date for review: May 2021.
Flesch Reading Ease: 72.