How to manage anxiety

It is normal to experience anxiety when we find ourselves in periods of adjustment or in unfamiliar situations. The ‘typical’ pounding heart, sweaty palms and dry mouth that occurs when we: attend a job interview, write an exam or engage in a work presentation.

Experiencing anxiety can be functional within these limits and in certain situations. The question most people wish to know the answer to is: “When does anxiety become a concern?” 
Most often, anxiety concerns an event that is very important or that may be difficult. A functional level of anxiety for an upcoming job interview, for example, may involve thinking about all the possible ways it may turn out, this is called ‘scenario-testing’, which results in a person being very prepared. A dysfunctional level of anxiety, however, could result in a different person feeling wound-up and overwhelmed by the prospect of the abovementioned job interview that they avoid going altogether and miss out on an opportunity. 
There are a variety of anxiety disorders and diagnosis may only be conducted by a registered psychiatrist and/or clinical psychologist. 

Ways to manage anxiety

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: A relaxation technique that eases tension via the use of breathing
  • Stay in the present moment: Anxiety can make your thoughts live in a terrible future that has not happened yet. Try to bring yourself back to the present moment. 
  • Stay close to others: Reach out to your loved ones for support. Talk about your feelings and get their advice on how to cope with daily stressors.
  • Engage in exercise: Releasing endorphins and engaging in exercise may be beneficial in improving your mood.  
  • Psychotherapy: Contact a clinical psychologist and setup a session to discuss some of the anxiety symptoms you may be experiencing. 
  • Medication: If your anxiety is debilitating and you have tried everything, set up an appointment with your medical doctor and ask for assistance. 

Source: Kiara Sunder, Clinical Psychologist
HPCSA No: PS 0143480


Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided by the SPAR Group Ltd for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.