Anxiety is starting to be seen as something to help us thrive. Dr Shanahan says, “People who don’t experience any anxiety at all are too complacent”. ‘Say you’re going to a job interview; you’ll naturally feel anxious beforehand. That’s healthy”.

Studies have shown that performance increases with anxiety but this is only true up to a point. Everyone needs to know their tipping point.

  • Prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs has risen by a 26% over the last four years.
  • Most prescribed are benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium but these can be very addictive if used regularly.
  • Causes are thought to be recessions that brings money and job security worries, addiction to technology so we never switch off and a relentless pressure to have it all.

Dr Shanahan warns against seeking medication as a quick fix to this kind of anxiety in an article in Zest. “You take one pill and it works, so why not take another one? Why not take three? Before you know it, you’re dependent and you start experiencing the very symptoms you started taking them for.” To manage anxiety some kind of therapy should be prescribed alongside medication.

Tips to manage anxiety:

1. Breathe – exhale for double the length of time to deepen and slow breathing

2. Relax – clenching your muscles as you inhale then relaxing them as you exhale can be an instant calming technique

3. Diet – sugar and caffeine can increase the feeling of jumpiness

4. Alcohol although initially it may relax you, it’s a depressant so cut down

5. Exercise can clear the build-up of adrenaline in your body and yoga can help you relax

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