Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, whether it’s a job interview, meeting a partner’s whānau for the first time, or if you’re about to have a baby (pēpi).

Some anxiety is helpful – it helps us react to stresses or potential threats, by quickening our reflexes and focusing our attention, and it usually settles once the stressful situation has passed.

Anxiety is when those feelings don’t go away, they’re extreme for the situation, and you can’t seem to control them.

When anxiety is severe or there all the time, it makes it hard to cope with daily life.

The feelings:

are quite intense
last for weeks, months or can keep going up and down over many years
negatively affect your thoughts (whakaaro), behaviour and general health
leave you feeling distressed and not enjoying life.
Anxiety can cause physical symptoms like pain, a pounding heart or stomach cramps. For some people these physical symptoms are their main concern.