What is anxiety?

Many people suffer from anxiety. Every year, around 14% of all adult Australians are affected by an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is both a psychological and physical phenomenon. Symptoms of anxiety can range from a mild sense of general uneasiness to feeling like you are having a heart attack or are floating outside of yourself.  Some anxiety develops after an experience that overwhelms your psychological capacity to cope. Whatever the history, or mystery, behind your experience of anxiety, the earlier you access help and support, the better your recovery.

Some people confuse anxiety with stress. Stress reactions are normal responses to common stressors, such as being late for something important, or going out with your dream date for the first time. However, people who suffer from anxiety have excessive, irrational worries and avoidance of certain situations, which can become debilitating. For example if your anxiety prevents you attending lectures or speaking up in tutorials, that can greatly impact on your performance at university and your long-term quality of life.

Some people talk of anxiety as being like an invisible cage that constantly demands their attention, reduces their freedom and stops or limits what they can do in the their lives.

Feelings of anxiety can occur as a result of a stressful, worrying or frightening event or can seem "free floating" - not attached to anything in particular.

Both result in an uncomfortable and preoccupying feeling that can in itself cause further worry. It can be helpful to get some extra support to learn ways to deal with these feelings and thoughts.

How can counselling help?

Counselling can help you to understand what is happening, help you develop ways to cope and manage anxiety so that it has less impact on your life.

Make a time to speak with a counsellor at Counselling and Psychological Services for a confidential discussion of your situation.

Other helpful resources


Guided exercises

External websites

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