Five signs of anxiety to watch out for

Young woman looking thoughtful

Anxiety covers a wide range of symptoms. Even if your symptoms are mild or only just emerging, you can get treatment and support from NHS Talking Therapies.

1 - Avoidance

Whether it's avoiding a social event that puts you on edge or putting off that DIY project, we can often be harsh on ourselves when we procrastinate or avoid situations that cause distress. But avoidance is an early sign of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, and shouldn't be ignored or dismissed as laziness.

2 - Distraction

You may also distract yourself from difficult feelings by doing more pleasurable things in the here and now.

If you find yourself zoning out on your phone or needing a drink to 'take the edge off' a difficult day more often than you'd like, these may be unhealthy coping mechanisms you have developed for managing your symptoms of mild anxiety. This can be a tell-tale sign that you're struggling with anxious thoughts or feelings. 

3 – Seeking reassurance from others

Sometimes when we’re feeling unsure we seek out second opinions or help from others to make a decision. This is ok if done on occasion, but can be a sign of anxiety when we regularly look to others for opinions or to help make decisions. In NHS Talking Therapies we call these things that we do to feel safer about a given situation or problem ‘safety behaviours’ and although they can help in the short term, they can lead us to think we need these ‘crutches’ to get by. 

4 – Trouble sleeping

Sleep is one of the first things to suffer in challenging times. Whether you're sleeping too much to relieve difficult thoughts or worries, or having sleepless nights from being unable to switch off and get to sleep or waking up worrying about something, it could be a sign that you’re stressed or anxious.

5 – Digestive issues and IBS

Did you know that gut and brain chemistry are closely linked? Stress and worry can create a feedback loop between your mind and your digestive system that can create a vicious cycle of feeling upset, which then can lead to further digestive discomfort  and greater stress.


NHS Talking Therapies can help you notice some of these patterns in your thinking, behaviour and physical and mental symptoms and break out of unhelpful cycles.

If any of these symptoms seem familiar to you, book a wellbeing assessment on 0300 365 2000 (option 2) to find out how we can help you.