Real Woman Real Journey (RWRJ) Therapy for Women 


 Canadian Women's Wellness Network              Réseau Canadien du Bien-Etre des Femmes

Your thoughts are more powerful than you might imagine. The good news is: you have the ability to re-direct your unhealthy beliefs.

Anxiety and How to Cope

By Shatyra Williams, MSW, RSW
Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Excessive worry, fear, uneasiness, or panic can all have serious impacts on overall wellbeing if not tended to. When unexplainable constant fear has impacted your daily living, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder. 

Anxiety disorders range from different types (panic disorder, specific phobias, and obsessive compulsive disorder) to different intensities (severe, minor, etc).

Becoming informed is your first step towards getting yourself on the road to mental wellness.

The central characteristic of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive and chronic worrying that lasts for a period of at least six months (Nairne, J. 2004). This involves ongoing anxiety that cannot be linked to any one source. This type of anxiety is a general and applicable to even the most minor aspects of an individual’s life. Life in general becomes a worry. Unrealistic ideas and beliefs begin to interfere with logical thinking. Fear is directed towards possibilities that may be extremely unlikely to occur.

This type of ongoing psychological distress may reveal itself through: constant thinking about possible negative outcomes, intense fear of meeting new people or interacting with strangers, a sense of panic when confronted with the unknown, or inability to focus on things other than your worries.


Physical Symptoms

Chronic anxiety also has an impact on physical well being, specifically the functions of the autonomic nervous system (Nairne, J. 2004).

Physical symptoms resulting from chronic anxiety include:

 Irritability

 Sleeplessness or insomnia

 Digestive problems

 Chronic Diarrhea

 Frequent Urination

 High pulse

 High respiration rate

 fidgeting


Helpful Tips:

If you are suffering from symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, consider the following tips:

Keep in mind that you have the ability to take back control of your mind. With the willingness to improve your mental wellness and the ability to access helpful resources, you will be able to re-gain peace of mind.

Excellent resources to help with chronic anxiety include: speaking with a counsellor, connecting with a spiritual leader, seeing a doctor, or reading self-help material.

Engaging in Mindfulness activities can help you to feel grounded and in control of your mind.

Avoid extending your fears about one isolated event unto other areas of your life. For example, if you have one terrible experience with a stranger, try not to allow this to represent the turnout of all future experiences with new people.

It may be helpful to spend some time reflecting on where you may have developed the fears you are having. Ask yourself questions such as: Where did I obtain the idea that a catastrophe will occur? Who have I seen acting out in worrisome behaviours in the past? What has occurred in my past that is leaving me with this sense of unease?

Instead of focusing on removing fears and worries from your mind, work towards replenishing your mind with positive thoughts and ideas.

Challenge your own worrisome thoughts by questioning your own logic and taking the time to think of alternative outcomes to your worries or fears. For example "I keep worrying that I will fail my driving test, however in reality I did study, and practice, and I am familiar with the driving route so there is a good chance that I will pass the test."

Continue to challenge your own anxious thinking as often as possible. This takes power away from your fears. 

Use positive affirmations to guide your thinking: "I will be fine", "I can handle this", "I know all will work out for the best".

Never be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes it takes an outsider to help you get a clear picture of what may be really causing you such mental turmoil. Welcome support from others. That is a major step towards healing.


Nairne, J., Lindsay, D., Paulhus, D., Smith, M. (2004) Psychology: the Adaptive Mind. Second Canadian Edition. Thompson Nelson. 14 -567

About the Author

Shatyra Williams MSW, RSW is a Toronto-based Social Worker with a passion for women's wellness. As Program Manager of RWRJ's Artistic Healing Group, Shatyra teaches healthy coping strategies to women survivors of trauma. Through a variety of creative educational techniques Shatyra helps women to challenge themselves, to embrace their imperfections, and to love their journey.