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Anxiety in Everyday Life: What is normal?

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Is feeling anxious normal? Most people get a little nervous about something at one time or another. Events like exams or interviews can cause nervousness, making you feel like you have butterflies in your stomach. But then the event passes, and you feel great!

But what if that anxious feeling doesn’t go away?
What if you find these feelings are changing the way you live and how you interact with people? This is what happens when a normal anxiety level crosses over into what health care providers refer to as clinical anxiety.

Someone living with clinical anxiety does not have occasional butterflies. They live with a stress response that is always on alert. When your body’s stress response is always on, it can affect your body physically by causing:

  • Sweaty palms
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle aches from tension
  • Stomach pain
  • Sleep disorders

It also can affect how you think and feel by causing:

  • A sense of hopelessness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant worry and dread
  • Difficulty concentrating

With all these things happening to someone’s body and mind, it’s understandable they may change how they live their lives to cope. They may withdraw from others or avoid things they once enjoyed.

One of the most important things for you to know is that one doesn’t cause clinical anxiety to happen to them. You are not at fault. You are not to blame. Anxiety is a serious mental health disorder that according to the National Institute of Mental Health impacts an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults at some point during their lives (National Institute of Mental Health, 2023).

Help is available
People struggling with anxiety do not have to live under a cloud of worry and fear that seemingly follows them. Help is available. We deserve to live life on our own terms and not anxiety’s.

There are many resources available to you.

  • Primary care – Talk with your primary care manager about your experiences with anxiety. They can be an excellent person to open up to about struggles with anxiety and can help figure out next steps.

  • TRICARE coverage – Learn about all the different types of mental health care covered under TRICARE. Go to www.tricare.mil/mentalhealth.

  • Free online education – Take our self-paced course on anxiety – “What You Need to Know About Anxiety."

  • One-on-one coachingMeet one-on-one with a Chronic Care/Disease Management Specialist to help tackle anxiety and depression, and even nominate yourself.

  • Telemental health – Find a therapist or a psychiatrist who you can see according to your schedule. View your telehalth options. Referral requirements and costs are the same as in-person visits.

If your mind is racing and you feel like things are out of control, it can be difficult to acknowledge what is happening. However, this is when it may be most important to reach out for help. Take action as soon as possible to see what mental health care services may be right for you.

If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, talk with your health care professional about what you’re experiencing and possible treatment options. If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health distress, call 911 or 988 (Veterans Crisis Line), or go to the nearest emergency room.



National Institute of Mental Health. Any Anxiety Disorder. URL: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder. Last accessed April 11, 2023.