The Vicious cycle of anxiety is a diagram that shows how our thoughts, feelings and the way we behave can all be connected.

When facing a situation which causes you fear, you may have some negative thoughts such as ‘I can’t do this’, ‘Something will go wrong’ or ‘It will be a failure.’ This could make you feel very anxious, fearful or panicky and make you feel as if you’re in danger.

These feelings of fear can trigger the body’s threat response known as ‘Flight or fight’. As the body gets ready to respond to the ‘danger’ by running away or fighting we may experience some unpleasant physical symptoms such as:

  • a dry throat
  • sweating
  • feeling ‘butterflies’ in our stomach
  • pounding heart
  • dizziness
  • shallow breathing

Experiencing these physical symptoms can then affect how you behave. You might for example:

  • avoid situations
  • rely on safety behaviours
  • withdraw from other people
  • ask for reassurance
  • drink more alcohol

This can then make your thoughts even more anxious and the cycle continues…