Bruce Gulland and Liz Waid give a scientific explanation for anxiety and share practical ways to deal with it.

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Bruce Gulland.

Voice 2

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Click here to follow along with this program on YouTube.

Voice 1

A man is sitting at his desk, typing at his computer. Outside of his window, the sun shines brightly. Birds are singing. It is a very pleasant morning. There is nothing frightening around him. But he is very worried. He is so worried he cannot concentrate. There is a tightness in his chest. There is a feeling of heat on his shoulders. His body is telling him to run. It is signaling to him that, somewhere, there is danger. The man knows there is no danger. But he cannot stop these feelings. He does not even know why he is afraid!

Voice 2

This man is living with an anxiety disorder. These psychological differences in the brain cause people to be afraid of things that do not make sense. Or they cause people to worry too much. But many people have anxieties, even if they do not have a disorder. Today’s Spotlight is on anxiety, and how to live with it.

Voice 1

There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders. Some, people are born with. Other people get anxiety later in their lives. But all people with anxiety have one similarity: an overactive amygdala. The amygdala is a part of the brain. It keeps emotions even and regular. It also tells the body when something dangerous is around. It causes the emotion of fear. In a healthy person, the amygdala does not activate much. But in a person with anxiety, the amygdala is very sensitive. It can activate because of things that do not make sense. Or it can activate for no reason at all. 

Voice 2

Anxiety disorders can make people’s lives very difficult. An anxiety disorder can cause people to act strangely. This can be very distressing. And it can hurt their lives, socially. One of these disorders is called obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. A person with OCD has disturbing thoughts. These fears will not go away. But a person with OCD will try to get rid of them. She will perform particular actions to get rid of her anxiety. For example, if she is afraid of getting sick, she might wash her hands. But this does not make the fear leave. So she will wash her hands many times in a row. She will wash until her fears go away. Sam Wicky is a sculptor. He has OCD. In 2020, he talked to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America about his OCD.

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“My OCD began at age seven. I remember sitting on a chair in front of my family. I opened my mouth wide and inhaled a lot of air. I was looking at my mother. I then held up my hand and blew out the air onto it. I would repeat this action over and over. But no one would say a word. They would watch in confusion. 

As more time passed, my OCD got worse. I began acting out other strange rituals. It was becoming difficult to get dressed every day. I would count as I put my clothes on. I would have to redo my actions if I started thinking of something bad. I knew something was wrong with me. But I could not talk about it. I then became frightened that my brothers would become like me – that they would also act out strange rituals.

Voice 1

Anxiety can also make it difficult to be in society. Some people with anxiety have a hard time doing their jobs or going to school. Kathleen Munro is an employee at Anxiety Canada. She has panic disorder. This condition caused her to have sudden, intense times of panic, or panic attacks. During these panic attacks, fear would overwhelm her. She would not be able to move, because she was shaking so badly. It made her feel like she was going to die. She wrote for Anxiety Canada’s blog:

Voice 4

“I could not control it. It left me feeling helpless. I could not commit to anything. I could end up caught in my panic at any time. I missed events with my friends because I did not want to admit I was struggling. I was so tired from pretending to be ok, and to avoid making others uncomfortable. I struggled to feel safe. And this kept me from fully living.”

Voice 2

One of the best things a person with anxiety can do for themselves is to be with other people. Talking to others can help them change the way they think. If someone you know has anxiety, it is important to keep in contact with them. Be available to listen, even if they do not respond. People with anxiety also often suffer from depression. Offering encouragement and support can help distract them from their fears. It can help put them on the way to getting real help. But do not try to solve their anxiety. And do not try to eliminate causes of anxiety. This can actually make the disorder worse. And it could make them depend on you. Joseph McGuire is a doctor at John Hopkins University. He writes,

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“Trying to get rid of someone’s anxiety seems really thoughtful and sweet. But anxiety does not usually go away. Over time, if people avoid difficult situations, the anxiety grows. And the person begins to ask more and more from you instead of working on their problem.”

Voice 1

If you have anxiety, there are many ways of working through these disorders. There is no single cure. Anxiety disorders do not go away. Instead, these are changes that you can make to your life that may help. Here are some ways of dealing with anxiety:

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Get regular exercise. Keeping active helps reduce stress, even in people with severe anxiety.

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Avoid caffeine, tobacco, and other stimulants. These substances can make anxiety worse.

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Drink lots of water. Not having enough water can make anxiety more difficult to deal with.

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Slow down and find time for yourself. Anxiety can often come from living under stressful circumstances. Avoiding those circumstances can help. But sometimes it is enough just to take a break.

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Seek medical help. While there is no cure for anxiety, there are many treatments that work. Medications called anti-depressants are very effective.

Voice 5

Talk to someone or go to therapy. Talking to a professional can help you understand your mind. A therapist can give you methods of working through your anxiety. They can help train you to overcome many of your fears. Anxiety does not have to rule your life. 

Voice 2

Do you have anxiety? Do you know anyone with anxiety? What do you do to help? You can leave a comment on our website at You can also find us on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Voice 1

The writer of this program was Dan Christmann. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. This program is called: Living with Anxiety.

Voice 2

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.


Do you have anxiety? What do you think is the best way to deal with anxiety?

Join the discussion

  • I’ve have anxiety since I was a child and I’ve learned some tricks to overcome it when it appear. Meditate (or pray) and do exercise. The first let me come back to the calm and manage the tougths when they come to my mind and the second help me to drain the stress and fill me of positive thoughts. Thanks for asking.

  • Yes, I do. My friend Iliana. I advice her to not drink a lot of coffee but she ignores me
    The best way for me it’s do exercise and keep your mind bussy or just talk with my BF or friends

  • Do you have anxiety? -Yes I do, sometimes
    Do you know anyone with anxiety? – Yeah, some of my friends
    What do you do to help? -I try to give an advice, talk about it
    What do you think is the best way to deal with anxiety? talk with someone you trust

  • I used to incur OCD in the past but it was not serious like some guys in this program, i am sympathetic to their feelings, for instance i know that i put a computer on my bag already but my mind still urges me to open the bag check again and if i don’t do that, i will feel very uncomfortable. For god’s sake right now i don’t incur this kind of disease anymore.

  • Yes
    1.- do some sport
    2.- talk to someone about your problems and get advice
    3.- make healthy activities that entertain the mind
    4.- go to the psychologist
    5.- eat and sleep healthy

  • Yes, I have anxiety in a long time from childhood until now. I always worry when I working or even talk to someone. I think that I will say something wrong or work in a bad way. It make me feel in depression without any treatment. I have to find a way to distract it. Play work out, practice breath, travel in a long time,…

  • My opinion avoid from any people have anxiety, you can find same people these are have thinking opened and ever don’t sit alone because this get on a lot thinking isn’t good .. I wish from my Allah about everyone have anxiety become well done soon spotlight English thx a lot about subject …see ya

  • As person struggle of anxiety ,for years ago i had terrible thought of future evey day ,i did not know how i did live for that long becouse i could not sleep as normaly humen becouse iwas thinking all time of what will happing in the future i had that herrible sence of my future but since four or five months ago i was practsing meditation this helps me alot to abandon all my fears and trust in my God giving

  • Hi every one
    thank you for this kind of topic . it was useful and in people’s needs . i don’t know if i have anxiety or not because i cant judge my self . but what i feel that i not feeling very well while i was riding a car . i cant feel relax and the most i hate is that the road time .

  • Yes,I do …sure I know many people who have anxiety there are many tips to reduce anxiety
    1/ spiritual side : for example pray meditation
    2/ sociable side : to take someone who cares you and loves you ,and go outside with your family and friends
    3/ take courses and training about anxiety or you can register with life couch
    4/ listen to broadcast about anxiety it helps to know your self how deal it
    5/take yourself a break by walking in the garden every day 30 minutes
    6/ doing any hoppy you like it and don’t forget breath every day at least 3 minutes

  • I have anxiety but not contiuos, when i feel in the anxiety i do some movements to rid the moments,
    First movement,i take a big breath, after that i go walking in the street for 30 minute to change my mood, and when i come back my home i do push app exercise,after that i feel become better

  • Yes…I used to not to have anxiety attacks prior to covid time. But during the covid period, I have developed anxiety attacks due to a lot of different fears. One thing about anxiety, the symptoms were almost like heart attack, rapid heart rates and sweating. I thought I had a heart attack, I checked myself into the hospital, but it turned out it was an anxiety attack. I still have it occasionally when my mind gets triggered with fears that associated with similar conditions. I am working with a therapist and hope that I can eliminate my irrational fears.

  • I see that best way to live with anxiety is avoid stimulants subtqnces and keep active through playing in gym or working on project that you like to work on.

  • I have Anxiety . It is very hard to live whit fear . I am always worried about everything .
    I can’t be normal or happy . I can’t breath if I am in a closed place . My family try to help me to get out from Anxiety . I hope I will feel better soon .

  • Thank you for this podcast, it’s very interesting.
    For your question hamdullah I don’t have anxiety but I’m think I’m a little bit stressed and worry about my future, I think a lot about getting a job and leaving my country.

    The best way for me it’s changing place I would like to live in a new country and Begin a new life style

  • The anxiety can go a way by do exercising specially in the morning to take enough oxygen and to seat and speak with friends and laugh.
    Also, be with your god the first time is the beat

  • Sometimes, my mom has anxiety and hard to sleep properly. The doctor advised her needs to go to sleep soon before 10PM and stops thinking when on the bed, try to do exercise every moning at lead 30-45 minutes.Avoid caffeine,tobacco,tea…aren’t good for heathy.Now she is getting better after 3 months.I think aboves the best ways to deal with anxiety.Let’s try it if you have facing anxiety.

  • No alhamdullilaah i don’t have this issue.
    The best way is to know everyone is responsible of his self if he did not try to resolve his problem i don’t think in this time there is someone will focus in your problem because everyone is now busy in his life .
    Go to a doctor that can help you in this problem and make activities that makes your brain dont thinks in this disorder.

  • How to deal with obsessive compulsive disorder? For example, your brain forces you to wash your hands because you are afraid of getting sick. Observe the mind with mindfulness. Don’t follow your brain’s commands. Don’t wash your hands. Get ready to suffer. Everything is impermanent. Suffering comes and goes. You have to realize or notice that nothing bad happens if you don’t follow your brain’s command – you don’t wash your hands.

  • I don’t have enxiety but i wanna gave for people anxiety some advance in my opinon there is many way for treatment anxiety and the best way change your life style forexamble do exrsice and healthy food also be socielty and i wesh you like it .

  • Yes I have anxiety since I was a child

    There are a lot of ways to deal with it :
    1-drink alot of water
    2-reducing caffeine intake
    3-trying to do some exercise
    5-talking with some freinds
    6-going outside with family
    7-and of course seeking the advise of a psychologist if it is necessary

  • I suffer for anxiety because the issues and stresses of life such as when I face fulness for the important things or when l lose fo the challange espially in education or work l fee destroyed and when I can’t achieve what l neded? For example goal, dream all this causes me anxiety. In addion, the best things makes me to fight worry it’s near for a god like prayer, read and keep Quran, fasting it’s in the important help me to avoid anxiety. Another way, I read different types of books such as: science fiction, muslim books, novels, short stories. Moreover, writing help me to reduce worry espially l love write and consider in the best hoppies and skills. And also I practise sport and listen podcasts. Travalling it’s the best things to avoid anxiety like when I visit my favorite countries, when l went with family in a trip to visit green spaces and the preety landscapes like flowers, trees, animals. this places to contain on pure air help me to build a strong positive energy and I hope and advice all people to visit this wonderful places.

  • Well, actually, I have no anxiety and thank God, but when I was in my last year of high school and because of the exams I was very nervous. My heart was beating very quickly from time to time, I was thinking there was a problem in my heart and I was very afraid. But the reason was my thoughts and my fear of the exam I knew it when I visited the doctor. What I think about dealing with anxiety is that people with it have to try to communicate more with themselves and discuss their concerns more deeply. It’s like wondering why I’m afraid of this when everyone doesn’t. What did I win with this excessive anxiety? This fear doesn’t benefit me, so God forbid I will fight it and I will succeed, and then they will develop a plan with the help of specialists to alleviate these symptoms. Day after day they put themselves in what makes them worried and trying to challenge themselves and trying to deal with it alone and bravely. And everyone with this disease I ask God to heal you and I tell you that you are very strong. And know that there are people who have been told that they are paralysed and will never walk, but with will and determination and Tawfiq Allah before that they walked again.

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