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Why Do You Get Anxiety? 7 Common Reasons Why


You're feeling anxious.

You're struggling to concentrate, are more irritable than usual and are unable to relax.

You're feeling uneasy and worrying a lot, and your sleep is suffering, leaving you tired during the day.

Lately, you've even started to feel panicky or had a panic attack and need more frequent reassurance from other people.

And you're wondering why this is happening?

Why do you get anxious?

Believe it or not anxiety is widespread, and it's normal to wonder what causes it.

Understanding the reason why you get anxiety will help you better able to control it.

Anxiety is understandable and treatable. You don't have to suffer from it and it is possible to overcome it.

Read through the reasons people get anxious and see if any ring true for you.

Prepare for a time where you have a deeper understanding of your anxiety and are better able to manage it.


1) You're Preparing

Everyone feels some anxiety from time to time.

Anxiety can be helpful. Feeling anxious before a dance act could make you alert and improve how you perform on the day. Getting nervous before a big speech may prompt you to prepare well.

Making a mistake in front of others and embarrassing ourselves are normal fears.

Anxiety is there to help you prepare and keep you safe.


2) You're Reacting to a Thought

The Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approach to anxiety stresses that a thought always precedes our fear.

If you're about to give a speech, for example, you may notice your hands shaking. If you have the thought, "oh no, everyone is going to see I am nervous, and I am going to make a fool of myself", then you’ll get more anxious.

Instead, if you think: "everyone gets nervous before a presentation, I'm sure I'll be fine. No one will see", then you may calm down and become less anxious.

According to CBT, your thoughts influence your feelings and body sensations (physiology). If you change your thoughts, you can decrease your anxiety.


3) You've Become Fixated 

If you've become afraid of one thing, such as meeting people, taking planes, needles, spiders or going outside, then thinking about doing these things could make you anxious.

Many of these are usual fears related to your survival (flying, spiders etc.) or a fear of social rejection (social anxiety).

Sometimes you can get caught in a loop where even just thinking about doing these activities causes severe anxiety, making you more afraid of them.


4) Your Anxious About Your Anxiousness

It's common to start getting anxious about the fact that you're anxious. This is especially common if you've had a panic attack because panic attacks are so frightening.

This kind of negative feedback loop is a standard part of anxiety. You're always wondering when your subsequent anxiety or panic attack will be, and you're never able to calm down and relax.


5) Your Life Could Be Better

Sometimes anxiety can seem not to have a specific cause. You can feel anxious, and you're not sure why.

One reason for this might be that, on some level, you don't feel your life is going in the right direction. In this sense, anxiety is a "calling". It's your body's way of telling you you need to change something in your life, even if you don't know what it is yet.

If this is the case, journaling or seeing a counsellor can help you gain insight.


6) Your Worried About Your Health

One particular type of anxiety is related to your health.

Anxiety causes a lot of physical symptoms, such as:

· a pounding heartbeat

· breathing faster

· chest pains

· feeling faint

· feeling sick

· headaches

· loss of appetite

· palpitations (an irregular heartbeat)

· sweating

· needing the toilet more frequently

· "butterflies" in your tummy

These are just a few of the physical symptoms of anxiety. Because there are so many symptoms, it's easy to mistake them for something else more serious, which can trigger health anxiety.

Health anxiety can cause a negative spiral.

In this spiral you're anxious, so you have physical symptoms, but then you worry about your health and become more anxious and get more physical symptoms and so on.


7) You Drink Too Much

Sometimes anxiety can be caused by simple things like drinking too much coffee, not getting enough sleep, or feeling stressed for too long a period.

Whatever the causes of your anxiety, it's helpful to drink less caffeine, sleep better and try to learn to manage your stress.

Remember, green tea has caffeine too, and that we need about 7-8 hours of sleep a night to function well.


Overcome Your Anxiety

You're wondering why you get anxious.

You're curious to know what’s happening to you and why.

And you're afraid – you feel that you'll never get better.

But anxiety is a solvable problem.

Understanding the reasons why you might be getting anxious is a start. Think about all the reasons above. Do you think any might apply to you?

If so, how can you make a change?

For example, if you're stuck in a negative feedback loop, can you start to break out of it? If you're not sure of the cause of your anxiety, can you find a counsellor who can support you in getting self-insight?

Although your anxiety may seem impossible to overcome, it is possible to get better.

You can banish anxiety once and for all.

Reach out if you need any support. I'm here to help.

About the author

Matt is a therapist who specialises in Stress, Anxiety and Anger Management as well as Relationships. He writes on a number of topics including Mindfulness and achieving Transcendence.

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