Feeling Anxious For No Reason (And What to Do About It)

Amber Murphy
Amber Murphy

Anxiety is one of the most common problems we have to face as a society- in fact, it is the most common of all mental illnesses recorded in US adults. And it can be caused by any number of diverse factors. These factors might be personal (i.e., an ongoing mental health issue), or they might be external (i.e., caused by influences in your surroundings or environment), or even a combination of the two. But knowing what causes you to feel anxious for no reason will make a big difference to your approach to handling it. So firstly, let’s take a look at some of the common causes of feeling anxious for no reason.

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Everyday anxiety triggers

Woman sitting on floor hugging her legs in an anxious position

Stress or trauma

This could be anything from rapidly-approaching work deadlines to financial problems to bereavement. Stress can affect us in all kinds of ways, and its impact is not always immediate. Sometimes it’s not until the pressure has lifted that the anxiety kicks in.

Relationship issues

If you’re married or in a long-term relationship, perhaps you are going through struggles. Or even if you are single, the pressures of the dating scene can be a common cause when you are apparently feeling anxious for no reason.

You may have thoughts of feeling trapped in your relationship. At this point, it’s very important to communicate before things deteriorate any further and express yourself to your partner, even if it’s difficult to articulate your feelings.

If your anxiety surfaces when you’re around people, you could be experiencing social anxiety.

Medical side effects

Some medications list anxiety as one of their side effects, so this is something look out for if you have had any recent changes to the medications you are taking. Likewise, medication withdrawal can also be a cause of anxiety, so make sure to consult your doctor if you think this may be the case. They will be able to provide you with guidance on how best to manage your side effects.

These are all prevalent scenarios, and ones which we are all likely to experience in one way or another. But what if you are simply feeling anxious for no reason? This is particularly frustrating and distressing. But the vital thing to remember is that anxiety always has a trigger of some kind, even if the trigger is not immediately apparent.

More Long-Term Causes

These solutions are designed for long-term problems. You can also try looking through our list of best apps for anxiety and use technology to supplement the things you do to find relief and a cure to your anxious feelings.

Woman covering face with hands and she's lays on the grass filled with anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is the name given by medical professionals to pervasive feelings of anxiety that won’t go away. If your underlying anxiety has been with you for six months or more, GAD may be the cause. If this is the case, it’s recommended that you seek medical guidance. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication to help you control your symptoms, including feeling anxious for no reason.

Depression

In many ways, depression and anxiety are inextricably linked. After all, they can both be majorly affected by chemical balances within the brain, but they are both also highly susceptible to external factors. As such, they can respond to similar kinds of treatment. Your general lifestyle can have an effect on both of these conditions, with factors like diet, levels of exercise, and the amount of sleep you get each night impacting significantly on your symptoms.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This ties into the previously mentioned traumas, which can cause anxiety. However, PTSD is a much more deep-seated condition. In fact, it can take a long time before it fully presents itself, and therefore it can sometimes seem as though its symptoms are without any recognizable cause. PTSD is the kind of mental illness which almost always requires support from a trained medical professional, so don’t be afraid to speak out and ask for help if you need it.

If you’re looking for some ways to cope and relate with your trauma, we have a list of PTSD quotes and PTSD songs.

While it’s useful to understand the underlying causes of your anxiety, that isn’t always helpful as a means of tackling those intense feelings of panic. You need an action plan. So firstly, let’s look at a few short-term tips for dealing with your anxiety when it’s at its height. Then we can take a look at more long term solutions to feeling anxious for no reason.

Short Term Tips

Man walking over log during hike in the great outdoors

These short term tips are to provide you a quick solution to moments when you feel anxiety for no reason. Also try out our list of anxiety exercises that can help you.

Breathe

Take a few deep, deep breaths. In for ten seconds, then out for eleven. This is an excellent way to regulate your pulse and heart rate, too, and to get you out of the panic zone. Do this for around five minutes, and the sensation of feeling anxious for no reason should pass.

Do something different

Go outside and get some air, turn on the TV, turn on some music. Take a look at a funny cat video online. Anything to take the edge off your anxiety and to distract your attention. This is a tremendous quick-fix approach, and an excellent way to offset the distress that comes of feeling anxious for no reason.

Talk to someone

Friend or family, it doesn’t really matter. Just give them a call and talk through what’s happening. Give them a quick rundown of exactly what it is you’re experiencing. Vocalizing the problem can go a long way toward reducing its psychological impact. If you feel like there’s nobody you can talk to, try seeking the help of a therapist.

Tackle negative thoughts head-on

Challenge those negative, destructive thoughts. Consider your specific thought patterns- why are they headed in this panic-inducing direction? Are they real, or are they merely imaginary? If they are authentic, what can you do about them? Can you start letting go? Are they thoughts of feeling overwhelmed?

Take a walk

Exercise is a perfect way to get your endorphins flowing and to reduce sensations of anxiety. So why not go and stretch your legs? Just wait and see how much better it makes you feel! Taking a brisk walk is a sure-fire way to alleviate stress and to diminish your overall anxiety levels.

Write

Pouring your anxieties out onto paper is one practical way of ridding yourself of them. When you read them back, you will notice how out of proportion your knee-jerk panic reaction was. Any writing you produce while you are feeling anxious for no reason can also be a useful basis for any therapeutic sessions. If you are planning to take up seeing a therapist to combat your anxiety, then make sure you keep any writing you have done while in a state of high anxiety. This will be valuable evidence in identifying your vital emotional triggers.

Long Term Solutions

Woman jumping for joy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a way of altering your negative thought patterns for good. It’s mostly a process whereby your prevailing negative thoughts are broken down into small parts, to help you identify individual triggers for certain feelings and emotions and work out how to deal with them. In a series of sessions with a qualified therapist, you will identify and analyze your negative thoughts and behaviors, You will then work to make positive changes on a day to day basis and create positive thoughts. CBT is there, so show you that whenever you are feeling anxious for no reason, there really is a reason, but one which is typically emotionally suppressed or otherwise hidden from view.

Mindfulness and meditation

It’s highly recommended that you practice mindfulness and meditation daily to combat pervasive anxiety. This doesn’t have to be too drastic- all it takes is setting aside a few minutes each day to sit in peace and quiet, to sit in a comfortable upright position, to focus on your breathing, and then to hone in on the thoughts and feelings that are concerning you.

You’ll be amazed at what a difference this can make. It will enable you to keep your stress levels in proportion by giving you a more realistic, philosophical overview of your sense of self and your place in the world. As such, it’s a sure-fire weapon in the battle against feeling anxious for no reason.

If you’re unsure where to start, check out our meditation app, Declutter The Mind. We have guided meditation practices designed specifically for emergency moment or long-term anxiety remedies.

Change your diet

Diet is one of the significant contributory factors to your general well being, so it’s essential to make sure you are eating the right foods that are going to benefit your mental health. Avoid sugary snacks like the plague; instead, increase your intake of leafy vegetables, nuts- particularly walnuts- and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, or tuna. Protein and Omega 3 have proven benefits for symptoms of anxiety, but if you can consult a dietician for further advice, it’s recommended that you do so. They will be able to devise a bespoke diet plan based on your needs.

Medication

There is always the medical option, too. Speak to your doctor if you feel you would benefit from medical support with your anxiety, and it may be that they can prescribe you a course of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). These are a variety of antidepressants with a proven impact on anxiety and panic attacks. SSRIs are a popular choice among antidepressants because they have the least amount of side effects. They work to increase serotonin levels in the brain, which has a proven causal link with depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Start feeling less anxious

We all have problems with feeling anxious for no reason from time to time. The critical thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to be that way, and there is always something you can do to relieve unpleasant panic sensations. Hopefully, this article has provided you with a handy run-down of all the fundamental causes and practical solutions to your anxiety problems. If you need more, check out our anxiety quotes that can help you feel a little calmer.

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