What Causes Anxiety

There are several things that are causing your anxiety and some of the reasons behind your anxiety may not be quite what you think.

To begin with lets clear up the difference between anxiety and fear, because anxiety is internal and fear is external.

There are two components of fear, first you have the anxiety, which is all the worry, those what if thoughts and the disaster stories that you play out in your mind that causes you to react with fear.

Anxiety is like your mind doing a risk assessment, often when you're worrying about what might go wrong.

Then you have the direct fearful response, where you find yourself reacting with fear to something or a situation that is threatening, challenging or might pose a risk.

Anxiety and panic attacks can feel like a terrible experience, because the feelings and emotions are unpleasant and they make you feel uncomfortable.

But the thing that is more disturbing for the anxiety sufferer is the not knowing what is causing all their anxiety and panic, why they are having them and to cure your anxiety and panic attacks.

Anxiety can leave you feeling confused, disempowered and frustrated to why you're feeling anxious and what you can do to cure your anxiety.

Before you can begin to reduce and overcome your anxiety it is essential that you first understand what is causing your anxiety.

Why anxiety is your friend

The first thing to be aware of is, anxiety is not your enemy that needs defeating, it is part of an inbuilt mechanism that is actually designed to protect you and keep you safe.

Think about it this way. If you were about to face a life threatening situation, wouldn't you want to have your mind help you to avoid possible serious injury or even death.

Anxiety has its uses and it can help you to keep you guarded against any potential threats or hazards to you or your family, therefore it is not a thing that you want to get rid of entirely.

Anxiety and fear only become a problem when it starts to go off when there is no real danger and you are perfectly safe.

Unfortunately, this age old inbuilt safety mechanism is not without its flaws and become oversensitive and react with fear to false alarms.

So, when we speak about overcoming anxiety were talking about training your mind to only activate the anxiety mechanism and the fight or flight response when it is absolutely necessary.

Your anxiety attacks are nothing to fear and worry about, all they are is your fight or flight response going off to false alarms and situations or put another way.

It is the part of your brain that deals with your safety, being a bit too over protective and it is nothing more than your emotional brain making a mistake.

Your mind has evolved to follow the pattern of safety first, because as far as your mind is concerned, it is better to get it wrong than to risk serious injury or even death.

So the next time you have a anxiety attack, do not be alarmed or angry, just see it as your mind edging on the side of caution because it has learned that it is better to be safe than sorry.

The next thing you need to know is

Why is your fight or flight responses being activated to false alarms or in the absence of any real danger?

Bad experiences and neural connections

Sometimes your anxiety and panic attacks could be the result of a bad life experience. Let's say you got stuck in a lift or you had a bump when driving your car.

This could cause you to react with fear and panic any time you had to go in a lift, or if you had to drive your car again it might cause you to have an anxiety attack.

Often the high levels of anxiety will be preceded by  a series of anxious thoughts, worry and imagining that will occur leading up to the anxiety attack.

You have created a fear of the anxiety

One of the biggest causes of anxiety is, you have created a fear of the anxiety or have a panic attack.

Anxiety is not real, the danger does not exist, even though your anxiety is tricking you into thinking and believing that you're in danger.

Your body is reacting with fear even though there is no real danger, and what you really fear is the anxiety itself and having another anxiety or panic attack.

It is because you fear having an anxiety attack that keeps you locked in a vicious cycle of fearing the next anxiety attack.

The sensations and symptoms that are associated with anxiety is tricking you and confusing you, and your real issue is with the feelings of discomfort and not because you're in any immediate danger.

Your body should only be reacting with fear if there is a real threat or danger to your life, but in the case of anxiety there is usually no real danger.

If you have experienced anxiety for a while the anxiety can soon become normal for your brain, and as far as your brain is concerned nearly every situation can be a risk to you.

Your mind can learn to associate the fight or flight response to many different situations, including the bodily symptoms of anxiety.

Although the sensations of anxiety can feel uncomfortable, these symptoms cannot harm you neither can all those situations that you're imagining or the situation for real.

What is driving your anxiety loop is the fear of these symptoms and most people will go out of their way to avoid any situation that may make them feel uncomfortable, however this just gives the anxiety more power and control over you.

To end your anxiety you need to put yourself back in control of it by breaking the fear of it.


If you suffer with anxiety, then it will be more severe and intense if you're feeling overly stressed, tense or worried.

When you're stressed, anxious and tense it will throw your whole physiology out of balance and harmony.

People who suffer with anxiety get stuck in the fear state and their anxiety levels stay stuck on high nearly all the time, so their body never really returns back to its natural calm state.

This causes them to get stuck in a vicious anxiety loop and cycle, which can become a normal state of being for them.

In a genuine, real life threatening situation, your mind would activate the fight or flight response to give you a sudden boost of energy to give you more strength and power so you could fight off your attacker or run away quickly.

So you would burn off all that excess energy, and once the threat or danger was over, your anxiety would be switched off, and your body would return to a state of calm and balance.

If you suffer with anxiety, then because there is no threat to fight off or run away from, you will not use up all that extra energy.

This means the stress hormone cortisol and all that adrenaline that was released into your body will remain in your body.

It is estimated that it takes up to thirty six hours for the body to get rid of the adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol from your body.

What this means, if you suffer on an almost daily basis with anxiety, your body will never be able to return back to its natural resting state, not even when you're asleep.

Therefore, you will remain in a state of high levels of anxiety, your senses will remain heightened to danger, your anxiety would not get switched off and you will find that you react with fear and panic easily.

It is important that you learn to reduce and manage your stress, which should be combined with making sure you spend some time doing some relaxation techniques.

Anxiety is also a physical symptom so you will benefit from doing some form of exercise to burn off all that high levels of energy.

The mind body link

Our posture also can make us feel anxious and if you have been experiencing anxiety for quite some time, then it can cause your body to shrink in stature, where the person protrudes their head forwards, stiffens their neck and pulls the back of their head down.

But it is not just the shortening of the body in stature that can increase your anxiety levels, because some people will go the other way and they will pull back their shoulders, lift up their chest and lift up their head.

Both these postures are linked to the fight or flight response, which will cause the stiffening or or the shortening of the neck, which is linked to the fight or flight reflex mode.


One of the biggest causes of anxiety is avoidance, because avoidance is part of the fear mechanism and the survival process.

The primitive part of the mind has evolved to play it safe and it will very quickly learn to fear anything that we want or choose to avoid.

The majority of times, it is not the situation or things that you want to avoid, what your real problem, and what you really want to avoid is the unpleasant feelings and emotions.

Because unless there is a real genuine risk to your safety, the only reason why you want to avoid something is because of how those situations make you feel.

The reality is, in most cases even though the feelings and responses are very real, your anxiety is not appropriate and the danger only exists inside your head.

It is your dislike of the uncomfortable feelings and emotions that you're trying to avoid and they are causing you to feel frustrated, you will soon even develop a fear of these uncomfortable feelings and emotions.

Ever since an early age, we have all been experiencing a range of emotions, some good ones and some bad feeling ones.

Normally when we had these uncomfortable emotions we would allow them to flow through us and we wouldn't think much of them.

The problem starts when you decide that you dislike these feeling's and emotions and because you decide that you don't like experiencing these bad feeling emotions.

You decide that you will go out of your and you will do anything to make sure you don't ever experience them again.

This is the point when your anxiety issues really begin and the moment it turns into a massive never ending cycle and pattern.

But you have to ask yourself, how realistic is it to go through the rest of your life and never experience uncomfortable emotions again.

What you have to understand is, you cannot avoid emotions, and the harder you try the worse your anxiety will get.

If it is your strategy to avoid your feelings and emotions, then you will never

  • Grow 
  • Expand your comfort zone
  • Overcome your fears 
  • Overcome your anxiety or 
  • Do anything new 
  • Take on new challenges 
  • Increase your confidence 
  • Become successful
Although it is a good plan to aim to feel good as much as possible, if it is your aim to feel comfortable all the time, then you will be putting so many restrictions and limitations on yourself.

A better approach would be to learn how to keep your anxiety down to a bare minimum and develop the attitude of it is OK for you to feel uncomfortable from time to time.

The best way to overcome your anxiety is to face all the situations that make you feel anxious as well as learning to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable.

The thing with anxiety is, the more you learn to dislike it and the more you attempt to get rid of the worse it gets and it will trap you in the anxiety loop and cycle. 

Because the more you fear it and try to avoid the more intense and more frequent your anxiety will become. 

Until you create a situation where your mind learns to react with fear to the uncomfortable feelings, so the sensations of fear cultivates and breeds more fear.

Yes, it may feel unbearable to face the situations that cause you to feel anxious, but if you stay calm and you allow those feelings to flow through you and away, the feelings will soon subside.

If you decide to avoid every situation just because you don't like the feelings, then your anxiety will increase, because facing your fears despite how you feel will begin to reduce your anxiety.

Avoidance is the biggest problem and avoidance or removing yourself from a situation that makes you feel anxious will increase your anxiety.

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