Suffering from anxiety for no reason? Discover common causes and how to get over it with a 3-step plan
Category: Better Moods | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 01-12-2015 | Modified: 12-04-2019
Why you're nervous or scared for 'no reason'
Do you suffer from anxiety - often apparently for no reason at all? Do you worry about anything and everything? Does logic not even seem to come into it? Do you constantly have the jitters? Are you feeling on edge all of a sudden, or even all of the time?
You might worry that, behind your back, people call you a wimp, a weakling or strange, but I certainly don't...
... I know you often get up in the morning feeling as if there's a lead weight in your stomach, dreading the day ahead. You may even be anxious about the anxiety!
Believe it or not - I know that you have the courage of a lion, because getting through an ordinary day often takes a heroic effort. It can feel like you're continuously walking on the edge of a cliff staring into the abyss. Yet, you do it, and you get through.
Doesn't that take pure courage?
I'm so glad you've landed here to discover what it's all about, and uncover some effective self-help strategies. This article is for you and/or your partner, depending on which one of you needs the help, as anxiety can affect all aspects of your life - including your relationship.
Here, you'll find...
7 strategies to set yourself up for success
Common signs and symptoms of anxiety (See also my in-depth article on the symptoms of a nervous breakdown)
A 3 step plan to ditch your anxiety forever
How to enlist the help of your partner (if you are in a relationship)
Anyone suffering from anxiety is in fact courageous and has nothing to be ashamed of
What is anxiety and what are the symptoms?
Let's start with the basics. What does anxiety mean? Here are some words to describe it: apprehension, fear, dread, trepidation, panic, nervousness, butterflies in your stomach.
There are three anxiety disorders: panic, social and generalised anxiety disorder. In this article I'm mainly aiming to help you deal with the latter - that constant fear in the pit of your stomach, often apparently for no reason at all. Suffering from one of the other forms? Do read on as my self-help interventions will help to settle you too, whatever your fears.
What is generalised anxiety?
Let's look at its worst form first. This is when a doctor may diagnose Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). You can decide for yourself how this compares with what you're going through.
Oh... and don't forget to also have a look at my page on the signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown - you'll find the link at the end of this article.
GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) is marked by:
Excessive worrying - your loved ones will no doubt have told you that you're worrying far too much. You too are likely to be well aware that your fears are OTT.
It is intrusive - you can’t help it: images of an impending disaster come into your mind against your will and they stop you in your tracks. It appears uncontrollable - it seems that whatever you try to do about it, the anxiety always wins.
It is persistent - that feeling of ‘something terrible is about to happen’ is with you almost 24/7.
It is certainly debilitating - it prevents you taking part in normal life. You make choices based on how you feel, not what you would like or not like to do.
It can be extremely distressing - no wonder that many people who suffer from anxiety also suffer with depression, and of course it can have a huge impact on your relationship too.
It can feel like you're anxious for no reason, completely out of the blue
So, now you can see what generalised anxiety disorder looks like when the symptoms are at their worst.
GAD is of course a label. The label may be helpful in the sense that you - or more likely, your doctor - has a shorthand description for a seemingly diverse set of symptoms.
If you're suffering from these awful, soul-destroying, energy-sapping symptoms of anxiety, you may not care much about what it's called. Or whether it's generalised or not, or classified as a disorder or not. You just want to put an end to it - now!
To find the best self-help strategies we need to look at the causes of anxiety first, as therein lies the answer to what you can do to help yourself.
But, before we get to that...
Feeling anxious for no reason? The positives of being a worrier
Yes, there are positives. You're likely to be the one that spots real danger, where others merely wander without thought.
You'll be the one to offer practical refinements to an impromptu and vague idea or plan. There's nothing wrong with dreamers - it's just that they need someone like you to balance the team!
And to be honest, I'd rather have a worrier as a dentist or an accountant - they'd think twice before pulling out a tooth or giving some dodgy advice!
Also, all of us have our own tell-tale sign (like the canary in the mine) that alerts us to the fact that all is not well. It can be physical or mental - so, for example, I'm likely get back-ache. Chances are that for you it'll be those anxious feelings.
Let's get to the bottom of your troubles now.
What causes you to feel anxious for no apparent reason?
Before we can begin to help you get over that constant feeling of dread, trepidation and nervousness, we need to know how and when it started. Then you can be clear about how best you can help yourself.
Have you always suffered? Did it appear (seemingly) out of the blue? Did it start after some kind of disaster? Has it built up over time and you now have chronic anxiety? Does it come on in waves? Do you often feel you're anxious for no real reason?
It makes a big difference whether or not the onset of your anxiety is due to a sudden event or if you've always been an anxious type - a worrier, someone for whom the glass is always half-empty, and even on a sunny day you can see the storm clouds ahead.
Is it in your genes?
If anxiety appears to run in the family, it may be that your genetic inheritance - that biological lottery - has set you up for some vulnerability to anxiety. That does not mean that you can blame your genes for you constantly being in a state of alarm. The story is far more complicated than that.
Not every timid, shy and anxious child develops into a fearful adult with anxiety problems. Lifestyle factors, parenting and other experiences, as well as your manner of dealing with stressors (stressful events and situations), determine the ultimate outcome.
Your personal development, and here the development of anxiety, depends on...
how safe (emotionally as well as physically) your environment was when you grew up
to what extent essential emotional needs were met (see link below)
whether or not you had parents who were overprotective
whether or not you had a parent who expressed constant anxiety
whether or not you were encouraged to become more resilient and deal with, rather than avoid, feared situations - at home, with friends and at school
These experiences would have shaped your own reactions and general attitude towards stressful situations and life-events.
So, what can you do about it?
You've always been a nervous type - chronically anxious? Regardless of whether that is through a genetic predisposition or any of the above, you just need to follow all the steps below to permanently get over that sense of panic. Unless you need treatment for traumatic reactions, decide to focus only on the here and now from now on.
16 Additional causes of anxiety and what you can do about them
The above causes of anxiety may overlap and/or be exacerbated by: -
Post-traumatic stress The solution: Follow the link (see below) to a number of my articles with all the advice you need to help yourself recover from this hugely distressing condition.
A sudden and severe loss The solution: Whether it was the loss of a loved one, your job, your status, your financial security, etc - this most of all needs reassurance. It is totally normal for you to worry, and walk around with a constant feeling of dread that at any moment there's going to be another bolt out of the blue. Chances are you'll notice yourself getting a little better day by day - depending much on your particular circumstances, of course. Regardless, you need not worry that you've lost your mind forever. You're going to be okay! Nevertheless, you'll definitely benefit from following the advice further down.
A general build-up of stress The solution: This not only requires you to manage the symptoms, but also to make some important decisions and lifestyle changes. It might be hard going to start with, but I know you can do it!
A general (poor?) state of health The solution: the latest is - believe it or not - that your bowels may be leaking toxins that can pass the blood-brain barrier and cause irritation. Whether or not your doctor is aware of that (many are not!), you may need their help, and there's much you can do yourself too. Inflammation is also linked with anxiety.
Nutritional deficiencies The solution: you guessed it - a better diet. Ditch the fast-food stuff for starters, but there's also a chance that your body isn't absorbing the nutrients you're getting from the good food you're eating. Deficiencies can also be caused by the contraceptive pill (Vit B12) and other prescribed medication.
Blood sugar instability The solution: stop eating sugar and sugary foods. Dr Kelly Brogan will tell you what else you can do. You won't believe how quickly your symptoms can disappear if this indeed is the problem.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)* The solution: Read up on the condition to get fully informed. Talk to your doctor to see if medication might be suitable for you. Consider making lifestyle changes to optimise your overall health and well-being.
Medication (acid blockers and the contraceptive pill*** in particular) The solution: do your own research first, then discuss with your doctor how you can make some positive changes to benefit your health.
Gluten intolerance The solution: do your own research and connect with a (medical) practitioner - doctor or nutritionist - who's well-versed in functional medicine.
Other allergies or intolerances The solution: clean up your diet for starters. Get Dr Kelly Brogan's book: a Mind of Your Own for a comprehensive way to sort your diet once and for all.
Menopause The solution: lifestyle adjustments and support to help you ride out the storm.
Childhood adversity, incl. trauma The solution: first of all - realise that you matter! You are unique, you have been born with unique gifts. The past need not define your future, You have already started your self-healing journey. Don't stop! I highly recommend you consider getting some counselling. See my page on online counselling for more information.
ADD or ADHD The solution - well part-solution: do whatever you can to create routine, create space and order, reduce distractions and triggers. Sleep and exercise.
Aspergers Syndrome - Autism The solution: if you suspect that you're on the spectrum you'll need a diagnosis. Start by taking this test.
Imposter Syndrome ** The solution: get on top of your tendency for perfectionism!
For all of these issues, you'll benefit from - and feel tons better for - following the advice on how to deal with the immediate symptoms that you'll find further down the page.
To start you off I'd like you to watch the video testimonials on Dr Kelly Brogan's website. Dr Brogan is a fully qualified and very experienced psychiatrist who treats people without medication! She's an absolute star in my eyes.
Don't let your fears determine what you do, won't do or can't do!
3 Potential medical causes at the root of anxiety disorders
It's important that your doctor or other health professional rules out any other problems you may have, such as:
These conditions can also cause you to suffer from anxiety, and anti-anxiety medication (if you were to be advised to take any at all) would absolutely not be necessary. Indeed, long-term it may make the problem much worse. I'd be delighted therefore, to show you how you can help yourself. So read on!
Effective 3-step anxiety disorder self-help plan
7 Self-help strategies to set yourself up for success
Before we start with the actual strategies:
Start with a medical check-up to see if you need to be treated for a condition other than your anxiety (and if you do, be sure to check Dr Mercola's website to inform yourself fully).
Know that if anxiety runs in the family you don't have to continue to suffer from it - we now know that we can turn genes on and off, depending on our own actions.
Accept that you need to employ a series of strategies consistently and patiently to get the best and most reliable long-term results.
Devise a detailed plan on how you're going to tackle the anxiety, based on all the information on my site and any professional advice.
Be open and honest with your partner if you haven't already told them about how you truly feel (more on that later). Alternatively, ensure you get support from a good friend if you suspect your partner is going to be less than helpful.
Share the following list with your loved ones (they need to know that I'm taking you seriously).
How precisely does the anxiety affect you? Share it...
Below is a list of what my clients have reported, regardless of the cause of the condition or disorder. Be sure to share it with your partner or friend so that they understand what it's like to suffer.
10 Common signs and symptoms of anxiety
are particularly sensitive to what other people think of them
worry excessively - constantly mulling over the negative outcomes of the ‘what if's’ - almost against their will
feel frighteningly out of control of their feelings
experience ‘anticipatory anxiety’ - worrying excessively long before and about a particular event or situation
tend to avoid conflict situations so as not to have to battle, both with themselves and those around them
make choices based on fear, not their true wants and dreams
have all kinds of unusual ‘silly’ fears - in other people’s eyes as well as their own
suffer from sleeplessness, which affects their mood and makes ordinary tasks the following day challenging, leading to poor health and even more worries
feel crushingly guilty for the impact of their anxious behaviour on their partner's, children's and even friends' lives
feel at times terribly ashamed of themselves
Anyone suffering from anxiety is in fact courageous, has nothing to be ashamed of and is worthy of love.
What are the best interventions to beat anxiety forever?
Remember that much of the above may lessen when certain health conditions that cause inflammation and/or any medical complications are resolved. Dr Kelly Brogan, MD has found an amazingly effective way to deal with all of that, including the anxiety. You may need no other treatment at all!
Also, the above signs and symptoms can be quickly - and positively - influenced by very simple and practical anxiety disorder self-help strategies, including self-hypnosis (see my article: Hypnosis FAQ and downloads).
I also want you to consider getting some professional help too, as all of the above are much related to... ... how you view yourself ... your perceptions of the world around you ... what you tell yourself about those perceptions ... how you react to all of the above
All of them are exacerbated by your undoubtedly very rich imagination (and I so hope you put that to good use in other ways from now on!).
Oh, and do also ask yourself...
Do you by any chance also 'use' anxiety to get out of things you just don't fancy for reasons other than the condition?
Could you possibly be setting yourself up to be the vulnerable one in your relationship (see further down in this article)?
Both need to be addressed if you're really serious about getting over your anxiety forever.
Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of change
3 Step plan to beat your anxiety forever
Step 1 - Self-help for the symptoms
Dealing with the symptoms is so important and they will reduce further by themselves over time as we tackle the causes and your lifestyle (Yes I know, that's the bit you may not want to know about!).
The best way to calm yourself is with self-hypnosis. You can listen to that soothing voice with its powerful messages as frequently as you need to. Know that with each time you listen, you're one step closer to recovery.
Do challenge yourself to continue to take steps out of your comfort zone in the morning, afternoon and evening. Each time you do, it's one more step towards overcoming all of the barriers your anxiety has previously put in your way.
Step 2 - Dealing with the causes
Again, this may involve a visit to a doctor. But then...
Do all you can to put an end to old hurts. Talk it out with the people who matter. And, if that's not possible, talk it over with someone you trust. Forgive, even if you can't forget.
Take whatever action is necessary to get over a traumatic experience (see links below)
Stop making excuses for yourself. You know now that courage is your middle name!
Stop blaming others for your 'issues' - you'll forever remain dependent on their actions and not your own. To a greater or lesser extent, all of us have 'issues'. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's time to take your life into your own hands and get back in the driving seat.
Put that creativity you employed to dream up all kinds of disasters to more productive use - in your mind and in reality: draw, sew, design, paint, write, or do whatever works for you. When you're busy creating, there's no space for worrying. And should you have time, day-dream about how easy everything is - in detail, using all of your senses.
Change your diet. This is absolutely one of the most important changes you can make.
Talk to a professional - it's so much easier today because of the ready availability of professional therapists online. You can chat not only about your anxiety, but anything at all that's bothering you.
Step 3 - Making lifestyle changes
Your anxiety is much less likely to rear its ugly head in the future if you commit to making lifestyle changes that protect your body, mind and environment from damage.
Now I'm going to refer you to my page on how to get over a nervous breakdown. I wrote that article for people who are on the far end of the scale with their anxiety - they've had a complete burn-out. They may or may not have previously suffered from excessive stress or anxiety, but the advice for you is the same as it is for them.
Next - enlist your partner's support...
Helping your partner to help you
8 Ways to enlist the help of your partner
Read first my article on effective communication (see links below), so that you are well-prepared for a full discussion.
Share this article with them. It will help them, if necessary, to take your situation seriously once they know that I'm taking your suffering seriously.
Tell him or her the full story about how you're feeling, when and how it all started, and when and how you're most at risk of being at the mercy of that anxiety.
Share your plan to overcome your anxiety. Take the time to work together in creating constructive solutions and plans.
Be prepared to stand-up for yourself If necessary - (see my page on communication), the last thing you need is to be undermined in your efforts.
Tell your partner you need their support, but in a different way than before if they've not previously got the message. But be sure to let them know, if necessary, that you will get better with or without their support
Arrange regular 'feedback sessions' by setting dates in the diary well ahead of time to keep track of (and celebrate!) your progress
I've given you lots of information and links to many resources that can help you with your anxiety. It might take a little time to digest it all - but that's okay! This isn't a race. You've already taken the first step towards making some positive changes, simply by reading this page.
Overcoming your anxiety for good will take some work on your part (sorry!), but the payoff is soooo worth it. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you'll get to where you want to be. I know you can do it - never forget: you already have the courage of a lion!