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How to Know if You Have Anxiety

How to Know if You Have Anxiety: A Blog Post Defining Anxiety, Its Symptoms, and What It Feels Like


“Just because I can’t explain the feelings causing my anxiety, doesn’t make them less valid” – Lauren Elizabeth


Many people who come into my consultation room echo the sentiment above. Some know they feel anxiety, but are unable to identify the cause. Others know they feel anxiety and can identify the causes, but are lacking tools to manage the emotion that often accompanies anxiety. Having anxiety can be a fearful experience, one that makes you feel out of control, but the antidote to fear is often information.

In this post, I will explore an overview of anxiety: what anxiety is, what the symptoms are, and what it feels like to experience anxiety.

1. What is Anxiety?

According to the American Psychological Association, “Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like blood pressure”. Anxiety is reactionary behavior that precipitates from life circumstances that don’t meet our expected outcomes. It usually manifests itself as worry or despair. It is important to bear in mind that anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful events, and having tools to deal with your anxiety or not is what causes some people to seek help while others are able to manage their circumstances. While, anxiety is normal in most senses, there are five factors to determine if your anxiety is abnormal according to the City University of New York:

  1. Social Deviance (behavior that begins to go against social norms)
  2. Emotional Distress (negative emotional reaction)
  3. Maladaptive Behavior (i.e. Drug abuse, angry outbursts, etc.)
  4. Dangerousness (Harm to self or others)
  5. Faulty Perceptions of Reality (i.e. Hallucinations, Delusions)

If you find yourselves meeting some or most of these five factors for a prolonged period of time, then it is advised that you consider seeking professional help for your anxiety.

2. What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

There are a wide variety of symptoms that accompany anxiety, but there are a few that are the hallmarks of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These symptoms can include:

  • Excessive Worry
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irrational Fear
  • Muscle Tension
  • Chronic Indigestion
  • Panic
  • Flashbacks

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but it is a good place to start. The symptoms of anxiety can range in severity, but sometimes anxiety can creep into your life little-by-little or all at once. Knowing the symptoms of anxiety and feeling the symptoms of anxiety are very different.

3. What Anxiety Feels Like?

There was an article that appeared on the Huffington Post on June 3, 2015 written by Alivia Hall that described in detail the feelings of anxiety. Her descriptions were incredibly vivid as she says that her anxiety was a burning feeling, as a voice that can’t be calmed, a restlessness in your soul that can’t be calmed, or a detached disposition to life. If those descriptions of the feeling of anxiety rings true for you and you relate to the description of having a “restlessness in your soul,” it might be time to seek help.

If you believe that you suffer from anxiety, don’t hesitate to ask for help to gain the tools necessary to handle life’s unexpected circumstances. Feel free to call me at 406-314-6313 or email me at I am excited and passionate about giving the proper care to people who suffer from anxiety.

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