Do past mistakes cause anxiety?

Do past mistakes cause anxiety?

One’s past mistakes might indeed be a primary source of anxiety for many individuals.

The level and intensity of anxiety experienced by a person depend on the nature of the mistake that they carried out and the type of impact it has had in their life.

Many individuals can put behind their past and move ahead with life however this isn’t true for an accountable number of individuals who carry their past with them consciously or unconsciously.

Anxiety due to once past mistakes can also be a result of some environmental or situational triggers that lead to the resurfacing of the memory of these mistakes causing an intense sense of anxiousness and worry.

It’s only when the anxiety resurfaces due to some environmental triggers is when an individual realizes how guilty they are about their mistakes and the ability to resolve them efficiently.

Anxiety due to past mistakes can also be due to the lack of awareness about how one’s subconscious mind works at the time of distress and weak mental stability.

Many individuals hesitate to talk about their mistakes with another individual be it family or a professional due to the guilt that they hold regarding the mistake that they made or the thought of being judged by another individual.

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety caused due to past mistakes?

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Light-headedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

What are the main triggers of anxiety caused due to one’s past mistakes?

Even though anxiety is seen among many individuals, certain triggers make some people more vulnerable to anxiety than others due to their past mistakes. Some contributing triggers of anxiety are:

Health diagnosis

an individual is more vulnerable to experiencing anxiety in the presence of chronic or serious health diagnoses such as cancer or diabetes.

triggers associated with health diagnosis tend to have a strong impact on an individual because of the strong negative thoughts and emotions that are associated with it.


it is believed that many over-the-counter medications may contribute to the symptoms of anxiety in some individuals. This is certainly because of the ingredients in this medication that makes an individual feel uneasy.

Use of caffeine

even though it is said that the use of caffeine helps to activate an individual’s system studies show that over usage of caffeine might lead to adverse effects such as anxiety or even depression.

Apart from the overuse withdrawal from caffeine may also lead to anxiety. hence it is suggested that individuals take conscious amounts of caffeine per day.

Skipping meals

Apart from environmental factors ones eating habits might also contribute to an individual’s anxiety directly or indirectly. When an individual fails to maintain their food timings it might lead to fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.

These fluctuations might make an individual feel jittery which in turn triggers anxiety.

Hence maintaining a proper schedule and diet is important for various reasons not just for energy but also for maintaining one’s mood.

Negative thinking

an individual’s behavior and emotions are certainly controlled by one’s thoughts. When an individual is upset and dwells on negative thoughts it further leads to discomforting emotions and detrimental thoughts causing a vicious cycle.

These negative thoughts are then projected to various areas of an individual’s life creating an overall sense of lack of control over oneself and the environment which triggers anxiety.

Financial concerns

many individuals experience anxiety due to their financial standing. Learning to manage financial triggers requires seeking professional help such as from a financial advisor.



Daily stressors as simple as traffic jams to major ones such as strained relationships might contribute to one’s intensity and frequency of anxiety and anxiety attacks.

However long term or chronic stress leads to long term anxiety and a build-up of negative taught processes and emotions that impact an individual’s mental health



Individuals might also experience anxiety because of interpersonal or intrapersonal conflicts.

The inability to resolve these conflicts might lead to the build-up of negative thoughts, emotions that overwhelm an individual and triggers anxiety.

Personal triggers

Personal triggers can be as minor as a smell, place, or even a song that reminds an individual of negative and discomforting experiences. Personal triggers can remind an individual of an unconscious or conscious dramatic event in an individual’s life that triggers their anxiety.

If you can identify and understand your triggers, you can work to avoid them and learn to cope with them. You can learn specific coping strategies to handle the triggers when they happen.

What are some ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques

Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.


A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals


When an individual is feeling overwhelmed setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

these coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.



Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief.

Online therapy 


In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium.

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation.

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Past mistakes though have their impressions in one’s past do not dissolve completely with time. It requires very little for individuals to be reminded of their past mistakes which lead to a sense of anxiety and helplessness.

This anxiety could arise from the inability to deal with the mistakes or a sense of guilt of committing the mistake. Many times individuals feel that getting over one’s past mistakes is as easy as not thinking about them.

However, the hard reality is that the subconscious mind usually stores distressing memories for longer than those of the positive ones due to the initial impact that negative memories create.

One’s past mistakes can definitely cause a sense of anxiety in individuals however these individuals must seek professional help to get over their past mistakes in a more reliable and graded manner.

Frequently asked questions

Why do I experience anxiety over past mistakes?

Experiencing anxiety over past mistakes can be given the term of rumination. While people worry about their future some individuals ruminate about events that have already happened and which they usually regret.

How do I stop feeling anxious about my past mistakes?

  • Actively practice mindfulness
  • Seek help from a professional
  • Look at mistakes as learning opportunity’s
  • Look for active distractions

Can the past be fixed?

The truth is one cannot relive the past or change the behaviors or reactions that they carried out in the past to change their consequences in the present. However, individuals must consider it as a learning opportunity to avoid mistakes that they made in the past