Is subconscious anxiety a thing? (A complete guide)

In this brief guide we are going to answer the question ‘’Is subconscious anxiety a thing?’’ We will explain what anxiety is and what brain mechanisms are involved in anxiety.

Is subconscious anxiety a thing?

Yes, subconscious anxiety exists. Basically, you feel the physiological changes start for no apparent reason. But in reality, it is because your brain perceives a threat signal.

Why do we suddenly start to feel uneasy and worried? Why do we suddenly feel our heart racing? We sweat, we get dizzy, the world turns and our stomach hurts. If you have ever suffered these experiences, you will know perfectly well what we are talking about. These are those times when you ask yourself “why do I have anxiety?”

The first thing to understand is that anxiety is a response to a situation that we anticipate as dangerous. In other words, sometimes we perceive threats that are not in the present but we almost assume that they will arise in the future…

Let’s take a simple example. We are afraid of spiders, a terrible panic. However, at any given moment we can anticipate and believe that they can be almost anywhere: when picking up clothes, when going to the bathtub, when crossing the threshold of a door…

The problem is aggravated when our mind loses control and fears our own fear. We fall into vicious circles where only anguish runs.

In the event that this anxiety leads to a generalized picture, we can go to the extreme of not leaving the house for fear of “something” that we do not know how to describe. They are very exhausting situations that can completely limit our quality of life.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a set of psychological and physiological processes that appear when real or perceived dangers are perceived, and that predisposes us to react quickly to the slightest sign that it’s necessary to do so. It causes the nervous system to remain in a state of high activation, so that it becomes more sensitive to unforeseen stimuli.

It’s an adaptive response of the human being, provided it’s proportionate to the stimulus that triggers it. It’s an alarm signal that if it’s prolonged in time for no apparent reason, it’s warning us that we have something to review in our life.

Anxiety begins to worry us when it appears suddenly, unjustifiably and for no apparent reason. If the physical symptoms are very high, we will also be scared. Tachycardia, shortness of breath, dizziness, muscle tension, etc., are some of the characteristic symptoms of anxiety.

When its appearance is maintained over time, in a high way and in the face of stimuli that do not pose a real threat, that is when we speak of maladaptive anxiety.

When anxiety occurs without prior warning or apparent reason, it can lead to a decline in self-esteem and the “fear of going crazy” typical of anxiety; this in turn generates a lowering of the mood and a feeling of helplessness.

Sometimes stress, the appearance of specific problems or difficulties, a traumatic event or the loss of a loved one are some of the causes behind anxiety.

Symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety is fundamentally characterized by two predominant sensations common in people who suffer from it:

Helplessness: feeling of lack of control, that there is nothing we can do to avoid imminent unpleasant internal and external events.

Uncertainty: feeling of ignorance regarding the future, which appears in a disconcerting way, generating discomfort and psychological distress.

In addition, it has a wide variety of symptoms in common with depression and a variety of other symptoms that differentiate it from it. Some of the symptoms most shared with depression are those characterized by a high negative affect such as worry, low concentration, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, psychomotor agitation, crying, feelings of inferiority, guilt or low self-esteem.

Instead, the most typical symptoms are fear, panic, nervousness, avoidance, instability, hypervigilance, perception of threat of danger, high sympathetic activity, etc.

On the other hand, within anxiety different syndromes are differentiated according to the organization of the symptoms around it. Thus we can find panic attacks, agoraphobia, panic attacks, specific phobias, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder or selective mutism.

What happens when I have anxiety?

When anxiety appears, little by little the illusion is lost, we feel that we do not enjoy anything, our mind is continually engulfed in thoughts that in most cases are catastrophic or repetitive. We feel, in short, that we are no longer the same as before and that we are losing control.

Also, a characteristic aspect of this condition is the isolation it causes. In fact, there is seldom talk about the social decline caused by, for example, generalized anxiety.

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology and carried out by Harvard University, reveals, for example, that people with anxiety concentrate on themselves, their thoughts, fears and anguish to the point of not being able to empathize with the rest.

It’s almost impossible to connect with those around us when our mind feels saturated and our own body gripped by tachycardia, exhaustion and nausea to difficulty concentrating.

On the other hand, something that we must understand is that anxiety by itself is nothing more than a symptom that something is not right in our life, probably on an emotional or personal level (with others or with ourselves).

It would be something like when we have a fever. High body temperature is not a disease in itself. However, it’s necessary to find out what has caused it so that it does not become something more serious.

To cope with that cough we first try to calm it and then we treat what caused it. Both things are necessary, the same thing happens with anxiety, first we try to reduce it and then we have to discover what is under it

What happens in your brain when you suffer from anxiety?

Did you know that chronic anxiety states alter brain function? Mood disorders in general and especially anxiety generate a large number of neuroendocrine, neurotransmitter and neuroanatomic alterations. Our entire brain, so to speak, is “hyperconnected” and reacting to that alarm signal that our brain amygdala has turned on by sensing the weight of fear or a threat.

In this way, the areas that are most affected are the limbic system, the brainstem and the superior cortex. This increase in cortisol in the blood will cause these structures to work at a different rate and thus, for example, that we cannot make decisions clearly, that it’s difficult for us to concentrate, that our memory fails, etc.

Emory University, in Atlanta, published an interesting study detailing these complex alterations, where, for example, the effectiveness of those systems that govern both our cognition and the emotional aspect is interrupted.

Fear and anxiety

If there is something characteristic of anxiety disorders, it’s undoubtedly fear. A diffuse fear that produces anguish and that does not have a clear cause. Several areas of the brain are key in the production of fear and anxiety. Especially the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure, and the hippocampus.

The amygdala is responsible for alerting the rest of the brain to potential threats and activating a fear or anxiety response. The hippocampus, essential for memory consolidation and learning, is responsible for storing dangerous events in the form of memories.

In most people, the feeling of fear is adaptive, protecting us from danger. But in people with anxiety disorders, this emotion is disproportionate and in many cases generalized, causing great anguish that can be very limiting. It’s also known that hyperactivity of the amygdala leads to the development of phobic fears.

Understand anxiety

All the reactions that anxiety causes scare us because we do not know how to manage them. However, if we try to control them by rationalizing fear and healing needs, emptiness, and anguish, our symptoms will ease. They will not disappear completely, but it’s a fundamental beginning.

Cognitive aspect

Being able to understand our discomfort will generate a feeling of tranquility. A good exercise is to ask yourself not only why I have anxiety, but to delve into other questions whose answer will help us overcome it:

  • When did I start to feel anxiety?
  • What images or thoughts go through my head at that moment?
  • How do I know that this is what causes my anxiety?
  • What do I tell myself internally?
  •  Are those fears real?
  • What would I really have to change in my life to stop having anxiety?

Behavioral aspect

Treating anxiety requires two mechanisms of action. The first will focus on rationalizing those fears, naming them, managing them, awakening strengths, promoting changes and learning to manage emotions. On the other hand, it’s essential to take care of our body and generate new behavioral habits.

Practices such as relaxation, deep breathing or mindfulness are ideal for channeling anxiety. Likewise, we must define what steps we will take each day: walks, hours of rest, activities that allow us to channel emotions and release pressure, etc.

In conclusion. We must bear in mind that anxiety has many origins and they are not always as clear as they seem. Knowing how to understand the shape of that inner creature that accompanies us on a daily basis will sometimes require consulting a good professional, changing life habits and mentalities.

It’s a delicate process that, in the end, will provide us with valuable tools.

So, Is subconscious anxiety a thing?

The anxiety attack begins when an alarm sounds in our brain, by some internal or external stimulus, conscious or unconscious, and physical changes begin to be generated. The body prepares to flee or fight. These changes cause an increase in adrenaline, heart rate, etc.

All of this happens automatically and you don’t realize it. When the person realizes that something is happening to her, she focuses all her attention on those bodily sensations and that increasing nervousness, and that is when she begins to interpret it. The problem is how you interpret those feelings, the catastrophic thoughts that you feed.

At the moment of the attack, the most important thing is to try to relax; sit down, close your eyes to reduce eyestrain and lower tension, as well as take slow, deep breaths and breaths.

Also, you should keep in mind that, despite how bad it is at the present moment, that feeling is going to end soon. You have to try not to fight panic, but watch it and let it pass.

It’s important to seek professional help so that we can understand what is happening to us, especially in the most serious cases, in which there is a significant disability.

Cognitive-behavioral orientation therapeutic interventions are aimed at changing the information processing mode; that is, to modify the way one understands reality and the way one deals with it. In some cases, treatment can be accompanied by medication.

Still, the most important thing is to rescue your own tools and resources to be able to face that fear.

FAQS: Is subconscious anxiety a thing?

Are panic attacks subconscious?

Panic attacks can occur in any situation. Often, the thoughts that produce panic attacks are subconscious.

How can I get rid of my fear subconscious mind?

Here are eight ways to take control.
Don’t figure things out by yourself. …
Be real with how you feel. …
Be OK with some things being out of your control. …
Practice self-care. …
Be conscious of your intentions. …
Focus on positive thoughts. …
Practice mindfulness. …
Train your brain to stop the fear response.

Is it possible to control your subconscious?

The matter of the subconscious is not yet fully understood. There is no way to ” control ” the subconscious because we don’t know exactly how it works. But, what we can do is take control of our emotions and conscious thoughts.

What are the 6 types of anxiety disorders?

Among anxiety disorders we find:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder.
Panic Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Can you be unaware of anxiety?

Being unfamiliar with the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety, you may not know what you are experiencing is anxiety.

In this brief guide we answered the question ‘’Is subconscious anxiety a thing?’’ We explained  what anxiety is and what brain mechanisms are involved in anxiety.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know!


Barlow, D. H., Blanchard, E. B., Vermilyea, J. A., Vermilyea, B. B., & DiNardo, P. A. (1986). Generalized anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder: description and reconceptualization. The American journal of psychiatry.

Spielberger, C. D. (Ed.). (2013). Anxiety and behavior. Academic Press.

Why We Feel Anxious. (2020). Retrieved October 17, 2020, from Psychology Today website:

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