Your question: Why am I anxious for no reason?

My reply:

Hi, I hope this message finds you well. My name is Cesar Guedez, a psychologist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Anxiety is a necessary emotion, as primitive as human beings themselves. Anxiety allows you to be alert to external threats, whether real or imaginary, demanding a physical and emotional reaction in your body. Therefore, although anxiety is natural, it can become a problem when it is very recurrent and intense, even if it appears in random situations.

It is possible that your anxiety appears “for no reason” because you are not aware of its origin. Emotions always have an origin, even if it is not rational. Anxiety can manifest itself unconsciously, causing confusion because you do not find the cause and therefore, you do not find a strategy to deal with it.

Before proposing any measure to diminish the annoying symptoms of anxiety, it is necessary to make an introspection to find the cause of your anxious episodes that at this moment you perceive as random and sudden.

Where does your anxiety come from?

There are many types of anxiety, therefore, multiple ways of manifesting and experiencing it. There is no single way to be “anxious” because it is a complex emotion that can occur in specific situations or in a generalized way.

Some people find it difficult to find the origin of their anxiety because the symptoms of anxiety block their perception, preventing them from being aware and attentive to what is happening in their life at the specific moment in which they feel anxious. Some things that may be causing your anxiety are:

Financial concerns

If you have experienced money worries, whether it’s that your income is not performing as well as you would like or that you have had a lot of expenses lately, you will inevitably feel anxious. Financial problems are one of the most common causes of anxiety in adults.


It is possible that your anxiety is related to social events: parties, meetings and group activities in general. If your anxiety symptoms start to get worse when you are in a space surrounded by several people, then your anxiety is related to socialization. People with this type of anxiety feel overwhelmed by the rancor, believe that people are badmouthing them behind their backs and have an urgent need to leave the place.

Everyday stress

There are many things in daily life that generate stress in people. From work and academic pressures to relationships, friendships and family. It is possible that your anxiety has its origin in accumulated stress experiences of your daily life, facing different demands that overwhelm you emotionally and generate episodes of anxiety.


A 2022 study (1) showed that daily caffeine consumption increases the probability of suffering anxiety episodes and panic attacks. This happens because caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and keeps people constantly alert, triggering anxious episodes when faced with daily stress.


Research (2) has shown that some people are more genetically predisposed to anxiety if direct relatives such as parents or grandparents have had anxiety disorders, even if these have not been diagnosed or addressed.


Traumatic experiences, especially if they involve physical, emotional and/or sexual violence, are common triggers of anxiety. This happens because the brain relives the traumatic event in seemingly random situations, even though it occurred some time ago. Therefore, the body manifests exhausting symptomatology when the brain brings the traumatic memory to the present, thus generating anxiety.

Physical health problems

If you have a diagnosed health condition such as diabetes, heart problems or hormonal imbalances, it is possible that the cause of your anxiety is related to distressing thoughts regarding your health. Having a medical condition causes many people to imagine doomsday scenarios of illness.

How does your anxiety work?

In general, regardless of the cause, anxiety works in a quite specific way in our brain. In the presence of something it considers threatening, our brain sends biochemical signals that trigger physical symptoms (such as tachycardia, sweating and muscle tension) and emotional symptoms (nervousness, sadness and fear). We call these reactions generated by the subjective perception of a threat anxiety.

Anxiety is closely related to thoughts, some of which are dysfunctional and generate an emotional discomfort that is difficult to control or prevent. Dysfunctional thoughts of anxiety are related to persistent fears or worries about specific or general situations.

For example, if your anxiety is related to social interaction, the dysfunctional thought may be “people here are judging me”, that generates the annoying symptoms of anxiety and makes you want to flee the place. The same happens with any other context; a thought triggers your symptoms, even if the message that thought gives you is illogical.

For this reason, the approach to anxiety should be directed to first, identify these thoughts that generate distress and discomfort, and second, to counteract them through logic.

What can you do?

To address anxiety it is necessary to know its origin, even if at this moment you may feel that it comes from nowhere.

Emotional recording

This strategy consists of keeping a record of every time you experience sudden anxiety in your daily life. In this diary you will write down the events related to the anxiety sensation, specifying where you were when it occurred, what activity you were doing, and with whom you were surrounded.

At first you may not identify a specific pattern, and you may feel that your anxiety occurs in more than one context. In that case, your anxiety has more than one cause, and is closely related to dysfunctional thoughts that make you feel anxious. It is important that in this diary you rate from 1 to 10 how much anxiety a specific situation generates in you. In this way you will know which aspects of your life generate the most anxiety and therefore will be the main ones to address.

Question your thoughts

Thoughts are not facts even though they feel like facts. One of the most overwhelming things about anxiety is the lack of control you have over the dysfunctional thoughts that trigger anxious symptoms. Therefore, you need to stop to observe and question the thoughts you have when you are going through a period of anxiety.

For example, if your cause of anxiety is academic and the thought you have is “I don’t have time to do everything and I will fail”, you should try to give a logical answer to that thought: “I can organize my agenda to have time to solve everything”, or “this allows me to learn to have a better organization in the future”.

Relaxation and breathing

Anxiety destabilizes your body with annoying symptoms that are difficult to control, but through progressive relaxation and slow breathing you can cope with your anxiety episodes and diminish the symptoms. Whether you are alone or in public, relaxation allows you to relieve these symptoms. You should close your eyes and inhale and exhale in 3-second intervals. In the meantime, repeat in your mind key phrases that generate motivation and pride. “You can deal with this situation,” “You have been through this before and have been able to get through it,” “You have the strength to deal with this problem,” to name a few examples.

In my experience…

Learning to control anxiety is a complicated process because in most cases, people are not even clear about its origin. Like any problem, anxiety requires the identification of a cause (even if it goes unnoticed) before managing its symptoms and obtaining an improvement for the person.

By getting to know your body and mind better, applying the above techniques and seeking professional help if symptoms worsen, you will be able to address anxiety symptoms directly and effectively, feeling better about yourself and your overall mental health.

Remember that you have the ability to improve your psychological state, even if during moments of anxiety or depression you feel hopeless. We can always make small changes that will pay off in the long run. The fact that you are contacting me to seek professional attention in psychological counseling is already a step, and I recognize and applaud you for that. You are already doing something and wanting to change always leads you in the right direction

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