Your question: Why do I have anxiety everyday?

My reply:

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

Feeling anxiety is a normal and necessary experience. Anxiety is a warning signal that our brain perceives, sensing that it is at the mercy of a threat (real or imagined) to which we must act. In this way, anxiety can make you run away from a potentially dangerous situation, or give you energy to prepare for a stressful exam.

However, when anxiety becomes too intense and recurrent, it causes problems for people and can affect their quality of life. If your anxiety is daily, then it has become chronic anxiety. This type of anxiety is called generalized anxiety(1), which occurs constantly, most days, and with great intensity.

There are many reasons that can generate anxiety. In daily life we face multiple stressors such as money, health, work or family. But generalized anxiety makes you feel extreme worry about these aspects of your life during various times of the day and during most days.

It is overwhelming to feel anxious every day, however, there is a solution to your problem. There are strategies you can apply to decrease your symptoms and improve your quality of life, but first, you need to know how anxiety manifests itself in your body and find its source.

What does it feel like to have generalized anxiety?

Generalized anxiety can only be diagnosed by a health professional, so you should not rush to read the symptoms without first seeing one. The main characteristics in generalized anxiety revolve around excessive worry and a sense of uncontrollable fear that is felt for most of the day, most days. Some symptoms are:

  • Difficulty controlling everyday worries.
  • Emotional sensitivity; irritability, sadness or intense fear.
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • Tachycardia, sweating and agitated breathing.
  • Have headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains.

Why do you feel anxious every day?

There are different causes that can make a person feel anxious. Although others or yourself may think that some problems are “no big deal” the truth is that anxiety is not rational, and problems that may seem minimal to some can be generators of intense anxiety.

The main causes of anxiety are related to the stress of daily life. Work and its excesses, complications in interpersonal relationships, economic problems, health and concerns about self-identity and self-esteem are some of the most common causes for which people feel anxiety.

Journaling will help you identify the specific causes of your anxiety. Here, you will write down the details of each anxious episode you have during the day, indicating what was going on, where you were and who you were with when you felt anxious. This will allow you to find common patterns and pinpoint the areas of your life that you need to work on most to reduce anxiety.

How to reduce everyday anxiety?

Even if we wanted to, we could not completely eliminate anxiety from our lives. As I mentioned at the beginning, it is necessary in small doses for us to act in stressful situations. However, you can reduce your anxiety when it becomes too intense and recurrent.

Research has shown(2) that cognitive behavioral treatment is extremely helpful for people with generalized anxiety. In addition to seeing a therapist, there are strategies you can implement to reduce your everyday anxiety.

Relaxation and breathing

Gentle breathing is extremely effective in dealing with feelings of anxiety. Inhale for three seconds and exhale for another three seconds while closing your eyes. Rest one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. You can do this exercise lying down or sitting for 5 to 10 minutes a day when you begin to feel anxiety taking over your body.

Question your thoughts

Something I have learned through cognitive behavioral therapy is that our emotions and thoughts are not facts. Even if we feel them as overwhelming and all too real, we need to question them, because anxiety and everyday stress can make us think and feel things that are not true.

For example, it is common for people with job anxiety to question their performance and have self-esteem issues. When presented with a thought that tells you, for example, “you are inadequate at your job,” you need to respond to it in a rational way: “I am doing my best at work to improve my abilities.” By replacing a negative thought with a more rational one, anxiety tends to decrease.

Take time for yourself

The pressure of daily life makes it difficult for us to find moments of self-enjoyment and leisure. It is necessary that you have at least one moment a week to dedicate to yourself, to an activity of your preference, whether it is practicing a sport, going to the movies, visiting a museum or preparing a dish of your liking. This is a necessary sign of self-care and self-esteem.

In my experience…

Feeling anxiety every day is overwhelming and exhausting, both physically and mentally. That is why it is necessary and valuable that you identify it as a problem, as it is the first step you will take on your way to feeling better about yourself. By applying these techniques and seeing a mental health professional, I am sure that your situation will gradually improve.

The fact that you are seeking professional help through this message proves it to me, and I applaud you for making that decision and being on track to improve your mental health and overall, your physical health.

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