Your question: Why do I have such bad anxiety?

My reply:

Hi, I hope this message finds you well. My name is Cesar Guedez, a psychologist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. Through this blog I would like to explain the origin of your anxiety, reflecting on why anxiety can become very intense in people’s lives and how you can learn to cope with it.

Anxiety is part of life, a necessary emotion that appears when your brain perceives a threatening stimulus and demands an action on your part. The problem is when anxiety becomes too intense and recurrent, impairing your daily performance and your overall happiness.

When anxiety becomes too intense and recurrent you are likely to find yourself in a state of vulnerability that makes you more sensitive and reactive to anxiety episodes. This is not your fault, as you are not in control of your body’s automatic reactions to external stimuli.

Anxiety creates a feeling of discomfort that manifests itself in physical and emotional symptoms. When anxiety is very intense, you are likely to feel as if you are going to faint, have intense urges to cry and run away from a specific situation, as well as tachycardia, sweating, trembling and muscle tension.

Although it can feel scary to have anxiety (because it is), it is solvable, and the first step should always be directed at finding the source before implementing strategies to alleviate the symptoms.

Why do you feel intense anxiety?

There are several reasons that can make you feel anxious. A useful strategy for recognizing which areas of your life cause you anxiety is called “panic diary”. In this journal, you will write down the times of the day when you feel anxious, identifying where you were, what time it happened, and what people you were with.

This will allow you to notice a common pattern as to what areas of your life anxiety is most prevalent. Some of the aspects that most generate anxiety in people are:


Education can generate anxiety at any stage or level of education. The pressure for students to pass their exams and balance their time properly to meet all the pending assessments and at the same time, leave space for their personal life, is quite stressful.

Interpersonal relationships

Whether they are family relationships, friendships or couples, socialization causes anxiety because it often involves conflict and natural arguments between human beings. Interpersonal relationships are the cause of your anxiety when you have experienced many stressful encounters, which make you feel frustrated, annoyed, frightened or sad, with important people in your life.


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.


Work is stressful because it involves meeting demands, and our income depends on it to meet our needs. Work can cause you anxiety when there are sudden changes, when you are assigned new tasks or when you have too many responsibilities to manage.

Identity and self-esteem

Anxiety is also related to your perception of yourself and your identity. You may experience anxiety because there are things you don’t like about your body or personality or because you feel that you are generally dissatisfied with your life in more ways than one.

What can you do to deal with your intense anxiety?

Once you have identified the cause(s) of your anxiety, it is time to take action to lessen the overwhelming feeling of anxiety.

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. 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.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This technique consists of using your senses to dissuade emotional discomfort at a specific moment. It is useful when you are experiencing a lot of physical agitation or you feel that you have a lot of unpleasant thoughts, and find it difficult to control your emotions. Wherever you are, you will focus on identifying 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Whether you are in your room, in a car or a public place, you can sit and practice this exercise in silence, breathing slowly as you do it as many times as you feel necessary to decrease the anxious symptoms.

Reduce the pressure of everyday life

Most likely the cause of your anxiety is the daily stress caused by work, studies and family responsibilities. Therefore, it is important that you try to reduce the emotional pressure caused by all these daily activities and responsibilities, asking for help from your acquaintances or better organizing your schedule to have free time to devote to yourself.

In my experience…

Anxiety can consume people’s lives because it is an experience that demands a lot of physical and psychological activity. Although it may feel undesirable, anxiety is necessary from time to time in healthy measures. When your anxiety becomes too intense, your mind is telling you that changes need to be made to feel better about yourself.

These changes must go hand in hand, both by seeking to reduce the stress that suffocates you on a daily basis, and by learning new coping strategies to control anxious symptoms. You are in control of your own life.

I believe you have the ability to improve and heal these feelings of discomfort you are experiencing now. 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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