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What's anxiety?

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

What's anxiety?

Definition 1

Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired may occur.

Anxiety means a lot of different things to people. One absolute is that we know it when we feel it. Anxiety is more prevalent in our society than ever before. All of our technology and "progress" and we are still scared animals.

Definition 2

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a difficult problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.

Anxiety isn't good or bad. It's a feeling that came along for the ride as we evolved. In today's society, most of our worries are artificial, but they feel very real to us. No longer are we anxious because we smell a predator nearby, we're anxious because of what we posted on social media, or if we're good enough, or if we'll come down with some disease. They are worries about "what ifs" rather than tangible, actual threats.


Anxiety disorders

Because anxiety is so common, we have many types of anxiety disorders. Two of the most common ones are generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Others include all of the specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, separation anxiety disorder and more.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:

Muscle tension

Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge

Easily fatigued

Having difficulty concentrating


Uncontrolled feelings of worry

Having problems sleeping or falling asleep

Panic Disorder

During a panic attack, people may experience:

  • A pounding heart

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Shortness of breath

  • Feelings of impending doom

  • Feelings of being out of control

Anxiety takes away a lot of our energy and time. If you're experiencing anxiety of any type, a combination of medication and psychotherapy can help. I encourage you to get help immediately if you are tired of struggling with anxiety. These [psychological flexibility tips](/tags/psychological-flexibility-tips/) can help you start changing your relationship with anxiety right away.

Quotes about anxiety

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” — Virginia Woolf

“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” – Dan Millman

"Living with anxiety is like being followed by a voice. It knows all your insecurities and uses them against you. It gets to the point when it's the loudest voice in the room. The only one you can hear." — Unknown

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“Anxiety isn't weakness. Living with anxiety, turning up and doing things with anxiety, takes a strength most will never know.” – Unknown

"Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action." — Walter Anderson

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.” —Anonymous proverb

“P.S. You’re not going to die. Here’s the white-hot truth: if you go bankrupt, you’ll still be okay. If you lose the gig, the lover, the house, you’ll still be okay. If you sing off-key, get beat by the competition, have your heart shattered, get fired…it’s not going to kill you. Ask anyone who’s been through it.” – Danielle LaPorte

"Slow breathing is like an anchor in the midst of an emotional storm: the anchor won't make the storm goes away, but it will hold you steady until it passes." – Russ Harris

“My anxiety doesn't come from thinking about the future but from wanting to control it.” — Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself

“I don't think people understand how difficult it is to explain what's going on in your head when you don't even understand it yourself.” – Unknown

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ― Amit Ray

"Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it." — Dorothy M. Neddermeyer

“Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it— just as we have learned to live with storms.” —Paulo Coelho

“Don’t worry if people think you’re crazy. You are crazy. You have that kind of intoxicating insanity that lets other people dream outside of the lines and become who they’re destined to be.” – Jennifer Elisabeth

"I am severely overwhelmed with everything. It's come to a point that even small tasks make me feel like breaking down and crying. Everything is just too much for me now." – Unknown

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

“It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.” ― David Foster Wallace

"Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment." — Grenville Kleiser

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” —Deepak Chopra

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale

"I literally have to remind myself all the time, that being afraid of things going wrong isn't the way to make things go right." – Unknown

“You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”― Brené Brown

“Feelings don't try to kill you, even the painful ones. Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You're responsible for its consequences, you're responsible for treating it.'re not responsible for causing it. You're not morally at fault for it. No more than you would be for a tumor.”― Patrick Ness

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