What does it mean to be anxious?

Anxiety is defined by Merriam-Webster as an extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency (use: anxious parents).

Anxiety: Symptoms, types, causes, prevention and treatment

Anxiety is normal, but sometimes healthy emotions. However, anxiety can lead to health problems in some people who suffer from the condition.

Anxiety disorders are one of many psychological problems which cause excessive anxiety, panic or fear in some individuals, causing a sense of fear. Mild anxiety can be vague and disturbing, and severe anxiety can severely deteriorate daily life.

Anxiety is an issue that affects nearly 40 million Americans. Amongst them are many people with traumatic mental illness. In contrast, 36.9% don’t receive therapy.

Impacting My Daily Life

Sometimes feeling anxious can be an issue in our daily lives. However people who experience anxiety often experience intense, excessive, and persistent worries and fears. Sometimes an anxiety disorder involves repeated episodes involving sudden anxiety or fear that peak in minutes (panic attack).

These anxiety or panic sensations interfere with daily activities and can become overwhelming and difficult to control. If you’re feeling anxious all the time, or it’s affecting your day-to-day life, you may have an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder.

How can I stop feeling anxious right now?

Some people experience heightened anxiety. Occasional panic is the common reaction to uncertainty over what will happen the following day, week or months. Psychologists describe anxiety as fear of a future threat. Think of conversations you’re afraid of that can put your stomach in knots and might be weeks before the event. Your heart could race in the middle of the examination. You may be asleep in bed worried that you could catch COVID-19 in the supermarket. I think people want to go away from their stomachs and sluggishness as quickly as possible.

Asking, “How to Stop Feeling Anxious Right Now?” WebMB says,

Everyone feels anxious from time to time. Occasional anxiety is a normal reaction to uncertainty about what’s going to happen next, whether that’s in the next few minutes, days, or months.

Mental health experts define anxiety as worry over a threat that’s still in your future. Thinking about a conversation you dread, for example, could twist your stomach into knots days before it happens. Your heart may race before an exam or presentation. You might lie awake at night worried about whether you’ll catch COVID-19 at the grocery store.

It’s also normal to want to get rid of those uncomfortable, pit-of-the-stomach feelings as quickly as possible. But that approach can make you more anxious, says David H. Rosmarin, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“When you worry about getting rid of your anxiety, you’re signaling your nervous system that you have even more to be anxious about. And that makes your anxiety worse,” he says.

Keep in mind that if your anxiety is long-lasting and interferes with your daily life, you could have an anxiety disorder. In that case, you may need treatment to overcome it.

Practical Tips to Reduce Anxiety

• Calm anxiety by accepting it
• Recognize and understand your anxiety
• Don’t criticize yourself for those feelings
• Know that you can have anxiety and still function well
• Do a reality check
• Share your anxiety with someone you trust
• Remind yourself that you’re safe
• Redirect nervous energy
• Take a mental break
• Just breathe
• Change your position
• Use a mantra
• Put your anxiety on a schedule
• If anxiety keeps you awake, get up

When does anxiety need treatment?

MedicalNewsToday answers this question by saying,

While anxiety can cause distress, it is not always a medical condition.


When an individual faces potentially harmful or worrying triggers, feelings of anxiety are not only normal but necessary for survival.

Since the earliest days of humanity, the approach of predators and incoming danger sets off alarms in the body and allows evasive action. These alarms become noticeable in the form of a raised heartbeat, sweating, and increased sensitivity to surroundings.

The danger causes a rush of adrenalin, a hormone and chemical messenger in the brain, which in turn triggers these anxious reactions in a process called the “fight-or-flight” response. This prepares humans to physically confront or flee any potential threats to safety.

For many people, running from larger animals and imminent danger is a less pressing concern than it would have been for early humans. Anxieties now revolve around work, money, family life, health, and other crucial issues that demand a person’s attention without necessarily requiring the “fight-or-flight” reaction.

The nervous feeling before an important life event or during a difficult situation is a natural echo of the original “fight-or-flight” reaction. It can still be essential to survival – anxiety about being hit by a car when crossing the street, for example, means that a person will instinctively look both ways to avoid danger.

Anxiety disorders

The duration or severity of an anxious feeling can sometimes be out of proportion to the original trigger, or stressor. Physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and nausea, may also develop. These responses move beyond anxiety into an anxiety disorder.

The APA describes a person with anxiety disorder as “having recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.” Once anxiety reaches the stage of a disorder, it can interfere with daily function.