The 21 Most Common Symptoms of Anxiety

symptoms of anxiety

I get a lot of questions about what are some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety. 

And that's a difficult question, because honestly, there's over 100... and that's way more than I can squeeze into a single blog post. 

So instead, I decided to research the 21 most common symptoms that people with anxiety can experience. 

So here's the checklist that I prepared for you of the 21 most common signs of anxiety:

The 21 Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

  1. Difficulty falling or staying asleep. Frequently having nightmares and waking up in the middle of the night feeling wide awake, exhausted and scared. As a result you often feel sluggish, demotivated and weak in the mornings. 
  2. Feeling severe nausea in stressful situations to the point of puking or diarrhea. Also, having very little appetite or taking unusually long to finish simple meals.
  3. The urge to frequently urinate
  4. Emotional numbness, or a general feeling of emotional detachment. When people you love and care about suddenly seem distant and cold. It's like you know that you love them... but you just don't feel that way anymore.
  5. An unconscious tendency to self-sabotage, avoiding rewards or successes in life. When you have a tendency to hit rock bottom and stay there. When you compulsively refuse rewards and avoid any opportunity of success in life.
  6. Frequently feeling like you're about to cry. When you often wish you had a safe place where you could just close the door and let it all out. 
  7. Tight chest, difficulty breathing, feeling like you have a lump in your throat... and no matter how much you swallow, massage your chest, or breathe deeply, it just won't go away.
  8. Being overwhelmed by a sudden feeling of dread... totally out of the blue with no idea why you're suddenly feeling that way. 
  9. Feeling like you're watching your life from third-person view. Feeling as if you were in a dream and the things that are happening to you were unreal
  10. Frequently feeling depressed. Depression and anxiety go hand in hand.
  11. Feeling trapped in your head behind a wall of fear... unable to cut clean and shake off your fears and worries. 
  12. Being caught up in a spiral of intrusive negative thoughts that you just can't stop thinking. It's like your internal voice won't stop commenting about every silly or awkward thing that has ever happened to you. 
  13. Short-term memory loss... when you have difficulty remembering stuff that you should know like names of songs or what someone told you a minute ago. 
  14. The mental movie marathon... when your mind keeps replaying mental images of past mistakes or future negative outcomes in your head over... and over... and over again... and you feel like you can't stop it.
  15. Frequently feeling fuzzy in your head like your mind is covered in fog... it makes you feel like you can't think clearly and you're confused. You need a time to collect your thoughts and "reboot" your mind. 
  16. Being afraid of everyday situations or trivial tasks that other people don't think twice about. When running errands, answering the phone, checking your emails or even leaving your home fills you with feelings of fear and dread. 
  17. Being easily startled by unexpected sounds. Jumpiness. When a dog barking behind your back makes you feel a sudden rush of adrenaline as you frantically check behind your shoulders. 
  18. Feeling obsessive concern for what other people might think of you. Whenever talking to someone you deem important, you feel concerned and anxious about what they'll think of you and how they'll react to you... to the point that you'll slur your words and say funny things when you finally do get to talk to them. 
  19. Having a hard time dealing with criticism. When every word of constructive criticism bruises your ego and makes you ruminate over it afterwards for hours. When criticism makes you feel ashamed and vulnerable.
  20. Persistent and excessive worry. When you literally can't stop worrying for long periods of time. It's like even small, trivial things can make you worry. Thing's like forgetting to tip the waiter or worrying if you turned off the lights before you left home. 
  21. Feeling like you're losing your sense of reality, like you're going crazy. Feeling like you're losing control over your thoughts, emotions and actions. It's like it's no longer you who decides how you'll act or what you'll say.... your body and your mind live a life of their own and all you can do is watch while they do as they please. 

The Bottom Line

The one common thing about the 21 signs of anxiety that I listed above is that they all have to do with fear. And that's because anxiety is, more than anything, a state of constant fear - but without a source

While most of the time when you're afraid of something you can point a finger at what it is that makes you scared, anxiety is different. An anxious person will, for the most part, be unable to tell you what it is exactly that makes them scared. In fact, in many cases they won't even know they're scared until they have difficulty breathing and have heart palpitations. 

Anxiety is fear without a source. It's unpredictable and uncontrollable because it has no specific source. And so it feels like anything can trigger your anxiety. It's this constant fear of lack of control and lack of predictability that slowly and silently heightens your sense of danger and makes you feel exposed and vulnerable in a friendly world.

To quote

Living with anxiety is like being followed by a voice. It knows all of 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.

So when you start to work on your anxiety, you have to start with your head... but you can't stop there. As you read through the list of anxiety symptoms above, you saw that they manifest in three realms: the mental, the emotional and the physical

So in order to successfully reduce your anxiety symptoms, you'll have to tackle it in all three realms of existence: the physical, the mental, and the emotional. 

Your First Baby Step


Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.

The first thing I recommend you do is... take action. Do 10 pushups. Go outside and run around the block. Grab a jump rope and knock yourself out. 

Feel the power you feel during and after exercise and notice how quickly it can reset your emotions and how different it makes you feel afterwards.

And start thinking about anxiety as a challange that you're going to overcome at some point. It's just a matter of time...

As Jaeda Dewalt, the brilliant artist and author of Chasing Desdemona says:

Anxiety, I will transform your into something useful and productive. I will not bow down to you.

So that's all for today guys. I hope you found today's blog post valuable. If you have any questions, just let me know in the comment section below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. 

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