What is the definition of anxiety? – Understanding anxiety and worry

Anxiety essentially is worry kicked up a notch. Anxiety has 3 components which include physical, psychological and emotional. Worry falls under the psychological/cognitive aspect, therefore it is a fraction of what anxiety truly is overall.

Anxiety in its entirety is the anxious and nervous feeling one feels about events of the immediate future, and sometimes with past events/triggers. So when asking yourself “What is the definition of anxiety?” the definition of anxiety can be complex.

It is a form of mental disorder that is characterized by excessive worry, which overtime, turns to physical symptoms. It is the feeling of impending doom in the pit of your stomach and a feeling that sometimes you cannot describe or understand, but feel regardless.

Psychological/cognitive aspect of anxiety

Anxiety in most cases is the worry of future events and things that have not happened yet. It the worrying about “what am I going to do with my life?” “Is this really the person I want to spend the rest of my life with?” “What if I fail my exam next week?” “what are people going to think if I mess up that presentation?” just to name a few examples.

It is human nature to want to know what will affect their lives and their life course. We as people want to know our life direction in order to avoid problems and debilitating results from making a possibly wrong decision.

That worry is what is keeping us in our minds and making us believe things and/or thoughts that may not be true.

Anxiety enables a person to fear every forthcoming day in their lives thinking about what is going to happen. It is the negative thought followed by physical responses by our bodies, and then the action we take to escape this negative feeling.

Physical component of anxiety

This worrisome feeling alters how a person may react, feel, and how their body reacts. Definition of anxiety on a physical aspect is essentially physical changes. Physical changes are prominent in long term anxiety.

Physical aspects of anxiety tend to show after the psychological. It is that worry and those negative thoughts that initiates the anxiety, leading to physical symptoms.

Feeling nervous and anxious at times is a normal reaction from our brain, in order to initiate what is called a flight or fight response. It is what pushes us to react in a time of danger or emergency. It is what helps us to jump in when we see someone chocking, and help them dislodge the food that is stuck and preventing them from breathing.

That adrenaline rush however lasts a short period and eventually goes away. Anxiety is that feeling on a constant daily basis that it is interfering with one’s life and daily tasks.

Emotional side of anxiety

what is the definition of anxiety on an emotional aspect? It is the expressions along with the feelings one may have, and show, from living with anxiety. It can bring about emotions perceived as rude or nice by everyone but yourself. Take perfectionism for example.

Perfectionist may be looked at as hardworking or  people-pleasers. These emotions however, internally do not feel so nice. From the more pleasant emotions as perceived from an outsider perspective, anxiety can also jump to the other side of the spectrum and bring out negative emotions such as sadness and anger.

Although anxiety is more so worry of future events, it is very much tied to depression as both tend to go hand in hand with one another. Because anxiety can lead to the emotion that is sadness, that’s where depression could creep in.

Depression is a feeling of sadness, emptiness, and lack of interest in daily life based on past life events. Perhaps a family member has died and that person grieved, but now cannot go on in their life and have lost motivation for simple daily tasks such as bathing and cooking.

Sadness resulting in a depressive state is a normal bodily response that tends to last less than 2 weeks typically. When depression is continuous and becomes chronic, then it becomes a problem.

Sometimes people can go from anxiety to depression and vice versa day to day, month to month, year to year. Although depression is developed from experiences, anxiety can be triggered from experiences as well.

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) is a past life event that triggers feelings of anxiety when discussed in present and future, as it brings upon those native feelings experienced at that given time.

If you are a war survivor, loud noises may trigger feelings of unease and worry years later in your life. If you are a rape survivor, coming close a male presence may trigger feelings of anxiety for years to come. Anxiety has many triggers that vary person to person.

What is anxiety caused from? – A list of triggers

Understanding what is anxiety and what causes it may be complicated. Individual factors combined with your own response to triggers, are what lead to anxiety. People may experience the same events but have different psychological responses to them that result in varying degrees of worry. Some common causes include…

  1. Excessive worry
  2. Excessive stress
  3. Life events
  4. Uncertainty for the future
  5. Lack of confidence
  6. Death/injury/sickness
  7. Strong emotional ties to person or object
  8. Changes in life
  9. Judgments by other people
  10. Failure
  11. Danger or threat
  12. Past negative experiences
  13. Excessive fear of the future and unknown
  14. Opinions of family/friend/society
  15. Fear of running out of time in life
  16. Uneasy relationships with friends, spouse, coworkers etc.
  17. Aging and accepting death
  18. Planning your lives and it not go according to your plan
  19. Expectations
  20. Doing too much, overwhelmed
  21. Unhappiness based on life decisions

Anxiety overall

All in all, constant anxiety is a terrible feeling. It’s a feeling nobody wants to deal with regularly and not a way anyone wants to live their life. It is a feeling composed of physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects from intense, prolonged worrying.

The definition of anxiety is based on individual worries, fears, past events and future expectations. The negative ideas and thoughts you feed your mind, specifically worry and fear, eventually form anxiety. This anxiety will lead to physical symptoms and bring about various emotions that can negatively impact your life.

However, it is important to remember If you have anxiety you are not alone. Anxiety is one of the leading mental health disorders that exist to this date.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) 40 million Americans are suffering from anxiety and growing as we speak. There is help and you can take action, you do not have to feel like this.

Some seek professional help while others who are shy, doubtful, or in disbelief may take matters in to their own hands and look for various products and services that may help them manage their anxiety from the comfort of their own home.

It is best to help find ways to cope before anxiety completely takes over your life. Resources are endless and here at theanxietyfreelife.com, one can find comfort in knowing that somebody understands their feelings and what they may be going through.

There must be understanding for anxiety and it’s individual effects as well as its effects on those around them.



8 thoughts on “What is the definition of anxiety? – Understanding anxiety and worry”

  1. I have always had anxiety since I can remember. I never really thought about me being a people pleaser and how that stems from my anxiety. It makes total sense though! I strive to go above and beyond to make others happy, that way I don’t have them upset with me. That way I won’t feel bad. Sadly, it doesn’t always work. And even becomes a crazy loop. I feel anxious even when doing the most. What if it’s not enough? What if they still get upset with me? What if they hate what I do for them? From an outsider, they would say just do you, don’t care so much what everyone else thinks. But it is so much more difficult than that. I take comfort in knowing I am not the only person who has these thoughts. Thank you for the information.

    1. That is what anxiety does to people, control their life. I am glad to hear you recognize these things within yourself.

  2. I have had clinical depression all my life. Basically, I do not produce enough mood-lifting hormones. I inherited the disorder from my mother.

    However, over the last few years, I have developed anxiety. More often than not, I have no idea what triggered the panic attack. I feel like something is wrong. The first time this happened, I called all my loved ones to make sure they were ok.
    Now, I take medication, which helps but does eradicate it only dulls the feeling. Thank you for pointing out the connection between anxiety and depression. I did not know they were related.

  3. I personally do not deal with anxiety problems, because my mentality helps me to look at things from a different perspective. However, many of my friends deal with anxiety, and this information will help me to help them! Thank you for this!

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