Anxiety For No Reason? Here’s What You Can Do About It

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated March 28, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Are you one of the many people who experience feelings of dread or panic, constant worry about things that have not even happened yet, or anxiety for no specific reason? Many people are troubled by persistent worrisome thoughts, even though there may be no particular reason for concern. 

If you're experiencing these symptoms, you may have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD have a chemical imbalance in their brains that causes these symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiety can come out of nowhere

How does it feel to have generalized anxiety disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder that causes you to worry excessively, especially about things or events that have not yet occurred. It is also referred to as anticipatory anxiety.

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, but typical anxiety is provoked by an easily identifiable stressor, such as being late to something important or having to give a speech in public. With generalized anxiety disorder, the worry people experience tends to be chronic and excessive, and it may be about things others might consider trivial. 

For many people, anxiety fades quickly once the problematic issue is addressed and the physical symptoms of anxiety (e.g., sweating palms, racing pulse, rapidly beating heart, dizziness, etc.) calm down. A person with GAD may experience free-floating anxiety in which their anxiety is not tied to a specific situation. They might worry about personal health issues, their children's health, finances, relationships, and everyday life in general. This unwarranted worry can cause people to limit activities, feel unable to solve problems, have focus and concentration deficits, and have low energy. It can also lead to stress-related physical health problems.

What can cause free-floating anxiety?

Current research, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses, alongside other methods, consistently finds that for most people, free-floating anxiety can have various causes. For example, feeling anxious for no reason may be linked to traumatic events, certain personality traits, or underlying medical conditions. Even side effects from certain medications could be contributing to anxiety. 

In some cases, GAD symptoms may overlap with other anxiety-related disorders, such as panic disorder. Panic attacks typically involve sudden and intense feelings of fear or acute discomfort, along with physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, and shortness of breath. Differentiating GAD from other anxiety disorders is key to receiving the appropriate treatment.

How to cope with generalized anxiety disorder

There are many ways to learn how to cope with constant or occasional anxiety. For example, changing some of your behaviors to help minimize stress can change your mental state. Try implementing a few of these strategies to minimize and prevent anxiety over time.

Deep breathing and meditation

Focusing on your breath is a proven way to calm anxiety. Studies show that the way you breathe can affect your mood and energy level. Also, this practice gives you something to distract you from your anxious thoughts. When you're anxious, you may find your breath becomes rapid and shallow. Therefore, try to take slow, natural breaths and return to a slower breathing pace to help yourself calm down. When you breathe, pay attention to how your belly rises and falls. Shallow breaths happen high up in your chest, and deep breaths come from the abdomen.


To take the focus on breathing to the next level, try meditation. Meditating each morning or before you go to bed at night can be a good habit for preventing or reducing general anxiety. The goal is to focus on your natural inhales and exhales. When any negative, anxious, or random thoughts pop into your mind, notice them and let them go. Do not analyze, judge, or dwell on them. Instead, tell yourself, "I am breathing right now," and return the focus to your breath.

Other relaxation exercises to consider include progressive muscle relaxation and visualization. These tools are effective ways to train your body and mind to calm themselves more regularly and with more ease.


Exercise can make you feel better. It releases endorphins that make you happier, and it balances hormones, which may be an underlying cause of generalized anxiety disorder. Additionally, cardiovascular health is important for brain function because it improves blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to the brain.

Studies show that any type or amount of exercise has benefits, but exercising for at least 30 minutes every other day will help you begin to feel real differences in your body and mind. Exercise also helps because it feels like a real action you can take to combat worry. If you're keyed up physically and decide to hop on your bike for 30 minutes, it can feel productive. Furthermore, if you're doing your best to be physically healthy, you have one less thing to worry about.

Taking care of your body

Eating a well-balanced diet gives your brain good fuel and helps it to produce healthy amounts of natural chemicals. Poor sleep may worsen anxiety, so getting the right amount of sleep is also important. Furthermore, limiting caffeine can make noticeable differences for people who are prone to anxiety, as caffeine stimulates your nervous system. If your nervous system is overactive, caffeine may only worsen it. You don't have to give up your daily coffee, but limit it to two caffeinated drinks daily, and try not to drink caffeine in the afternoon.

Anxiety can come out of nowhere

Change your mind

You may find that certain thoughts trigger feelings of anxiety. When you start to feel anxious about something, try facing that thought. First, allow yourself to recognize the thought that's causing your anxiety. Are you playing the "What if?" game about events you can't predict? Eventually, it'll become easier to take those anxious thoughts less seriously. Anxious thoughts do not have the power to predict and influence the future, but they do create fear.

It may be helpful to ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?" Then, follow that thought through to its logical conclusion. You may realize that you will be able to handle whatever happens, thereby easing your fear. The anxious brain often focuses on the worst possible scenario, but it's important to keep in mind that these are often irrational thoughts.

Recognize that the nerves you feel start with a thought you created about what might or could happen, not what actually will happen. Thinking through how you will handle different possibilities in a given situation can help you deal with whatever happens. Ask yourself questions like, "How much will this matter to me tomorrow? What about one year from now?" This activity can help to put brief worries in perspective.

Other solutions

Here are some other solutions for generalized anxiety disorder symptoms that you might want to try.

  • Try journaling. If you're experiencing anxiety about specific things in your life, journaling can help you identify anxiety triggers. Write about the things that might trigger anxiety, and document the ways you try to resolve your problems. When you're experiencing anxiety, this is one way to keep track of what works and what doesn't.

  • Put yourself first. Many people experience anxiety because they don't set aside enough time to relax and decompress. Make sure you have enough time daily to unwind and process the day. When your batteries are fully charged, you may find it easier to deal with your anxiety.

  • Listen to some music. Music has proven to be an effective way to boost your mood and fight stress. The next time you feel overwhelmed, turn on your favorite tunes, and you may find that your worries melt away.

Seeking help for anxiety disorders

When it comes to managing anxiety, the tools in this article may be a good start. However, if you're finding yourself anxious for no reason, you can seek treatment and get personalized help from a professional therapist or other mental health professional. 

In some cases, a mental health professional may recommend medication to help relieve overwhelming anxiety symptoms. On the other hand, a licensed therapist might use talk therapy to help in identifying triggers or underlying causes of your anxiety even when you can't pinpoint a reason. With therapy, you might realize there are multiple triggers or daily stressors that promote negative thoughts and anxiety. 

Individuals with anxiety may have difficulty reaching out to a therapist in person, though. If you’re experiencing symptoms like social isolation, for instance, you may not want to venture out in public. Instead, you might seek professional help online. For example, online therapy is a way that you can get the help you need without leaving the comfort of your home. It’s also more convenient than traditional therapy since you can make appointments outside of normal business hours. 

In recent years, researchers have studied online therapy extensively. One recent study found that online therapy is an effective way to treat anxiety and depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance commitment therapy may be particularly beneficial when implemented in an internet-based setting.

Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor reviews

"I've been working with BJ with my anxiety issues for a few months and am starting to see big improvements. She is very helpful in calming my anxiety and helping me build the confidence to trust myself. She always responds quickly with encouraging, helpful tips and reminders."

"She came at the perfect time in my life. I was in a tough place but most importantly I didn't know what my issues were or how to address them. But the insight and compassion and kindness that Merissa gave me was so powerful:) I will live every day thinking of what she taught me about myself and my anxiety. Thank you, Merissa!"


It can be challenging to deal with anxiety, but you don't have to let it control your life. If you reach out and get the right help, you can learn new ways to cope with anxiety so you can enjoy a happier life.
Regulate anxiety in a compassionate environment
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started