Proven Tips To Feel Better When You're Feeling Anxious For No Reason
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated May 11, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
Everyone feels nervous, stressed, or worried sometimes. It can trigger an anxiety attack with chest pains, shallow breathing, and racing thoughts. When you know the cause of your anxiety, you can work on overcoming it. But what if you don't know where it's coming from? The tips shared below can help you feel better when you're feeling anxious for no apparent reason.
Why Do I Feel Anxious for No Reason?
The human body evolved to react to dangerous situations with a flight or fight response. Your respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate increases as your body prepares to either run or fight. For a caveman facing a sabretooth tiger, or a soldier going into battle, these physiological reactions are helpful and normal. Although most people don't face battles in everyday life, our inherited reactions to perceived danger or conflict serve us well in other situations.
Anxiety can be useful when it warns us of a potentially dangerous situation, like a dark alley, or spurs us to take action, like studying more for a test. However, when anxiety appears out of the blue, it can be difficult to return to a relaxed state. But, with the right strategy, including these tips below, you can find relief from your anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety has a host of symptoms. You may experience some or all the symptoms below to varying degrees.
- Numbness and tingling
- Chest pain
- Neck tension
- Upset stomach
- Pulsing in the ear
- Burning skin
- Fear of impending doom
- Shortness of breath
- Electric shock feeling
- Shooting pains in the face
- Heart palpitations
- Weakness in legs
- Feeling like you are going crazy
- Inability to rest
- Sleep problems
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nothing could be truer when it comes to anxiety. Taking preventive measures can help reduce the number of occurrences and the severity of anxiety attacks.
The ADAA recommends the following to help prevent anxiety:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced diet and do not skip meals
- Get about eight hours of sleep per night
- Limit alcohol, caffeine, and sugar intake
Prevention is excellent, and once you get a handle on your anxiety, taking these steps can help you stay healthy and happy. But you're probably reading this article because you're already experiencing anxiety. What can you do when anxiety strikes for no reason?
The most basic of human functions is breathing. The average person takes almost 1,000 breaths an hour without even thinking about it. When experiencing anxiety, it's important to put some thought into the way you breathe. Take slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Think about your chest and belly expanding. Deep breathing isn't just a feel-good move. When your diaphragm pulls down, it signals your body to relax, turning off the fight-or-flight signals.
Try breathing in to the count of six, holding your breath to the count of three, breathing out to the count of six, and holding at the bottom for the count of three. Repeat this rhythmic breathing for a few cycles. The counting helps your mind focus, and the deep breathing helps to slow your heart rate and oxygenate your blood.
It helps to practice this kind of breathing even when you are not feeling anxious, so that when anxiety strikes, you're prepared, and the exercise feels routine and calming.
While regular exercise is a great way to stave off anxiety, moving can be just as helpful when anxiety takes hold. Give your body an outlet for the nervous energy by taking a brisk walk or doing a few pushups. You can even practice your deep breathing while you jog or walk.
Take a few moments to evaluate your situation. Are there external factors that could be leading to your anxious thoughts or feelings? While you may not have acute triggers, like a pending medical diagnosis or an upcoming public presentation, consider if you've been under any stress lately. Stress is cumulative. If you've had a sick kid, a tough few days at work, and money has been tight, those stressors can add up to generalized anxiety. Also, consider hormonal and environmental factors. Women often experience generalized anxiety as a symptom of premenstrual syndrome. Many people report feeling more anxious during the long dark months of winter or if it has been unusually cloudy.
It often helps to acknowledge that you are feeling anxious. Accepting the anxiety and reminding yourself it will pass can help break the chain that leads to even more anxiety. Often when we're anxious, our brains play tricks on us. That primeval fight or flight response tries to convince us a boogeyman is lurking around the corner.
Question your thoughts and feelings. It's reasonable to be nervous about a work event, but not to feel like everything that can go wrong will. If your husband doesn't pick up the phone when you call, what is more likely? That he was injured or killed-or that he was merely in a meeting or in the bathroom? Your anxiety brain may tell you the former, but the better you get at reminding yourself that the latter is more reasonable, the better you will be at warding off anxiety.
Sometimes when anxiety appears and you can't reason it away, there's nothing like a good distraction. Watch an engaging movie or television show. Read a book. Partake in a useful activity, like cleaning or cooking. Some people find great relief from repetitive tasks with instantly gratifying results, like dusting or washing windows. The wolf you feed is the one that grows. The less time you spend dwelling on your anxiety, the less your body will respond to it.
While some amount of anxiety is normal, if you experience the following symptoms, you should seek professional help.
- You experience the physical symptoms of anxiety, like shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or heart palpitations.
- Your anxiety is limiting your ability to enjoy everyday activities or to function at work, school, or home.
- You've been experiencing anxiety for several months that won't go away despite at-home treatment.
If you think these symptoms apply to you, there are multiple therapy options that can help. One is online therapy. Online therapy makes working with a licensed therapist convenient, as you can use it from anywhere you have access to the internet. It also allows you 24/7 access to advice and help, so you don't have to wait until your next appointment.
Simply answer a few short questions at BetterHelp to get started with online counseling today. Betterhelp is the world's largest online counseling platform where more than 4,000 therapists have conducted over 50 million counseling sessions. This means that BetterHelp's licensed therapists have incredible experience helping people overcome anxiety. You can read reviews of BetterHelp counselors below from people experiencing similar issues.
"Krista was extremely empathetic and her warm, kind energy instantly calmed me and made me feel better, each time we interacted. I appreciated the many tools she gave me to cope with anxiety, including worksheets and guided meditation exercises. I would recommend her to anyone struggling with a rough patch in a relationship, at work, or anyone going through anxiety or depression."
"I am so grateful that my first experience seeking counseling was with Katharine. She completely and truly understands and gave me valuable advice. She really helped me explore ways to control my anxiety. I cannot thank her enough for helping me through everything."
Whether you know where your anxiety is coming from or not, you can find treatments that will help. You can overcome anxiety, with the right tools. Take the first step.