Two Main Causes of Anxiety You Can Do Something About

These main causes of anxiety produce many unpleasant anxiety symptoms. What are two main anxiety causes and what can you do about them? Learn that answer here.

Sometimes, knowing the main causes of anxiety isn't necessary. Sometimes, it's not even desirable because working to uncover the causes of your anxiety could do more harm than good. There are times, however, that knowing the main cause of your anxiety can be very helpful because it gives you something tangible to address. Let's look at two main causes of anxiety and discover how to remove them.

Two Main Causes of Anxiety Share Specific Symptoms

Check out specific anxiety symptoms and their causes to see if they fit you, then read the ideas for what to do about them.

Specific Symptoms of Anxiety

Symptoms of anxiety that arise from the main causes below include:

  • ✔ A sense of unease
  • ✔ Irritability
  • ✔ Agitation/restlessness
  • ✔ Digestive troubles
  • ✔ Headaches
  • ✔ Chest discomfort/pain
  • ✔ Emotional outbursts (sadness, anger, etc.)
  • ✔ Prolonged sense of distress

If you have many of those underlying symptoms, then these two main causes of anxiety could be the problem.

Which Main Anxiety Causes Affect You?

We often don't realize that we're experiencing those underlying symptoms, and we don't always think about the following causes. Knowing these two main anxiety causes can help you identify and address them.

  1. Desire

When causing anxiety, desire goes deeper than materialism. The desire for smart home technology or a tropical vacation typically doesn't produce significant anxiety. Here, desire refers to something important that you want for yourself or your life. Perhaps you desire a career change that will take time and money. Or you want your relationship with your partner to be better, more loving, and connected.

These are positive, healthy desires. Life goals and dreams don't always cause anxiety. They do cause anxiety you feel that, for whatever reason, they are out of reach. Quite often, what underlies this unmet desire is a lack of self-confidence. When people have goals but don't pursue them because they believe in many reasons why that can't or shouldn't, this causes anxiety.

The best way to reduce anxiety that comes from unpursued desire is to determine your purpose (why you have this desire), then list reasons why you can and will pursue it. Finally, take action, even small steps, to move forward despite your anxiety about it.

  1. Unresolved Issues

Sometimes when people have vague but strong anxiety, it's linked to unresolved issues. People who hate confrontation will let relationship problems slide, for example. Yet these issues continue to build in the background, manifesting as anxiety. Or are you in a job you hate and feel stuck? Anything that is a problem for you that, perhaps for good reason, you're not admitting and dealing with can cause anxiety.

You can reduce anxiety by examining things in your life. Are there things that bother you? Are you doing anything about them? To help anxiety, start doing something about them. Taking small steps in the right direction will chip away at your anxiety.

Do some reflecting to determine if desire or unresolved issues are causing your anxiety. If so, making small, frequent lifestyle changes will go a long way in reducing anxiety and shrinking these causes of anxiety.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2017, December 6). Two Main Causes of Anxiety You Can Do Something About, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, and Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps. She has also written five critically acclaimed, award-winning novels about life with mental health challenges. She delivers workshops for all ages and provides online and in-person mental health education for youth. She has shared information about creating a quality life on podcasts, summits, print and online interviews and articles, and at speaking events. Tanya is a Diplomate of the American Institution of Stress helping to educate others about stress and provide useful tools for handling it well in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

December, 8 2017 at 5:51 am

This really helped thank you for the explaining causes of anxiety!

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