Anxiety: How Do We Get It? How Do We Get Rid of It?

Anxiety never comes out of the blue, as much as it seems that it does. There is always a context to it, an anxiety trigger. Always some perception of vulnerability that triggers the physiological response and the emotional response. But have you wondered why we get anxiety in the first place?

How Do We Get Anxiety?

Anxiety can be recruited into our lives in a variety of ways, but usually something happens to us that makes us feel vulnerable. It could be something like a traumatic experience: sexual abuse, war, being mugged, a car accident, etc. Or it could be something else, like an illness (from the flu to cancer), having a conflict, a break up, embarrassment, hearing a scary story, etc.

Anxiety could start quite small and appropriate for the given situation, but because of the meaning we make around it, it can snowball into something quite horrible. Even though anxiety is always triggered by some context, our physical and emotional responses perpetuate it.

Stress as an Anxiety Trigger

Doesn't it seem like everyone and their brother has anxiety? It is because they do. It is an epidemic. Our world is changing fast and everything is speeding up. Our consciousness and the rhythm and vibrations of our body are being effected. This is causing an increase in anxiety rates.

Everyone might call anxiety something different: for example worry, frustration, embarrassment, OCD, or fear. And it might feel and mean something different to them, but in a way it is the same animal. It is stress.

When we are under stress, hormones are released throughout the body to give us energy to protect ourselves from danger. If you are not in physical danger, just perceived vulnerability, anxiety of anxiety, anxiety over guilt, etc., the energy we conjure to protect ourselves actually frightens us more.

Anxiety snowballs from there, as all sorts of frightening and disturbing thoughts come to our mind to make it worse; not to mention self-judgments. For anxiety to last, we have to be afraid of it. We have to think we cannot handle it.

How Do We Get Rid of Anxiety?

When we are afraid of anxiety, it gives it power. It is like feeding it. And when we stop being afraid of anxiety, it decreases it. The meaning that we give to the anxious feelings makes all of the difference in the world.

Check it out these two scenarios:

Panicker Number 1: "Hmm, cool, this is an anxiety attack. Wow, it's intense, that is weird. It's okay, it's a bad day, I am overtired and had too much caffeine. I better get some sleep."

Panicker Number 2: "Oh no. Something is wrong with me! It is happening again. I hate this, I wish this didn't happen! Why does this always happen to me? I can't breathe! I am so weak, I cannot handle this, I am freaking out! I hate this feeling! I'm going to have a heart attack! This is going to push me further down. I cannot do anything the rest of the week because this will take me so long to recover! I am going to be like this forever! I can't take it. How am I going to live like this?"

The different interpretation of events makes all of the difference in how the rest of the day, week or month (or even year) will go.

Remember, people jump out of planes to get an adrenaline rush, on purpose. They call it "thrill" and they love it. An anxious person might call the adrenaline rush "terror." Same physiological feelings, different meaning.

So what if we could change the meaning of our anxiety? What if we allowed it without judgment, rode the wave without being afraid of it? Then it wouldn't snowball, we would know we could handle it and it would go away. I promise.

Did you ever try to not be afraid of your anxiety? What happened?

By Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
and here: Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog,
share here: Twitter@JodiAman, Google+
inspire here: Facebook: Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace,
Get my free E-book: What Is UP In Your DOWN? Being Grateful in 7 Easy Steps.

APA Reference
Lobozzo, J. (2012, June 6). Anxiety: How Do We Get It? How Do We Get Rid of It?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

September, 10 2017 at 3:12 pm

Hi, I am 23 years old I have had anxiety since I was 5. I also have ADD and have been on various medications. I went on vyvanse for my add & felt
Better than ever. I have been completely fine but for whatever reason this week my anxiety is bad. I watched a lot of scary shows and I think that started my anxiety. I normally can watch scary movies etc. I love to watch them during the fall. But sometimes something triggers and it makes it start. The first two days in was controllable then my boyfriend asked me to move in with him. This is something I normally would be ecstatic over and I do want to move in with him. I am normally so laid back but for some reason I am extremely nervous about it. I feel nauseous, out of my body and anxious. Maybe I am pmsing, I just want to go back to being happy and excited about moving in with him. I think the combination of the change and watching the scary movies has triggered my anxiety. My question is how do I get it to stop? I have tried my breathing excercoses and doing yoga. I also get terrible anxiety in the car. Which is another
Reason I need to move. My work is an hour away from where I live so I get
Anxiety in the car driving so far. I just don't know what to do I want to cry :(

May, 3 2016 at 9:57 am

I have been dealing with anxiety/panic attacks since summer 2014. After I was told that I had diabetes and seeing a horrible car accident. Which brought back vivid emotions of my younger brother death (he was hit by a car). After lack of sleep, lack of appetite, and a lack of energy I sought counseling. I was also put on Lexapro. things did get better however I started developing derealization and depersonalization. I was on the medication for almost ten months and I went to counseling off and on for about three or four months. I recently tapered off Lexapro about two months per my doctor. Now I am experiencing everything all over again because I feared the symptoms returning. if that makes sense. I have made myself believe these things can harm me and that I am going to lose my mind all together. I feel great when I am at home and doing other things, but when I am at work I feel extremely detached and dream like and it scares me. I know what I should be doing but this time just seems more intense... But once it's over I feel great. I am still able to perform all my job duties and more, hold conversations and interact with others. I am thinking about going back to counseling and getting back on medication even though I don't want to. Any suggestions?????????

April, 25 2016 at 5:56 am

Take notice of your breathing. The feelings of unreality are from over breathing! You will return to normal once the carbon dioxide/ oxygen ratio is balanced.

April, 23 2016 at 9:14 am

Hello I believe I had a panic attack Monday morning i felt as though I was dieing and I couldn't stop panicking but that lasted for only 20 seconds but I felt disconnected from my body and everything and one feels different and i just feel tired also how or when does this feeling end??? I have felt more relaxed I haven't had an actual panic attack since that day and I've been feeling more connected to my body but I'm can't seem to feel back with reality what can I do to get back to reality???

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 23 2016 at 8:46 pm

Depending on the person, sometimes you never get rid of it like me. I don't have the attacks anymore, but anxiety levels usually high. Exercise has helped. So is being around good people that don't make you feel tense all the time.

September, 18 2014 at 12:53 am

Hello. My name is lelice. And I am in a major complicated situation so deep in anxiety that I cannot feel my true feelings anymore. Me and my boyfriend having been in a distance relationship for almost 3 years now. We did very well in the first 2 and went rly well. But then he got a full time job and we didn't talk as much. We had a few bad arguments that solved and all was fine. Then I came to visit him. The first week went ok. Then I became paniky as I was the only one working to support him. I began thinking I was loosing him. He assured me ot was not so. We agreed to talk opened about all. But after I felt I was putting this to rest. Afeter this feelings of fear that my love for him is over. That made me think its just easier to quit. Then I started to think of all the good things we have. That thought loosing him made me cry like nuts. Like I never wanted nor want for my love for him to dissappear. His phone call afyer his work day always makes me act like a school girl but its like these feelings are darken by my fears I always planned my future chances arround him. Now its like I can't see the dream anymore. I want to go back to my cheerful trust full loving me and supportive of him me. Please help me! Before its me who distroys it all. We talked it over and over. I cannot drag this or him like thos anymore
But if I say I love you he still won't reply. I don't wanna pysh him away. He said it is not thte case
How can I be certain of my feelings again? When I do get the attacks its most clear I do love him and I don't wanna push him away. When we talked casually about it he always made jokes as to disyract me.. was it to cheer me up or tired of listening. .

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 18 2014 at 1:08 pm

Hello lelice,
Thank you for visiting Anxiety-Schmanxiety and sharing your experience. You are definitely not alone in your experience/feelings. Jodi Aman, the woman who used to write the Anxiety-Schmanxiety column, once wrote a wonderful piece called Fear of Losing Someone You Love. I think that this post could be very useful to you, and so will the many comments that people have exchanged. Here is the link, but if it doesn't behave like a link, just copy it and paste it into your browser's search box.…

Leena Shameer
August, 28 2014 at 7:04 am

My fear ...something happening in my head...feeling of separation..

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 5 2014 at 4:18 pm

I feel the same exact way. I'm afraid of feeling unreal and having my mind take over my life.

Leena Shameer
August, 28 2014 at 7:03 am

I too had this bad it recoverable????

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 29 2014 at 1:02 pm

Hi Leena,
An experience like this does indeed feel bad. And yes, it is possible to recover. Have you considered seeking professional help from a therapist? This can go a long way in helping you overcome anxiety and fear. There are many things that can be done, and while there are no quick fixes, there are indeed fixes.

October, 20 2013 at 10:18 am

What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack? Are they the same thing?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 20 2013 at 11:40 am

There is not a universally understood definition, people may use these interchangeably or use them to describe different feelings. For example, some people think of panic as more intense including difficulty breathing or raised heart rate. You can decide for yourself what you want them to represent.

August, 12 2013 at 11:58 am

I absolutely tend to be more towards the second example. I love the idea of not being afraid of your anxiety. As simple as it sounds, I've never tried it. I've always gone into "oh no what do I do??" mode. I've never really thought to just say "ok I'm anxious. I don't have to tell/take it out on the rest of the world or myself". This post has actually inspired me to write a post of my own - I talk a lot about my anxiety but not sure I've ever described where it comes from. So thank you!!

Ten Ways to Live Free From Fear | Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog
September, 5 2012 at 5:30 am

[...] Remember anxiety cannot hurt, it just feels like it is. Anxiety might feel like a heart attack or that you will stop breathing, but it is just an experience of [...]

Anxiety Makes Us feel Unreal | Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog
August, 15 2012 at 10:08 am

[...] It was probably this intense before and you survived (or you wouldn’t be reading this.)Know: You can get rid of problemed anxietyPlease tell me what is on your mind! This entry was posted in Anxiety Causes, Anxiety Symptoms, [...]

Dr Musli Ferati
June, 15 2012 at 10:45 pm

The causes of anxiety are numerous and very intertwined one. In a word, they are bio-psycho-social context of our reality, in which everyone should to supply its life needs and desires, as well. In consequences, it isn't significant if we would to face with this emotional experience, but the essence is how we would to deal with it. It depends mostly of the way that we interpret the events and the life circumstances that determines our lifestyle. This psychological performance is called the cognitive working out of our feelings and impressions. That is to say, there is an close interaction between mind and feelings that moderate our attitudes and behave. As You have mentioned, it is necessary to make any change in our everyday conduct, in order to handle in satisfying level the daily problems. Surely, the development and elaboration of our emotional display would to lead in an infinitive world of psychosomatic suffering, in which one dominates anxiety.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman: Heal Now and Forever
June, 11 2012 at 9:43 am

[...] Newest post on Anxiety-Schmanxiety: Anxiety: How Do We Get It? How Do We Get Rid of It? [...]

Tina Barbour
June, 10 2012 at 10:57 am

Hi, Jodi--A very helpful post. Noticing the anxiety and not judging it, just "tolerating" it is what I'm trying to do with my mindfulness work. I do believe that fearing the anxiety and not wanting ANY anxiety makes it worse. I like the example of the person who jumps out of the plane.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 10 2012 at 1:17 pm

Thanks, Tina! I'm glad that you're have success trying hear things. When we are afraid it seems overly and obnoxiously simple. We have to go through all kinds of complexity to get there, like Buddha!

June, 7 2012 at 1:11 am

I mean no disrespect, but it is obvious you have not experienced panic attacks.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 7 2012 at 5:40 am

Why is that obvious because I am now over them? I have good news! Panic is recoverable. I have had them--worse than you can imagine--I couldn't even leave my house--and now I live free. If you are assuming this, it seems to me that you have had no freedom and cannot imagine it is so simple, I understand and address that concept in my article Forgiveness is a Verb .
Perhaps you have had a horrible night. Let me know if I can help.

Wendy Fleckenstein
April, 22 2015 at 4:43 pm

I am grateful to have found some information to help. I suffered from severe stomach issues starting last September. I had weird feelings occasionally that felt like something metabolically was going wrong. Then, in late December I noticed a weird dizzy/foggy symptom. This symptom started feeling like I was medicated although I wasn't. I had every test you could imagine until finally my doctor discovered that it was anxiety. I was shocked! It didn't look like I would expect it to. I was put on an antidepressant and handed a low dose of xanax to cope until things calmed down. I hat medicine yet am trying to get rid of the drugged/foggy symptom which is constant still and gets worse if I am stressed out. I am a busy, working mom of three with a husband who is a pastor. We are busy! We knew we needed to slow down before this. We are trying and I am going part time next year. Any advice to help me get well? Have you ever encountered this symptom and how can I get rid of it? I'm desperate.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 23 2015 at 12:35 pm

Hi Wendy,
I'm glad that you found helpful information in this article. Jodi is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so she is unable to respond to comments. The dizziness/fogginess you describe is common to anxiety, and it can be a side effect of medication as well. Keeping an open dialogue with your doctor about your medication could be extremely helpful. Also, being aware of your anxiety and building a toolbox of helpful techniques is something that many people find very beneficial. There may be things that readers have shared that you might want to try. Knowing that you need to slow down is a great start. What are you going to replace the busyness with? Overcoming anxiety and its effects isn't always a quick, easy process, but it is absolutely possible and very worth it!

June, 6 2012 at 1:11 pm

I don't think I am yet like panicker number one, but I found that the best way to stop the thoughts that come with panic is to do something, to react. Best option is to get myself busy, but there are other things I sometimes do that might seem silly, but they help. I focus on something that is around me. It can be a mosquito flying in the room, it can be a ray of sunshine on the wall, anything.
The example you gave about people jumping from a plane is exactly what made me love big roller coasters.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 7 2012 at 5:42 am

Yes! Reaction is key, love that you notice little details, I used to do that when I was in the throws of panic, notice details of patterns, etc!

Maryellen Brady
June, 6 2012 at 11:01 am

It is all perspective and your choice in reaction :) Took a long time to accept it, but once it became a habit, I am happier.
yes, I still 'react' at times, but not as often!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 6 2012 at 12:13 pm

Awesome, thanks so much for telling us your story!

Leave a reply