Identifying Hidden Patterns of Anxiety

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Identifying Hidden Patterns of Anxiety

August 21, 2023

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues, and its signs aren’t always obvious. Anxiety can take the form of hidden patterns and unhelpful thoughts or behaviors that hinder our own growth. Becoming aware of these patterns is essential to managing your anxiety and feeling your very best. Below, Life Insight takes a closer look at patterns of hidden anxiety and how therapy can help. 

Signs of Hidden Anxiety

You might be familiar with the more obvious signs of anxiety, such as trembling, sweating, breathing rapidly and a pounding heart. Yet there are many other anxiety indicators that are less obvious. Knowing how you react in times of anxiety can help you become more mindful of your symptoms so you can actively manage them. A few possible patterns of hidden anxiety include the following: 

  • Avoidance. Whether you have social anxiety, a generalized anxiety disorder or a specific phobia, avoidance is often the fuel that makes your fear worse. Avoidance feeds anxiety and creates a self-fulfilling loop: you are afraid to do something, so you avoid it. While you temporarily feel relief, it becomes harder to be in that situation without panic. Therapy can help you learn to manage your anxiety and challenge fears head-on, which will eventually desensitize you to the situation. 
  • Self-Criticism. It’s true that our brains are wired to keep watch on ourselves. Evolution conditioned us to want to behave according to societal acceptance because we long for connection and belonging. However, this can turn into anxiety when we view our actions through a critical lens. You might feel inadequate compared to others or value their opinions more than your own self-determination. 
  • Feeling Out of It. Anxiety often makes people feel as though they are “out of it,” sometimes making their surroundings feel like they aren’t real. This symptom, known as dissociation, can be a disturbing experience and may leave you struggling to concentrate. 
  • Feeling Physically Unwell. Anxiety can impact our physical health in ways we don’t always consciously realize. For instance, you may have a stomachache, a headache or fatigue. The physical signs of anxiety tend to be vague, and you may attribute them to other things. Yet there are many symptoms that can be tied to the stress response since the flood of hormones can affect many parts of our health. Managing your anxiety can help you manage these symptoms and feel better both mentally and physically. 
  • Wanting to Control. Anxiety can make your life feel out of control. You’re left overwhelmed and insecure, leading you to try and control anything within reach. This tends to translate as indecisiveness since you may think of every possible outcome and try to control how a situation turns out. Perfectionism is an unhelpful mindset that is often linked with anxiety. If you notice yourself struggling to retain control when faced with uncertainty, hidden anxiety may be the culprit. 

Break Free of Hidden Anxiety With A Therapist

The key to managing hidden anxiety is to become aware of your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. Our therapists at Life Insight can help you determine whether you may be struggling with anxiety and find effective coping strategies. Call today to schedule an appointment. 

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