10 Common Symptoms of Anxiety You Should Know About


Anxiety is a normal part of life. We all experience it from time to time. But when it becomes overwhelming and interferes with your daily activities, it can become a bigger problem. Early recognition helps. When you can spot the common symptoms of anxiety early, you can take steps toward managing your mental well-being sooner. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and there is support available to help you navigate through these challenges. Let’s take a look at ten common symptoms of anxiety, so you can spot them early.

Persistent Worrying

One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is persistent worrying. You may find yourself constantly thinking about worst-case scenarios, even when there is no immediate threat. The worrying may become excessive and difficult to control, causing a persistent feeling of unease and restlessness. Remember, acknowledging your worries is the first step towards managing them.

Racing Thoughts

Anxiety often feels like a rapid flow of thoughts. This can make it challenging to concentrate or focus on specific tasks. Racing thoughts can feel overwhelming, making it difficult to stay present in the moment. It’s important to remind yourself that these thoughts do not define you and that you have the power to regain control.

Physical Symptoms

Anxiety can also manifest physically, leading to symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, muscle tension, headaches, and stomachaches. These physical symptoms may be unsettling and contribute to a sense of discomfort. They can even increase our anxiety because now we’re worried about our health. In Chapter 2 of Beyond the Spiral, we discuss what we call the 4-7-8 breathing technique, but there are others that you can use. Harvard University published a suggested exercise for their students to relieve their anxiety. Choose one that feels good for you and use it when you need it.

Sleep Disturbances

Anxiety often disrupts sleep patterns. It can cause difficulties in falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. You may find yourself tossing and turning and your mind racing may be racing. Lack of quality sleep can make the anxiety symptoms even worse. Prioritizing good sleep hygiene to help with this. Things like establishing a bedtime routine and creating a calm sleep environment can aid in better sleep.


Feeling on edge and becoming irritable easily are also common symptoms of anxiety. Everyday situations that may not have bothered you before can suddenly become overwhelming, leading to irritability and mood swings. If you see yourself reacting in a way that is out of proportion, pause and ask yourself why. Practicing self-care, engaging in calming activities, and finding healthy outlets for your emotions can help manage irritability. Download our feelings wheel to help you identify the root issue.

Avoidance Behavior

Anxiety can lead to a strong desire to avoid situations or activities that trigger feelings of fear or discomfort. This avoidance behavior can hinder personal growth and limit your experiences. Remember, facing your fears gradually and with support can help you overcome them and expand your comfort zone.

Social Anxiety

Feeling anxious in social situations, fearing judgment or embarrassment, is a very common symptom of anxiety. This is especially true among teens and young adults. You may feel self-conscious and excessively worried about what others think of you. It’s important to remind yourself that everyone has their insecurities, and practicing self-compassion can help manage social anxiety.

Changes in Appetite

Anxiety can affect your appetite, leading to changes such as overeating or loss of appetite. Stress-eating or using food as a coping mechanism is a common response to anxiety. Developing a balanced approach to nutrition and seeking healthier ways to cope with stress can help you manage anxiety better.

Difficulty Relaxing

Relaxation may seem elusive when anxiety is present. It can be challenging to unwind and engage in activities that bring you joy and peace. It’s important to prioritize self-care and carve out time for relaxation. Experiment with different techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or engaging in hobbies, to find what works best for you.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Anxiety often leaves individuals feeling overwhelmed by even simple tasks or responsibilities. It may feel like there is too much to handle, leading to a sense of helplessness and exhaustion. Sometimes people may just shut down and stop trying. Breaking tasks down into smaller, manageable steps and seeking support from loved ones or professionals can help alleviate feeling overwhelmed.

Understanding the common symptoms of anxiety is an essential step toward managing your mental well-being as a teenager or young adult. Remember, you are not alone, and there are resources and support available to help you navigate through anxiety. If you see any of these symptoms in yourself already, consider reaching out to a trusted adult or mental health professional. They can help you with guidance and support. But don’t just accept the symptoms. You are more than your symptoms.