Anxiety has a lot of different terms. That's because anxiety itself isn't one condition, nor is it something that easily falls under a single disorder. Anxiety is difficult to describe, and a large percentage of people experience anxiety without even knowing why.
This type of anxiety - the type that doesn't seem to have a specific cause and appears to occur for no real reason - is sometimes referred to by other names. One of those names is "floating anxiety."
Cure Floating Anxiety
Do you often feel anxious for no real reason? Do you often have nervous thoughts or feel as though you're nervous and you have no idea why? This may be free-floating anxiety, and you can learn how to cure it with my free 7-minute anxiety test.
How Floating Anxiety Works
Floating anxiety - also known as free-floating anxiety - is a type of anxiety that simply comes and goes with more days anxious than not, all without a clear cause or reason. If you're curious if you qualify for an anxiety disorder or how to treat your floating anxiety, take my free 7-minute anxiety test to find out.
Floating anxiety has a more official name. It's called "Generalized Anxiety Disorder," and it's a diagnosable disorder that psychologists treat regularly. Floating anxiety can manifest in several ways:
- Mental Symptoms Nervous thoughts, worrying about specific ideas that may or may not even be related to what you're doing.
- Physical Symptoms Jitteriness, shaking, sweating, fast breathing, rapid heartbeat, and other physical anxiety symptoms.
Some people experience only mental symptoms. Others experience only physical symptoms. Most people experience both at different times. Floating anxiety is referred to as "floating" specifically because it doesn't seem to fit any standard mold. It simply floats in and out, almost as though something else was controlling it.
The Development of Floating Anxiety
Despite what many people believe, floating anxiety never seems to have a direct cause. While rough childhoods or parenting can influence anxiety, and indeed some people's experiences can cause more anxiety than others, it's likely that there isn't a specific cause of floating anxiety. Rather, all of the experiences in a person's life, along with their nutrition, activities, coping ability, etc., all combine to develop floating anxiety.
Anxiety is also caused by changes in brain chemistry, which is why some people are more genetically prone to anxiety than others. Low serotonin levels, for example, can create anxiety - and often creates generalized anxiety disorder/floating anxiety. But low serotonin levels are neither genetic nor experience based - because they're both. There's no way to know what causes low serotonin, but your emotions can create it and your genes can create it. Interestingly, your emotions can also prevent it even if your genes create it. It's confusing.
So when your serotonin levels are low (or other neurotransmitters have changed), you are bound to experience more anxiety and worse coping control. This is likely one of the reasons that floating anxiety "floats" - because it's a change in brain chemistry and not due to any specific experience or fear that is occurring in your life.
How to Control Floating Anxiety
Floating anxiety - aka generalized anxiety disorder - affects millions of people across the country and millions more around the world. Because it's so widespread, it's also been well researched to help people learn how to control it and stop it altogether.
To completely cure your floating anxiety you need to commit to a long-term, effective treatment. Anxiety is forged through years of experiences and anxiety itself can create more anxiety, so it's not something that can be easily cured overnight. But there are strategies that help you control it more now, and additional strategies to control it in the long term.
Strategies to start reducing your floating anxiety today include:
- Exercise The first thing you need to do is start exercising. This is priority number one, because exercise releases positive mood neurotransmitters and reduces some of the stress hormones that create anxiety. There are some that believe - rightfully - that inactivity is one of the factors that increases anxiety risk, so if you're not already exercising you should be right away.
- Positive Moods Anxiety creates a negative mood, so saying "be positive" obviously doesn't always work. But when you have control over your moods, fuel positive moods. Listen to happy, upbeat music, watch comedies on TV, spend time with your friendliest friends - positive moods release positive brain chemicals. What you do when your anxiety isn't completely bothering you plays a role in controlling it in the future.
- Distractions You'll also want to keep yourself busy. Don't let your anxiety cause you to stop being active or enjoying life. Anxiety causes your thoughts to run wild, and if you let them run wild you'll make it harder to prevent your floating anxiety from spiraling out of control. So when you feel anxiety coming - and even if you don't - keep yourself busy. Spend time with others, talk on the phone, do a puzzle, go for a walk, etc. Your own thoughts are your enemy with floating anxiety, so preventing those thoughts from running on their own is important.
These are simply short-term ways to reduce anxiety right now. You'll still need to find yourself a long-term treatment that will teach you how to cope with your anxiety once and for all.
I've worked with hundreds of people suffering from extreme anxiety in the past. Start with my free anxiety test to get an idea of what your symptoms mean and what it takes to treat them.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Nov 30, 2017.