Different Moods of Anxiety and How to Tame Them

Anxiety has many different moods; frustratingly, anxiety isn’t a single, simple concept. No one can count on it to be anything other than disruptive and erratic. Perhaps you’ve experienced an all-too-common situation. You’re working hard to manage anxiety. Your anxiety symptoms have lessened and your life feels less restricted. Then, seemingly without warning, bam. Anxiety strikes again, and this time it feels worse somehow. This is a normal experience for people living with anxiety because anxiety has different moods. What are the different moods of anxiety and how can you tame them?

Different Moods of Anxiety

Anxiety is moody. It varies in intensity, and it varies in symptoms, sometimes from one day to the next. Among the different moods of anxiety:

My-body-is-falling-apart mood -- Anxiety can mimic heart attacks. It can act like asthma. Anxiety interferes with digestion and elimination. It can make us tired or wired--or both at once. Anxiety can interfere in every system of the human body (Anxiety in the Body: Physical Side-Effects of Anxiety). We treat it and feel better, until it is in the mood to make another appearance.

I'm-worthless-and-incompetent mood -- Anxiety creates severe self-doubt and makes us incredibly hard on ourselves. We tend to beat ourselves up, repeatedly and relentlessly, for so many things. Just when we start to feel confident, anxiety rears up and knocks us back down.

Bad-things-are-going-to-happen mood -- Anxiety causes fear and excessive worry. Fears can be addressed and reduced successfully. When anxiety gets moody, however, fear can flare and we find ourselves uneasy, worried, and anxious.

Taming Anxiety's Moods

The different moods of anxiety and the way they can seem to appear out of nowhere when we're feeling good, actually puts anxiety at a huge disadvantage. When anxiety is moody, it's unstable. When it's unstable, it can be tamed.

You can tame anxiety's moods by being what anxiety can never be: reliable, consistent, and calm. These suggestions can help:

Don't impose rules and timelines -- Berating yourself because you think you "shouldn't" be anxious or rushing the healing process puts a lot of pressure on you. It also keeps your focus on your anxiety. Use the rest of these suggestions daily without rules and deadlines.

Choose mindfulness as a lifestyle -- Mindfulness can calm anxiety because with mindfulness, you're living right now, in the present moment. By focusing on your senses and taking action in the moment, you're turning away from anxiety. When anxiety suddenly appears out of nowhere, maintain your state of mindfulness you've cultivated for your life, and you'll tame any of anxiety's moods.

Know what you want and why you want it -- What is your passion? What is important to you? What do you want your life to be like, and how do you want to be? Spend time answering these questions and use them as your guide in your daily life. When you know your values and live intentionally for them, it's possible to be true to yourself no matter what anxiety is doing at the moment.

Develop a wellness routine, and live by it -- Incorporating regular exercise, proper nutrition, balanced sleep, and deep breathing into your everyday routine will positively affect your brain and the rest of your body. This consistent sense of calm and inner strength will tame anxiety when it flares unexpectedly.

Anxiety has many different moods that can seemingly appear out of nowhere. Incorporate the above suggestions to tame anxiety's moods.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2016, August 11). Different Moods of Anxiety and How to Tame Them, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 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.

May, 2 2020 at 11:09 am

Fear is a liar! Once we have come to terms with the worst possible outcome in any situation and accept it, fear tends to play with other things like physical ailments. I truly believe if we learn how to take EVERY thought captive to the obedience of Love or Peace, fear subsides. The moments we live without Fear bring productive behaviors. When we dread the gross dirt or think we will be bitten by the nasty spider, we slowly drift away from the thought of planting that poor flower that will die without being put in the ground. The question is, is the gross dirt or nasty spider bite worth taking the risk of planting the plant that needs our help?

September, 22 2016 at 12:27 pm

Thanks for posting this- it was just what I needed to read toady. I am having the "What else can I possibly do to manage my anxiety" mood. I've been feeling fairly well for a week or so- then blammo- last few days I felt like I've made no progress at all. Good gravy- in all honesty I would not wish generalized anxiety disorder on even my worst enemy.
Hang in there everyone....

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 22 2016 at 1:45 pm

Hello AWT,
I'm glad this post came at the right time! Thanks for sharing your experiences. It's really common with anxiety for people to feel that they're the only ones feeling this way and the only ones not making progress. Your comments will put many at ease! I've had your blammo experience before, and it's frustrating. I will say that it's well worth it to hang in there. Progress isn't always linear or huge, but that doesn't mean it's not happening. So yes, hang in there everyone.

September, 22 2016 at 3:57 pm

Thanks Tanya- just "frustrating" about sums it up. It is just discouraging when you *really* feel you are doing all the things you can do (work with therapist, exercise, meditate, watch caffeine / adult beverages, talk with others, write in a journal, use medication (if that is the road you end up on), try some supplements, minimize inputs, etc.....but....still anxious! Boo. *sigh*. I know we all have days like this (I assume). Just nice to chat with others in my boat! Take care.

August, 14 2016 at 9:59 pm

I fall into the bad things are going to happen mood. I always fear the worse and anxiety won't let my mind rest. I am always in either the past or the future, never the present. I must follow the wellness routine as jogging does allow. So does being positive. I must also practice mindfulness, that is living in the present, that is the now. Wish I could quit worrying about the past and future. Worrying is a waste of time.

Leave a reply