I think I’m Calm, So Why Do I Feel Anxious?

Many people experience moments of anxiety in their daily lives. Anxiety can manifest in different ways such as excessive worry, unease, and fear. It is often associated with situations that involve uncertainty, anticipation, or perceived danger.

It is not uncommon for people to feel anxious even when they believe they are calm. This is because anxiety can be experienced in different ways, and it might not always be apparent to a person that they are experiencing anxiety. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why you might feel anxious even when you think you are calm.

1. Hidden Stressors and Triggers

Stressors are factors that can cause stress in our lives. They can be either positive, such as a new job or a relationship, or negative, like a death in the family or financial loss. Regardless of the type of stressor, our bodies and minds often react to them in the same way, with feelings of anxiety, racing thoughts or physical symptoms like heart palpitations.

Hidden stressors are factors that you might not be aware of but that are still causing stress in your life. These can include things like work deadlines, financial responsibilities, relationship conflicts, or even your own self-doubt. These stressors can manifest in anxiety symptoms even when you believe you are calm.

Triggers are events, people, or situations that activate anxiety symptoms. Triggers can be anything from a particular scent or sound to a specific social situation. You might not realize that certain triggers are causing your anxiety because the relationship between the trigger and the anxiety symptom is not always apparent.

2. Internalized Stress and Anxiety

Internalized stress and anxiety can occur when we bury our anxiety rather than addressing it. This can happen for many reasons, such as feeling that it is not “appropriate” to feel anxious or that expressing it will make you seem weak. Regardless of the reasons, suppressing anxiety can lead to internalized stress and anxiety which in turn can cause anxiety symptoms like tension, headaches, and fatigue.

3. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is the tendency to set high standards for ourselves and to strive for flawlessness. Although this characteristic can be seen as positive, it can be toxic when taken to extremes. Perfectionism can lead to anxiety and stress when you hold yourself to unrealistic standards or demand perfection in all aspects of your life.

Perfectionism can also lead to anxiety when you are faced with situations that challenge your sense of control. Giving a speech, taking a test, or presenting a project may trigger anxiety symptoms when you believe that any slight imperfection or misstep could jeopardize your performance.

4. Overthinking and Rumination

Overthinking and rumination are closely linked to anxiety. Overthinking involves worrying excessively about every detail of a situation, while rumination is the compulsive need to replay past events or thoughts over and over in your head. Overthinking and rumination can trigger anxiety symptoms such as racing thoughts, restlessness, and physical tension.

Overthinking and rumination can occur even if you believe you are calm. These thought patterns can be automatic and hard to control, but addressing them is key to reducing anxiety symptoms.

5. Hormonal and Chemical Imbalances

Chemical imbalances in the brain, such as low levels of serotonin or dopamine, can lead to anxiety symptoms. Hormonal imbalances like adrenal fatigue or thyroid dysfunction can also cause anxiety symptoms. In some cases, anxiety symptoms may be a side effect of medications or recreational drugs.

If you believe that your anxiety symptoms are caused by a hormonal or chemical imbalance, it is important to speak to a medical professional. They can recommend treatments or refer you to a specialist who can help you address the underlying causes of your anxiety symptoms.


Anxiety can be complex and multifaceted, and it is not always easy to identify the underlying causes of your symptoms. However, becoming more aware of the different factors that can cause anxiety is an important step in managing and reducing anxiety symptoms.

If you are experiencing anxiety symptoms, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can help you identify the root causes of your anxiety, teach you coping strategies, and recommend therapies or medications that can help you manage your symptoms more effectively.


FAQs: I Think I’m Calm So Why Do I Feel Anxious?

1. Can feeling calm and anxious happen at the same time?

Yes, feeling calm and anxious can happen at the same time. Often, people with anxiety disorders may appear calm on the outside, but on the inside, their minds may be racing with worry and fear. Just because you feel calm doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t experiencing anxiety.

2. What are some physical symptoms of anxiety?

Physical symptoms of anxiety can include sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, racing heart, chest tightness or pain, upset stomach or nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness, and headaches. These symptoms can occur even when you think you are calm.

3. How can I manage my anxiety if I feel calm on the outside?

Managing anxiety when you feel calm on the outside may involve mindfulness practices, exercise, and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization. It is also important to recognize when you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, even if you feel calm, and seek professional help if needed. Therapy and medication can be effective treatments for managing anxiety.


1. Bailey, E. (2020). I think I’m calm so why do I feel anxious? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/202002/i-think-im-calm-so-why-do-i-feel-anxious

2. Ruscio, A. M. (2002). Delimiting the boundaries of generalized anxiety disorder: Differentiating high worriers with and without GAD. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 16(4), 377-400. doi: 10.1016/S0887-6185(02)00151-6

3. Sleigh, S. H., & Stewart, S. H. (2014). Anxious self-talk mediates the relationship between trait anxiety and behavioral avoidance: The potential role of state anxiety. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 28(1), 20-34. doi: 10.1891/0889-8391.28.1.20