Anxiety is a tricky emotion. What might at first feel like anxiousness can, on more in-depth exploration, turn out to be a different emotion entirely. And what might feel like an uplifting emotion such as motivation can reveal its true self—anxiety—after some reflection.
When It Feels Like Anxiety but Isn’t
In our culture, it’s much more acceptable to show anxiety than anger. When you hear someone say “I’m so stressed right now,” your likely instinct is to cheer them on. They’re stressed, so they must be really busy and accomplishing a lot! If someone says, “I feel anxious right now,” you may go into soothe-mode and ask what you can do to help. But say “I feel really angry” or “I’m so pissed off right now,” and everyone around you will instantly recoil. So one of the things people do in our anger-avoiding culture is to let anxiety take the place of their angry feelings.