Why are certain people more anxious than others?

Updated: Jun 22

Anxiety disorders are often classed as a disability as they impact lives heavily. Nowadays people are seemingly more and more anxious and there is still no cure. But the big question is why are certain people more anxious?

The first theory is that some people are predisposed to it. There are genetic elements that mean you are more likely to suffer from anxiety than someone who has no history of anxiety. What those genetic elements are isn’t quite known. There is also the fact that it can be learnt behaviour. If people in your family suffer with anxiety, their behaviour and worries are likely to be adopted by you.

Another theory is that people who suffer with anxiety are more sensitive. They are affected by others and surroundings more strongly than others. For example, it may affect them more when other people around them are upset or angry, which then manifests into anxiety whereas other people may not be fazed by it.

If anxiety is considered as a sensitivity, it explains why it is triggered by certain situations, especially social anxiety. Anxiety is said to make people more perceptive of social cues which is why they may feel more anxious around people. If someone is angry, scared or annoyed, anxious people are more likely to pick up on it rather than someone who isn’t anxious.

Anxiety can also manifest when people are put under a lot of stress in their lives. For example, work can be a big source of stress. We have financial obligations and our job provides the income to live. If we lose that, effectively our lives are in danger. That stress can lead to anxiety developing. It can also be that at some point, our brains/bodies cannot cope with anymore stress. Once that limit is surpassed, we can develop anxiety issues which I compare to a pressure valve. It’s your body’s way of dealing with that extra stress.

It is also common for anxiety to develop after some kind of traumatic event, whether it be physical or mental. After that kind of event, your subconscious may continually look for events and try and save you from something like that recurring. Although that isn’t necessarily bad, it can make life very difficult to lead.

Although there is more awareness for anxiety, there is still not a great deal of understanding. Many people want a quick fix, which is understandable (I’ve been there), but there isn’t one so it helps to understand in depth what may be causing it. Dealing with the symptoms is good to help you cope day-to-day but in the long run, it helps to tackle the other issues as well.

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