Unfortunately, and often the case, anxiety can be mistaken for anger due to the two having similar behaviours and characteristics.

With anxiety you may find yourself becoming withdrawn, easily irritated, and quick to react and snap in aid of stopping whatever might be causing this feeling. From the outside these traits may appear as aggressive and it’s this misunderstanding that creates a defensive response from onlookers.

Of course in order to tell the difference between anxiety and anger, it helps to understand what the terms actually mean. “First, anxiety is defined as “an unpleasant state of mental uneasiness, nervousness, apprehension and obsession or concern”. Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of displeasure, hostility or antagonism towards someone or something, usually combined with an urge to harm (physically or verbally)”.

As you can see, just because the outward symptoms may look the same, the motivation behind each is vastly different. Another way to look at it is that anxiety makes a person retreat and anger pushes a person to advance. This motivation provides clues to help you differentiate.” [Source Psych Central, blog post by Gabe Howard]

Rather than immediately confronting a distressed individual in a defensive manner, consider taking a few moments to observe and assess the entire situation before reacting or getting involved. Try to see if they want to get away or if they are trying to start a confrontation. If they are trying to get away, it’s very likely that anxiety is driving their actions.

Anxiety can be unpredictable. It can pounce on you at the most unexpected of times; like when the doorbell goes unannounced, when you’re invited to a social gathering, or perhaps a queue has built up behind you at the checkout.

We’ve all been there – your heart races and you perspire for no apparent reason, you become incoherent or light headed. When caught up in anxiety, one often responds with negative responses to the body and mind. We feel unease, nervous, apprehensive and worried. Our thoughts are full with fear, and our minds are stuck in a negative thought pattern, showering us with questions like “what if”. If this sounds all too familiar, and it happens to you regularly, then perhaps it is time to seek help.

One of the hardest parts of living with anxiety is feeling trapped, like you have no one to turn to and you have to live in a protected bubble to avoid situations you’re not comfortable with. Seeing a councillor may help you to learn how to build the confidence to push forward and decrease your stress levels… it’s often a problem that can get worse if the stress continues to build up.

You may feel ashamed to ask for help, or believe that it’s not ‘that big of a problem’. But by covering up your feelings could worsen the situation. It’s important for yourself to understand what drives your anxiety and how to deal with it.

At Amida Life Coach, we care about you. We want to help you make a connection between your thoughts and the feelings of anxiety, so you can learn to identify and counter negative thoughts to improve your mood and reduce your stress levels.

There are various way to help, however one of the most effective ways is to look at Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which will help you learn coping techniques.

CBT can help you manage your problems by enabling you to recognise how your thoughts affect both your feeling and behaviour.


For more information and advice on anxiety or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, please do get in touch. Contact Amida Life Coach today at