There’s anxiety, and then there’s ✨Generalized Anxiety✨.
Generalized anxiety, unlike most anxiety, isn’t specific to a thing, person, experience, or feeling. It just is – and it can be really frustrating for people who experience it regularly (aka generalized anxiety disorder or just “GAD”).
While Generalized Anxiety can be a serious mental illness, it’s also important to understand that it’s 100% normal to have some generalized anxiety from time to time. I’m in a season of many transitions myself, and sometimes so much is happening that a little tornado of unidentifiable anxiety whips up and lets me know I need some care and rest (which, for me, includes making anxiety art!).
Image Description: White background with a doodle of a brown cereal box. The front of the cereal box has a pink banner on top that reads, “Generic Brand.” Underneath, in blue bubble letters is written “Anxiety” with the word “unflavored!” written below in brown text. The “un” in unflavored is underlined. Below this is a person in a blue shirt crossing their arms over their chest and with a disappointed expression. A speech bubble is coming from them that says, “It’s terrible.”
Minor bouts of generalized anxiety can be normal, manageable, and healthy. However, if your bouts of anxiety are frequent, interrupting your life, or making it hard to connect with the people you love, it may be time to reach out for treatment to help you get back on your stride and thrive.
This doodle on generalized anxiety can be downloaded as a pdf or purchased on merch via my Society6 Store. Sign up to Patreon or my newsletter to get more anxiety art, worksheets, and resources.
Feeling Anxious for *No Reason*
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear that sits in our minds and bodies. It is an alert system, telling us that something is up. Anxiety is normal and healthy when you are in an obviously dangerous or threatening situation, or in a situation that your mind/emotions perceive could be risky.
For most neurotypical people, anxiety feels like:
- 🫀raised heart rate,
- 🧠mind working quickly to assess what is happening and what is needed in response, and
- 🤢sometimes, gastrointestinal symptoms ranging all the way from “butterflies” to vomiting.
Generalized anxiety is more than just isolated experiences of anxiety. It is feeling anxious about any and everything almost all the time, often described as being anxious for no reason. The same feeling of alertness that can be adaptive in a risky situation – raised heart rate, perspiration, mind racing – occurs without prompting, which can make the experiences of anxiety much more challenging to cope with and navigate. It simply seems like feeling anxious for no reason.
As the cereal box depicts, generalized anxiety can feel like the generic brand of specific anxiety. It’s the “Yum Flakes” instead of “Frosted Flakes™” in that it is almost decipherable yet seems like something else, unflavored, and is generally “terrible.”
Generalized Anxiety Art + Worksheet
This download includes a worksheet on generalized anxiety. The 1-page black-and-white worksheet is designed to flip brains from “therapy homework” mode into “interactive activity book” mode. This may help folks develop awareness, mindfulness, and self-soothing skills with less of the stigma or avoidance that clinical resources sometimes prompt.
Image Description: Blue background with a hand-drawn, black and white cereal box in the center of the image. Above the cereal box is written, “A journaling worksheet for humans experiencing generalized anxiety.” The name of the cereal is “Generic Unflavored Anxiety” (the word “anxiety” is written in pink bubble letters with a black outline). In place of nutrition ingredient information are two sections titled, “Facts” and “Ingredients.” The “facts” column has prompts that read, “I feel…”; “Intensity, 1 to 100:”; “When it started:”; “It might be related to…”; “How I feel it in my body.” The “ingredients” column has prompts that read, “(What’s your anxiety made from? Take a guess – be as creative as you’d like!)”; “Things I’ve tried that have helped:”; “Things I’ve tried that didn’t help:”; “1 kind thing I can say to myself right now:”; “If the intensity reaches _, I’ll do this to get myself care:”
Download a Printable PDF of this Generalized Anxiety Worksheet:
Overall, it is important to note that any form of anxiety can be tricky to navigate. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to calming anxiety. For some situations, one anxiety-coping method might be really helpful, while the same situation could be unhelpful in other instances or for other people. While this worksheet helps to invite the practice of checking in on what could be causing feelings of anxiety, this tool may not be helpful for working through every anxious moment one may experience. For more information about anxiety and for other resources on how to cope, check out:
- “What I Mean When I Say I’m Fine…” Pie Chart
- Visual Anxiety Spectrum Illustration
- Anxiety Doesn’t Have to Be the Enemy – Resources for Coping with Anxiety
This anxiety art is also available printed on home and office decor: