Anxiety is often classed as "free floating", that is to say it has no recognisable cause or trigger. Often this kind of anxiety, especially when it has been present for some time, is more irritating than worrying. It seems to be almost in the background, a little niggle that stops you from relaxing fully, perhaps a slight difficulty breathing or a tightness in the neck, throat or other muscles. Sometimes this free floating anxiety can manifest as fidgeting, a chronic cough or other physical symptoms or other things like insomnia.
Of course free floating anxiety is not always just an irritant, it can for some people be a deeply worrying and disabling occurrence, leading to panic attacks or sever bouts of anxiety and stress.
Either way, you can not avoid this kind of anxiety because it is either always there or creeps up on you suddenly and without warning and this is perhaps what leads some people to self-medicate alcohol or non-prescription and illegal (recreational) drugs. This is not a good idea because nearly all such substances, including alcohol, have to unfortunate qualities. They are habit-forming so you can get addicted to them, and the body becomes accustomed to them so you need more. They can be a slippery slope and one that is worth avoiding!
So what can you do about free-floating anxiety? Well, there is always the possibility of prescription medication such as the SSRI’s Citalopram / Celexa . There are pros and cons to this approach but it can be effective. Follow the previous links for more info. Also of course the numerous kinds of counselling, therapy and alternative approaches that are often suggested for anxiety can have their place – they are all discussed elsewhere on this site.
But what can you do for yourself? There are two great things that are free and easy. The first is to relax. I know it’s annoying when people tell anxiety sufferer’s to relax, but bear with me. Formal relaxation means taking ten minutes a day to sit down and relax, using either a meditation technique (there are thousands and they are not difficult, regardless of the stereotype) or just doing some breathing. One straight-forward breathing technique is just to sit down or lie comfortably, place your attention on your breath and start counting seconds. Then, slow your out-breath so it takes longer than your in breath, try to make it a few seconds longer. If you run out of puff, rest a few seconds in the "fully breathed out" position instead. You will of course find this easier with practise. But do practise, every day for ten minutes.
Try this for a week, I guarantee you will feel a bit better and find yourself doing min relaxations while waiting for traffic lights to change or during other natural pauses in your day.