4 Psychological Reasons You Feel Anxious All the Time

#2: Need for control

Nick Wignall
8 min readAug 27


Photo by Sasha

If you struggle with anxiety, you’ve probably heard the usual old advice:

  • You just need to relax and loosen up a little.
  • Stop worrying and try to appreciate all the good things in your life.
  • Try to live more in the moment.

And while well-intentioned, advice like this is awfully simplistic… If being less anxious were as simple as making a decision to loosen up, no one would be anxious!

What most people don’t realize is this:

There are often subtle psychological reasons why we feel anxious.

In my work as a psychologist, I help my clients to understand the core mechanisms driving their anxiety in the first place.

Because when you understand the real causes of your anxiety it’s a lot easier to move past it for good.

1. Low Tolerance for Uncertainty

Feeling uncertain can be anxiety-producing, especially when it comes to things that really matter to us:

  • Should I take that new exciting job or stick with my boring but safe one?
  • I like her but do I really love her enough to get married?
  • Should I tell my boyfriend how unhappy I am with our sex life or not?

But even in relatively small things, uncertainty can still produce some anxiety:

  • Should I take the freeway or side streets?
  • Mystery or Rom-Com for movie night?
  • Make lasagna or order take-out?

And because the anxiety of uncertainty feels so uncomfortable, our natural instinct is to do something to make it go away.

For example:

  • Suppose you’re uncertain about whether to stay in your job and quit. Even though you’ve done all your research, talked to key advisers, and given yourself plenty of time to think it through, you still feel uncertain — and as a result, anxious.
  • But you’ve decided you’re going to quit. So, you start typing out your resignation notice. But as you get to the final sentence, you feel a surge…



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com