On the Blue Lakes hike just outside or Ridgway, Colorado, I was between the Lower and Middle Blue Lakes when I noticed the sun streaking through the pine trees. At the same time, I was following a path through an amazing stretch of golden Colorado Wildflowers. I had to stop and capture the moment as best I could. I moved on and eventually found my way at the Upper Blue Lake, but this portion of the trail between the first two lakes was the most beautiful portion of the trek.

“Life shrinks or expands
in proportion to one’s courage.”
~Anais Nin

Signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders

Because anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions rather than a single disorder, they can look very different from person to person. One individual may suffer from intense anxiety attacks that strike without warning, while another gets panicky at the thought of mingling at a party. Someone else may struggle with a disabling fear of driving, or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Yet another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.

But despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom: persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened.

Emotional symptoms of anxiety

In addition to the primary anxiety symptoms of irrational and excessive fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms include:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Watching for signs of danger
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling tense and jumpy
  • Irritability
  • Feeling like your mind's gone blank

Physical symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the body’s fight-or-flight response, anxiety involves a wide range of physical symptoms. Because of the numerous physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit many doctors and make numerous trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is discovered.

Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Stomach upset
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle tension or twitches
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Insomnia


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Victor Frankl

“Knowledge does not mean mastering a great quantity of different information, but understanding the nature of mind. This knowledge can penetrate each one of our thoughts and illuminate each one of our perceptions.” ~ Matthieu Ricard