Floyd Godfrey, PhD


Understanding the Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety

By Floyd Godfrey, PhD

As a Certified Mental Health Coach with over two decades of experience, I’ve had the privilege of working with numerous clients struggling with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Through our collaborative efforts, I’ve gained deep insights into the pervasive and often debilitating nature of this condition. In this article, I’ll share my experiences and outline the key symptoms of generalized anxiety, hoping to shed light on this common yet frequently misunderstood mental health challenge.

Constant Worry and Overthinking

One of the most prevalent symptoms of GAD is excessive worry. My clients often describe a relentless stream of thoughts, fixating on potential problems or future events. This worry is usually disproportionate to the actual situation, leading to significant distress. For instance, a client might continuously fret about their job performance, despite receiving positive feedback. This chronic overthinking can consume their mental and emotional energy, leaving them feeling exhausted.

Physical Manifestations

Generalized anxiety doesn’t just affect the mind; it also takes a toll on the body. Many clients report physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues. One particular client, whom I’ll call Sarah, experienced severe tension headaches and stomachaches that interfered with her daily life. These physical symptoms often arise from the body’s constant state of high alert, a hallmark of GAD.

Sleep Disturbances

Sleep problems are another common symptom. Clients with GAD frequently struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep due to their racing thoughts. They may lie awake, replaying the events of the day or worrying about the future. One client, Mark, shared that his mind would start racing the moment he lay down, preventing him from getting a restful night’s sleep. This lack of quality sleep can exacerbate anxiety symptoms, creating a vicious cycle.

Difficulty Concentrating

Many individuals with generalized anxiety find it challenging to concentrate or focus on tasks. This can manifest as a sense of mental fog or difficulty completing work efficiently. In my sessions, clients often express frustration with their inability to focus, which can lead to further anxiety about their productivity and performance.


Irritability is another symptom that clients with GAD frequently experience. The constant state of worry and tension can make individuals more prone to irritability and mood swings. I remember working with a client named Jane, who found herself snapping at her loved ones over minor issues. This irritability not only affected her relationships but also contributed to her overall stress levels.

Restlessness and Feeling On Edge

Restlessness is a symptom that many of my clients describe. They often feel on edge, as if something bad is about to happen. This constant state of unease can make it difficult to relax or enjoy activities that they previously found pleasurable. One client, Tom, described it as “always waiting for the other shoe to drop,” which perfectly encapsulates the chronic state of apprehension characteristic of GAD.

Managing and Treating Generalized Anxiety

Understanding these symptoms is the first step toward managing generalized anxiety. Through my work, I’ve found that a combination of therapeutic approaches can be highly effective. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps clients challenge and reframe their anxious thoughts, while mindfulness techniques teach them to stay present and reduce overthinking. Additionally, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet can significantly improve overall well-being and reduce anxiety symptoms.

In my practice, I emphasize the importance of a supportive therapeutic relationship. Clients need to feel heard and understood, and together, we can develop personalized strategies to manage their anxiety. If you or someone you know is struggling with generalized anxiety, reaching out for professional support can make a world of difference.

Floyd Godfrey, PhD is a Certified Mental Health Coach and has been guiding clients since 2000. He currently speaks and provides consulting and mental health coaching across the globe. To learn more about Floyd Godfrey, PhD and his services please visit his website: www.FloydGodfrey.com.


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