Anxiety involves a number of emotional feeling states that cause avoidance behaviour (not trying, giving up easily).
Common anxieties include social anxiety (shyness), obsessive compulsive anxiety, eating disorders (anorexia and bulemia), phobias, and performance anxiety including test and competition anxiety.
Current psychological wisdom is that the purpose of anxious emotions is to increase our survival chances.
How? Anxious feelings make us avoid things that we think can hurt us.
If circumstances are actually life threatening, then feeling anxious makes us want to avoid the circumstances. However if the circumstances are not actually life threatening, then feeling anxious can needlessly cause us to fail through not trying or through giving up too soon.
So how do we manage anxious feelings?
'Feeling' is a word with a few meanings.
(1) 'Feeling' can be used to mean a physical sensation.
e.g. "I feel tense, hot and shaky."
(2) 'Feeling' can be used to mean an emotional state.
e.g. "I feel happy."
(3) 'Feeling' can be used to mean 'thinking'.
e.g. "I feel (think) that I am not explaining this well."
So in the interest of being clear about the meaning of 'feeling', let's call the three kinds of feelings:-
sensations = "I feel tense, hot, shaky, dizzy."
emotions = "I feel happy."
assumptions = "I feel that I am not explaining this well."
From the perspective of instinct, an emotion is the result you get when your unconscious mind recognizes a survival threat. When our instinct kicks in, the assumption has been made that the situation is life threatening and this occurs without us realizing it. All we know is that our sensation is distressing and often surprisingly so.
Understanding emotion can help you tolerate and manage anxiety.
Emotions motivate (cause) actions.
Anxiety is an emotion that motivates avoidance.
In situations that are not life threatening, avoidance undermines the success attitudes of willpower, willingness, determination, and persistence.
If you want more of these success attitudes, you will have to moderate your anxious emotions.