You and Anxiety have probably already met.
You know her, the little voice in the back of your mind whispering your fears to you so you can never forget.
“Your friends don’t really like you, they’re just putting up with you.”
“They’re laughing at you behind your back.”
“No matter how hard you try, you’re going to fail.”
Anxiety is constant and annoying. It can bother you at the most inopportune and inappropriate times, stop you from socializing and doing your best work on the job, and even ruin your day or your whole life.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety includes the psychological symptoms of persistent worries, fears, nervousness and stressful thoughts, as well as the physical symptoms of an increased heartrate, shortness of breath, and stomach ache. Anxiety is a normal human experience which only becomes a disorder if a problem for a person in daily life.
High levels of Anxiety, and Anxiety Disorders, can be genetic and also developed due to life experiences, traumatic events, or no clear reason at all but brain chemistry.
Anxiety evolved, not with the purpose of making you nervous for no good reason, but for the purpose of protecting humans back when we were cavemen.
What was that sound? It could be a sabretooth tiger stalking you as its prey.
What’s that shadow over there? Could be a spider that would poison you.
Who is that stranger? He could be an enemy tribesman come to attack your tribe.
Back then, Anxiety was useful for humans because it kept us on edge. When we were on edge, we were aware of our surroundings and so kept ourselves safe.
Nowadays, though, we live in a civilization where we don’t have to worry about getting killed by wild animals (or wild strangers—usually). The levels of anxiety that kept us alive as a species millions of years ago, now are unneeded—yet, they remain an integral part of our minds, bodies, and lives.
We have the same reaction to the floorboards of the house creaking at night as we would the howl of a wolf too close to our cave. Doors and locks are there to protect us and put us at ease, but sometimes we still feel like tonight could be the night a burglar breaks in and attacks.
Depending on where you live, this may be more likely. Those who live in high-crime areas, or war-torn countries, tend to have higher levels of anxiety than those who live in wealthy, safe regions.
immediate self-preservation and protection—though still damaging and draining in the long term.
Because of the issues Anxiety can cause to your mind, body and life, high levels of Anxiety are inconvenient, dangerous and should be avoided.
Luckily, there are multiple treatments to help manage your Anxiety.
Anxiety can never be eliminated entirely, but it can go from an uninvited guest overstaying its welcome to a once-in-a-while visitor that only comes by when needed.