What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a combination of emotional and physical reactions in the body known as the fight or flight reaction.
You have evolved with this reaction in order to cope with a single threatening situation and then your body returns to ‘normal’ within an hour or so.
The flight or fight response is an ancient survival mechanism. Whenever you perceive a real or imagined threat to you, or someone you love, your body prepares for massive physical exertion by producing a surge of adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones so that we can fight (aggression) or flight (fear).
These reactions are very quick, automatic and work faster than the rational and logical part of your brain and can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
This flight or fight reaction was brilliant for fighting bears or wolves, but not so good in today’s environment when we are faced with challenges and threats that are out of our control, more prolonged and less specific.
What you get left with is the tension and readiness for action with no outlet – nothing to fight and nowhere to run.
When your system is repeatedly triggered, or your body stays in a ’waiting for the next thing to happen’, hyper-vigilant state, you start to feel ‘stressed’.
The more times you get anxious, the quicker and more profound the reaction becomes.
The higher your adrenaline levels are, the less control you will have over these reactions and It becomes a vicious circle that will leave you feeling out of control, exhausted and frightened.
Symptoms of Stress
The effects of stress or anxiety on your mind and body are well documented.
The reason that there are such wide ranging problems is because when you are stressed key systems for keeping your body healthy are either depressed or shut down.
Stress will therefore have wide reaching and varied symptoms in each individual.
Different people will experience different symptoms, but generally they are:
Muscle tension, digestive disorders, problems breathing or chest pains, cognitive impairment, being forgetful, difficulty concentrating, inability to relax, depression and/or sleep problems.
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