What is Anxiety?
The most important fact about Anxiety is that it is normal. Everyone experiences a level of anxiety at one time or another in their lives. For example, it is normal to feel anxious when on a rollercoaster, before a job interview or starting at a new school.
Anxiety is also adaptive. It is a mechanism our body has to help us to deal with real danger for example, anxiety allows us to jump out of the way of a speeding car or motivates us to prepare for a big presentation in order to perform at our best. When you experience anxiety, your body triggers a ‘fight-flight-freeze’ response also known as the adrenaline response. This reaction prepares your body to defend itself.
We all experience anxiety when we perceive or think we are in danger. This response is great when we are in actual danger but becomes a problem when the ‘perceived danger’ is not actually dangerous for example delivering a speech, seeing a dog.
It is important to note anxiety is not in fact dangerous. Although anxiety will feel uncomfortable, it is not dangerous or harmful to you.
So what is our bodies Fight-Flight-Freeze response?
In breakdown this is how your body responds to particular situations. If you were in real danger for example you come across a bear when hiking in the woods you may flee (run away), freeze (stay still until the bear passes) or fight (yell or shoo the bear away to appear scary). This is a common reaction.
However sometimes your body may respond in the same way to situations which may appear dangerous but really aren’t such as being interviewed for a job. You may feel jittery, on edge, or uncomfortable. You may snap (fight) or have a hard time thinking clearly (freeze). In the unfortunate event these feelings may become overwhelming enough to make you want to avoid doing the interview altogether (Flight). Sadly many people with this type of response often stop doing things or going to places which make them feel anxious.
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