Anxiety. It’s something we all experience. Whether it be the jitters you get before some big event, or something more serious like a panic attack. The word ‘anxiety’ is actually just an umbrella term used to describe many different disorders or emotions that cause things like apprehension, nervousness, and worrying in us. Like with any other emotion you experience, your brain plays a large role in your anxiety.
When your body is presented with some sort of threat, your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) comes into play. The SNS is what is able to trigger the psychological reactions you may experience in a situation that makes you anxious such as; increased heart rate, accelerated breathing, and trembling. Like fear, anxiety is a necessary feeling for survival as it can also make you retreat from a dangerous or overly stressful situation. The nervous feelings you get come from the same basis that your “fight or flight” response does. However, most of our anxiety revolves around things like work, money, family, and health, which do not actually require any drastic “fight or flight” reactions.There is also a specific chemical in your brain involved in triggering anxiety, called Norepinephrine. When released in the brain, it signals a sense of panic.
As with most things there are different levels of anxiety. Some people may simply be more prone to it than others and some may even suffer from actual anxiety disorders. Those that are naturally more prone to anxiety have a harder time re-adjusting to a normal state. A more anxious individual is also more likely to experience acute stress. This being because even in a relaxed and normal state, these people’s brain are still slightly over excited. Even without some specific anxiety disorder or proneness, there are many things that can cause anxiety within someone. It mainly revolves around excessive stress, so things like poor sleep, family issues, disempowerment, or failing relationships can contribute to your anxiety.
If you find yourself to be particularly anxious in any situation, there are many ways to cope. As can be expected, it’s been proven that things like sustaining a healthy sleep schedule and eating well balanced meals can help to keep you more energized and therefore less stressed. It can also be a good idea to simply understand what exactly triggers your anxiety, not necessarily so you can avoid those things, but so you can be more prepared for what you’re going to feel. Put your stress into perspective. Is it really as bad as you think? Or are you just overwhelmed? Putting things into perspective can help you have a better understanding of the situation, making it easier to keep collected. Anxiety is a natural reaction to any sort of overly stressful situation, and although you can’t completely make it go away, it can be relieved.
Story by Krislynn Hawkins