Anxiety really makes us react to more things and thus create stress. Because we worry about more things our brain signals the body to activate the self preservation systems more often, and for longer. This creates physical and emotional stress in both brain and body.
Our self preservation system is only interested in our short term survival – will we be alive in ten minutes or an hour? It doesn’t look at what is coming later. It doesn’t care what we’ll be doing next year, and it doesn’t care if we feel happy. It’s a simple system designed to keep us alive. If we’re being mugged or slipping on ice it’s our best friend, but when it is switched on and kept on long term, it’s a real problem.
We feel bad, our mind constantly spots chances to fail and sees only what could go wrong, our immune system drops leaving us open to get more colds and infections – and they might linger, we can become absent minded – forgetting what we came into the room for and so on.
In some cases the mind can create larger reactions like panic attacks. In my case, sitting in a classroom used to have me on the verge of panic. That was my self preservation system looking to my anxiety, which told it crowds of people were a danger, and then working flat out to keep me from putting myself in that ‘danger’, by raising panic levels to prevent me from going.
The stress can pressure our physical health with damage to our cardiovascular system, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or fatigue.
The odd part is, it does all this to help keep us safe from an apparent threat or danger. The real issue is that the mind has wrongly identified which things are dangerous. That’s where you can change it big time.
In a while I’ll post the next part – some helpful tips to manage anxiety and even reduce it.