What is Anxiety

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We experience anxiety when we PERCEIVE or THINK that we are in danger This. response is great when there is an actual danger such as encountering a bear but. becomes a problem when the perceived danger is not actually dangerous giving a. talk seeing a dog,More on Flight Flight Freeze, Our body s fight flight freeze response can be activated when there is a real. danger such as coming across a black bear when hiking in the woods In this. case you may flee e g run away from the bear freeze e g stay still until the. bear passes or fight e g yell and wave your arms to appear big and scary. But this response can also happen when something simply feels dangerous but. really isn t such as being interviewed for a job For example you may feel jittery. on edge or uncomfortable You may snap at people fight or have a hard time. thinking clearly freeze These feelings can become overwhelming enough that. make you want to avoid doing the interview flight Many people stop doing things. or going places that make them feel anxious, 3 Anxiety is not dangerous Although anxiety may feel uncomfortable it is not. dangerous or harmful to you Remember all the sensations you feel when you are. anxious are there to protect you from danger not hurt you. 4 Anxiety does not last forever When you are anxious you may feel like the anxiety. is going to last forever But anxiety is temporary and will eventually decrease. 5 Anxiety is mostly anonymous Most people except those close to you cannot tell. when you are anxious,What happens to your body when you are anxious. Anxiety can cause many sensations in your body as it prepares for danger These. sensations are called the alarm reaction which takes place when the body s natural. Alarm System the fight flight freeze response has been activated. Rapid heart beat and rapid breathing When your body is preparing itself for. action it makes sure enough blood and oxygen is being circulated to your. major muscle groups and essential organs allowing you to run away or fight. off danger,Anxiety Canada 2, Sweating Sweating cools the body It also makes the skin more slippery and. difficult for an attacking animal or person to grab hold of you. Nausea and stomach upset When faced with danger the body shuts down. systems processes that are not needed for survival that way it can direct. energy to functions that are critical for survival Digestion is one of the. processes that is not needed at times of danger Because of this anxiety. might lead to feelings of stomach upset nausea or diarrhea. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded Because our blood and oxygen goes to major. muscle groups when we are in danger we breathe much faster in order to. move oxygen toward those muscles However this response can cause. hyperventilation too much oxygen from breathing very rapidly to prepare the. body for action which can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded Also since. most of your blood and oxygen is going to your arms and legs for fight or. flight there is a slight decrease of blood to the brain which can also make. you dizzy Don t worry though the slight decrease in blood flow to the brain is. not dangerous at all, Tight or painful chest Your muscles tense up as your body prepares for.
danger So your chest may feel tight or painful when you take in large breaths. while those chest muscles are tense, Numbness and tingling sensations Hyperventilation taking in too much. oxygen can also cause numbness and tingling sensations The tingling. sensations can also be related to the fact that the hairs on our bodies often. stand up when faced with danger to increase our sensitivity to touch or. movement Finally fingers and toes may also feel numb tingly as blood flows. away from places where it is not needed like our fingers and towards major. muscle groups that are needed like our arms, Unreality or bright vision When responding to danger our pupils dilate to let. in more light and to make sure that we can see clearly enough This reaction. makes our environment look brighter or fuzzier and sometimes less real. Heavy legs As the legs prepare for action fight or flight increased muscle. tension as well as increased blood flow to those muscles can cause the. sensation of heavy legs, Choking sensations Increased muscle tension around the neck or rapid. breathing dries out the throat which may make you feel like you are choking. Hot and cold flashes These sensations may be related to sweating and. constriction of blood vessels in the upper skin layer This constriction also. helps to reduce blood loss if you are injured,Anxiety Canada 3. More about How Anxiety Works, Anxiety does not only affect your body it also affects your thoughts and behaviours.
Therefore there are three parts to anxiety physical symptoms how our body. responds thoughts what we say to ourselves and behaviours what we do or our. actions Learning to recognize these signs of anxiety can help you to be less afraid of it. e g What if I forget what I want to say during the presentation. Behaviours Physical Symptoms, e g find an excuse to get out of it e g stomach ache cold sweat heart racing. When Does Anxiety Become a Problem, 1 Anxiety is a problem when your body reacts as if there is danger when there is no. real danger It s like having an overly senstive smoke alarm system in your body. 2 Anxiety problems are common One in four adults will have an anxiety disorder in. their lifetime,Anxiety is like a smoke alarm system. A smoke alarm can help to protect us when there is an actual. fire but when a smoke alarm is too sensitive and goes off. when there isn t really a fire e g burning toast in toaster it is. rather annoying, Like a smoke alarm anxiety is helpful and adaptive when it. works right But if it goes off when there is no real danger it is. not only scary it is also very exhausting, However we DO NOT want to get rid of the alarm or eliminate.
anxiety because it protects us from danger We want to fix it. i e bring the anxiety down to a more manageable level so it. works properly for us,Anxiety Canada 4,Recognizing Anxiety. Recognizing the physical symptoms of anxiety, You can learn to identify the physical signs of anxiety by asking yourself What. happens when I m anxious Where do I feel the anxiety in my body For example. when you feel anxious you may get butterflies in your stomach sweat a lot breathe. heavily and feel dizzy or lightheaded, REMEMBER If you often experience many uncomfortable physical. symptoms but doctors cannot find anything wrong with you physically. you may have problems with anxiety You are definitely not going crazy. Although these symptoms may be uncomfortable they are not harmful. Recognizing anxious thoughts, Anxiety also affects how we think Anxious thoughts typically involve a fear of something. bad happening in the future the future can be the next 5 seconds 5 minutes or 5. years See Realistic Thinking for helpful tips on how to identify and challenge your. anxious thoughts,Recognizing anxious behaviours, Anxiety can make us feel very uncomfortable and it can make us believe that we are in.
danger so it is no wonder that you may feel a strong urge to escape or avoid. situations activities people that make you anxious For example if you are scared of. dogs you would probably avoid going to places where you may encounter a dog e g a. To help you identify situations that you avoid try to come up. with as many answers as possible to the following, o If you woke up tomorrow morning and all your anxiety. had magically disappeared what would you do,o How would you act. o How would someone close to you know you weren t,Finish the following sentences. o My anxiety stops me from,o When I am not anxious I will be able to. Once you are able to understand and recognize anxiety you will be better prepared to. move on to the next stage learning how to manage anxiety. Anxiety is a problem when your body reacts as if there is danger when there is no real danger It s like having an overly senstive smoke alarm system in your body 2 Anxiety problems are common One in four adults will have an anxiety disorder in their lifetime Anxiety is like a smoke alarm system A smoke alarm can help to protect us when there is an actual fire but when a smoke alarm is

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