I am not an expert by any means, just someone who suffers from it and researches as much as I can to learn more on what is happening to me, but I wanted to TRY to write a blog about what anxiety is and why we have it.
I have always felt anxious. Sometimes more than others, and when I have a deadline, I must admit, it really helps me to push myself.
However that feeling of dread that anxiety causes, the worrying in advance, is the opposite of helpful.
And this is the root of the problem with anxiety. We have it for a purpose, but we aren’t always using it that way.
Our cave man brain was useful when we had to defend ourselves against actual attack. It is the reason that we have survived for generations, learning early that fire will burn our hand, that our bodies have limitations and that some things cause pain or even death. It allows humanity to survive, and is extremely useful when we are in imminent danger.
However, in the modern world, we are largely safe. Yes, there are moments that we require anxiety to protect us, but we are safer now than in the past.
Yet, just google anxiety and you will get billions of hits. Are we really suffering from it more, or are we just sharing our experiences more now than ever in history because of the internet, social media and the acceptance of mental health issues?
As I mentioned, anxiety has been the reason that humanity has survived, keeping us away from and aware of danger. So now, in the modern world, why are we so anxious?
In the past, people had less things calling for their attention. Now with the invention of the smartphone, notifications beep all day long, demanding for our time. This makes me sound anti-technology, and I am not, I can’t remember life before WiFi and my latest smartphone. But think about it, how many things do you do a day. Take some time to write a list. Now read the list back and tick how many you did from start to finish without doing something else. Probably the only one will be the shower, as we can’t take the phone in there!?!
We are more connected than ever, and we have access to everything easily. So many things are calling out for our attention, so many options, that we are overloaded with everything – books, magazines, TV shows, friends, the list is endless. We’re more connected than ever before and we’ve got so many options.
So is it any wonder that we are more anxious. At a moments notice, you can see a news alert about something terrible that has happened in the world. You can see a work email that stresses you, or see something on social media that makes you feel insecure.
Over stimulation of the senses is definitely a trigger for anxiety. Our bodies and brains are still working as they did in the caves, but now we have perceived fear from things that are not a physical threat to our existence, and our brain reacting with the flight or fight response, is anxiety. In a nutshell.
Check back for more blogs on ways to combat this, coming soon!