In situation of danger or risk, our brain answers with anxiety.
But, what happens when our brain interprets as dangerous a daily situation? It immediately sends signs of anxiety as if it was a truly dangerous situation.
In real danger, anxiety helps us preventing those situations. Keeping us safe.
We could say there are two types of anxiety: the positive anxiety and the negative anxiety. The positive anxiety is a result of being in a situation of real danger. And the negative anxiety, which answers to, fears that only exists in our imagination.
The first one is good because it helps us moving away from danger, while the second one is really bad because it blocks us and prevents us from living a full happy life.
Anxiety is produced as a consequence of our inability to adapt to life changes.
Our brain works in a particular way, when something is important for us, it produces an emotional response. Good or bad, the brain repeats the same response to the same stimulus. For example, what goes through your head when you listen to that song or smell that perfume?. The song and the perfume bring back not just the memories, but the sensations and the feelings related with the situation.
Anxiety works just like that, and is “hooked” to memories that activate every time something makes you remember. Many times, anxiety is produced as a result of a real thing, but remains in your brain once the danger is gone, and also stays associated to the fact that activated the fear in the first place.
Anxiety immediately causes a series of symptoms in the nervous system in order to keep us safe. You can experience perspiration, tachycardia, palpitations, a knot in the stomach, lack of air, spinning head… there are more than forty symptoms related to the anxiety.
Once anxiety has “hooked” itself to the memories that produced it in the first place, it could get activated during your daily life. That is a real problem. More and more daily stimuli can activate the anxiety reaction in no situation of danger.
Anxiety can escalate so that associations become generalised (first you fear going to a store, later you might fear taking a walk in the city, finally you fear leaving your house, for example).