There, I said it.
If you do not know this, it is because you
a. Don't Have Anxiety, or
b. Don't know someone who does
Otherwise I pretty much assume you know what I'm talking about, and we can go from there.
Here's the rub: some anxiety is good for you. I realize that sounds impossible, but imagine what would happen if you never felt pressure to perform. What if missing your term paper didn't produce any feelings of worry? Or how about your boss's opinion of your performance? You get the point: a little anxiety is necessary for society (and you) to go on functioning. Without it, we would all be a lot like the main character of "Office Space"... good for comedy; not so good if you prefer to have a home and eat food.
But what about when anxiety tips the scales beyond production into true suffering? What then? Well I'm glad you asked, because I have a theory! (Uh-oh, here it comes) But before I can tell it to you, lets review the prehistoric roots of our anxiety, shall we?
Once upon a time....
Our brains had to determine friend from foe... and quickly. When running into an animal in the forest, there was no time to create spread charts of pros vs cons. All we knew is, our survival depended on one thing: action. We didn't always know what the action ought to be... but we knew there ought to be some.
This call to act is now known as: fight or flight response. In other words, when prehistoric man was in an unfamiliar and/or dangerous situation... our prehistoric brains sent signals to our body. The signals went something like: "RED ALERT! RED ALERT! THAT ANIMAL WILL EAT YOU!" and then depending on your odds, the follow up signal was "FIGHT!" or if the predator was large: "RUN!" Our bodies were flooded with everything needed to make us move fast, and survive the fight or the chase. The way we digested food, the way we breathed, the way we heard, even the way our blood pumped... all were used in harmony to ensure our survival for that moment. Many years of human history perfected this operation. Because, as you might have guessed, any human who didn't experience the fight or flight reaction- was often lunch for the faster animals.
How does this apply to anxiety? Well that prehistoric "Fight or Flight" response is now known as anxiety. Modern humankind doesn't often find itself faced with the risk of becoming a meal. But try telling your brain that! You see, the brain is slooooow to evolve. It got the way it is over a long time. It's not going to change quickly.
Okay, how does this help you?
I believe this is good information for one reason: because once you understand your brain, you can make peace with it (little caveman that it is). When you experience anxiety, it is because your brain is telling to you to act. Remember, anxiety is our "Fight or Flight" response... it is a RED ALERT CALL TO ACTION for survival's sake.
Many people suffer under anxiety's weight: silent and still. I submit that this is the exact opposite of what you ought to do, because even in the year 2010- your body is still doing what it would have done in 1010 and 0010 to stay alive: it would have demanded action then, and it's demanding action now. The only way to get relief, therefore, is to give it what it wants....
In my next blog- I'll tell you how to do just that, and how to tell when anxiety is more than just that....