Most people believe that anxiety is bad. Anxiety is actually a defence mechanism that is created by the brain to send the body a warning signal to say something has to adjust and it has to adjust quickly!
Anxiety should only ever happen when you are in some kind of danger. Anxiety is what is known as the “fight or flight” response. Let’s say you are walking in the park and you turn around to see an alligator running towards you. Instantly your brain starts working to keep you alive. You instantly become super focused on the danger (the alligator). In fact your peripheral vision stops working because if you become distracted on something in your peripheral vision you could die (alligator would eat you). To help you fight or run away from the alligator (fight or flight) you receive this huge burst of energy.
With this huge burst of energy certain things happen to your body. Your blood pressure goes up, you may sweat, shake, become stomach sick, etc. This is what we call anxiety. The thing is though, when you are running away from the alligator you’re not going to notice any of the side effects (anxiety) of the fight or flight response because all your attention is on fighting the alligator or running for your life.
However, when you’re sitting at home completely safe or driving your car and are in no danger at all and then you start to experience the fight or flight response it’s the most terrifying feeling ever because a) you know you don’t need it and b) all your attention is on the anxiety because their is no dangerous thing to concentrate on.
Why does anxiety happen when your safe if it’s only designed to happen when you’re in danger? It’s because your brain does not know the difference between something real and a thought. Whatever you think about your brain reacts as if that thought is actually taking place in reality.
If you think about someone you love getting into a car accident that person can be right in front of you completely safe yet you are going to feel a lump in the pit of your stomach because your brain is acting as if that thought is true and therefore triggers the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) which gives you the fight or flight response.
That’s why it is so incredibly important to discover how to calm your mind. When you calm your mind you transform your life.