Explaining Anxiety

They say that adrenaline can release great strength. They say that when we go into emergency survival mode, we can move what would otherwise be unmovable.
I can say I remember when I was a kid and I was playing around with my brother’s weights in the basement. Somehow, the bench fell on me in a way that would be too hard to explain in words. I was trying to crawl through the weight bench and then the entire bench flipped on me.
However, how and why is less important. More important is what happened.
The crash was heard upstairs. Mom shouted down the basement steps asking if I was okay. I answered no.

Mom was not physically strong by any means. In this case; however, she was able to pick up the weight of the bar and the plates that fell across my back. I was pinned to the floor. Again, how this happened would be too hard to explain. Either way, Mom ran down the steps and lifted the bar so I could get out from under the heavy weights.

This is an example of adrenaline. When Mom’s fear and survival receptors took over, she was able to move the otherwise unmovable.

We have an emergency mode, in which, at the time, we are capable of incredible things. Our mind is always focused on survival. When needed, we have an energy reserve, so-to-speak, that takes over. After the incident, we have a period of high-adrenaline, but once the moment is over, we eventually go back to our usual sense of balance.

We have this center in our mind that thinks and acts and responds to stimuli. We have this part of our brain where fear and stress have receptors, which can be triggered by an idea or a thought or memory.
In this case, by thinking about a problem, we can enact our emergency system into a state of false alarm. The mind goes into survival mode, in which we literally think our way into crisis.

Stress is a common fact of life. Anxiety is common as well. Our stressors that cause anxiety may differ; however, we can all relate to stress.

Our bodies are made to handle and process short-term stress. Something happens, the energy bursts, and then we move on.
I have heard this explained best with animals. For example, an animal in the woods hears a noise. The animal runs away to find safety. Once safe, the animal goes back to doing whatever that animal does.

Anxiety is us being that animal, always afraid for the chase and always looking for cover but never really finding it. Anxiety is us in emergency mode, all the time, and at full throttle.

How can this be healthy?

Our life is a series of memories which we connect to experience, opinion, and the end result of emotion.
Simply by thinking about an instance or a person, place, or thing can switch this on. We can think ourselves sick. Worse, we can think ourselves into panic mode and have an anxiety attack.

I remember a time when I was faced with the consequences of a poor choice. I was embarrassed by my behavior. I was afraid of public shame and humiliation.
I thought, “Everyone is gonna know!” as if everyone is actually involved in my life and, and, as if I am even this important. The truth is I am not.
The shame of an event and the wrong doings however, are the exposure of self; this is the fear of being seen as imperfect or undesirable. This is also ego at its best.

Now, whether the fears are accurate or not is irrelevant. The relevant part is the response and the reaction to fear, which is all based on subconscious ideas and programs and habits.
We are all a memorized series of outcomes, behaviors, and hardwired opinions. Our attitude is programmed based on how we were taught, what we went through, and what our perception teaches us.
I have studied several lectures on this matter, all of them leading to the same conclusion. Our mind is the dilemma. This is what we need to solve. Not the symptoms and the behaviors. We need to sooth the receptors to keep them from overreacting.

When triggered, our mind goes through a series of outcomes and ideas that moves through the channels in our brain, faster than a bullet, and quicker than the speed of light..
This is where we create outcomes and projections. Just like that animal in the woods, we hear a noise, and then emergency alarm goes off.
We run for cover. We run to protect ourselves. More accurately, we run to hide. Our adrenaline pumps and the energy bursts through our body. Only, with anxiety, we live in a constant state of emergency survival mode. We think ourselves sick because our mind and body is not made to live in a constant state of emergency.

I was asked why people drink to the point of passing out or why would someone use so many drugs. I was asked why we use habits. Why do we look for things to pacify ourselves? Where is the attraction to certain distractions that lead to habitual or addictive behaviors? This could be anything that ranges from food to shopping to sexual expression and so on. This explains why we cross boundaries and why we behave in otherwise self-destructive patterns. In this case, we are not at our best. Therefore we are making decisions based on emergency survival mode just to feel better

In many cases, we choose our behaviors as a distraction from the emergency mode so that we can find our place of safety and go on about living our lives without fear.
Even if the choice of habit is short lived with pleasure; at least, we’re not the scared little animal running through the forest, scared as hell, and looking for cover.

This is only an explanation of stress and high anxiety. The real trick is to find ways to change our subconscious programming. We have to wipe our hard drive from the programmed biases and learn to reboot, reprogram, and rewire our thinking. Else, we find ourselves repeating the same thoughts and patterns that turn on the switches to the thought machine.

Put simply, we just want to get out of emergency mode so we can rest. This is what it means to be well.

Make sense?

Beware of your perception

One thought on “Explaining Anxiety

  1. Pingback: Explaining Anxiety — The Written Addiction – Change Your Direction Counseling & Interventions

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