Anxiety is our body’s response to threat – it is as simple as that. Anxiety’s job is to keep us alive and safe.
Anxiety tells you to run away from a pack of wolves. It also motivates you to study for that math test you are feeling nervous about.
Here’s the problem: Anxiety can get cocky and self-righteous; its job is “so important” that sometimes it works overtime just in case.
Instead of running away from a pack of wolves, the fear normally preserved for life-threatening situations starts being applied to everyday occurrences. Example: I can’t go outside today because it isn’t safe. Also, there might be a pack of wolves.
Instead of feeling nervous about a math test, anxiety creates a storyline. Example: You will not pass this math test, the next test, nor any test in the future. No college is going to accept you, you’ll never have a career, and you will spend the rest of your life alone in your parent’s basement eating generic, stale cheese balls. 😉
When anxiety gets too big for its britches, it lives by two rules:
Discomfort = Danger
Imagination = Fact
Here is the good news: anxiety is treatable. Therapy can help you respectfully put anxiety back in its place. Added bonuses include shifted perspectives, effective coping mechanisms, and increased problem-solving skills. Let’s reserve the built-up, unnecessary fear for an actual pack of wolves, shall we?