Anxiety 101: What You Need to Know About Anxiety
Anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Anxiety can be helpful as it serves to alert us to potential threats, protect us from danger and help us reach important goals. For example, it’s normal to feel anxious when encountering a bear on a hike or before an important job interview.
Anxiety is not dangerous. Although anxiety feels uncomfortable, it is temporary and will eventually decrease. The sensations we experience when anxious are designed to alert us to potential danger or threat and to help us get ready to protect ourselves. These sensations are normal and part of our body’s natural response mechanism that help us “amp up” when faced with danger and to “calm down” when the threat has passed.
Anxiety is adaptive. Anxiety helps us cope with real danger, such as crossing a busy street or exiting a burning building, by helping us stay alert and take action. It can also help us perform at our best, by motivating us to study for an exam or prepare for an interview. When we experience anxiety, it triggers our "fight-flight-freeze" response, and prepares our body to react. For instance, our heart beats faster to pump blood to our muscles, so we have the energy to run away or fight off danger. We need some anxiety. Without it, we would not survive.
Anxiety can become a problem. Some anxiety in certain situations is normal and useful. However, if you are constantly feeling anxious or worried, and avoiding daily activities, school, work, or socializing because you’re too scared, anxiety has become a problem. Think of anxiety like fog: if it covers everything, makes it hard to see, stops you from doing what you usually do, and generally gets in the way, then it has likely become a problem. In small amounts we can maneuver through the fog and get to our destination, but when the fog is so thick we are “grounded” its time to take action!
Anxiety is part of life. Trying to eliminate anxiety from our lives is almost impossible, and even if it were possible, we need it for survival and our lives might become too restrictive and boring. As a result, this website has been designed to provide you and with information, tools, resources, and more, to help you become an expert on coping with anxiety. Since anxiety is everywhere, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the confidence and skill to tolerate anxiety whenever it occurs, and to continue living your life anyway!