Every person on this planet is wired for anxiety. It’s the alarm system for the brain. It tells us when there’s danger about.
However, if the nervous system becomes overly-sensitized (as it will from trauma and other life experiences), the alarm bells start ringing for things that are only remotely “dangerous”.
For example, just sitting in a restaurant with your back to the entrance can trigger a panic attack. You see, you feel vulnerable when you can’t see what’s behind you.
Anxiety and even panic can be triggered, but the purpose is to protect you – it’s your primitive lizard brain warning you of the presence of danger.
This ancient alarm system is part of the fight/flight mechanism and it’s mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. When the “danger” passes, the nervous system attempts to move back into a neutralized state where you feel calmer yet “on the ready”.
This ancient alarm system is the front end of the fight/flight mechanism and it’s mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. Ordinarily, after the “danger” passes the nervous system should move back into a state where you feel calmer yet “on the ready”.
However, if you suffer from anxiety it takes much longer for the danger signals to subside. Indeed, you’ll have trouble slowing down, even when you know it’s safe (like when it’s time to sleep!)
When anxiety and fear are triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, the endocrine system releases energy so we can respond quickly; this enables us to escape threatening situations, and survive.
For example, if I’m crossing the street and suddenly a car swerves around a corner coming straight at me, my body automatically makes me jump out of the way before I even become fully aware of the danger .
That’s the protective action of the lizard brain.
However, if your lizard brain’s habitual reaction to the smallest threat is overkill, you’ll feel your life is not under your control. You’ll find yourself saying or doing things you later regret.
A lizard brain that’s always set on ‘overkill’ will dramatically affect the quality of your life because, in this charged up state, your emotions become unmanageable and interfere with normal functioning.
Personally speaking, I suffered from anxiety for years, although I never recognized it as such. Anxiety was so much a part of my daily life that it felt as if this hyped-up state was just who I was.
You see, anxiety takes many forms – the worst are the fears that prevent you from stepping out in your life. I only know this because of my own personal journey with therapy.
In fact, it was only after working with a body-based therapist (when the anxiety was long gone) that I recognized having suffered from it for so many years.
So if you think there may be something holding you back in your life, don’t hesitate – get help now and live a bigger, fuller life 🙂
To learn more about anxiety, you might another article I wrote at Natural Relief for Anxiety Attack Symptoms