Fear is a state triggered by real, objective danger. When there is an actual threat staring you in the face, fear activates the release of chemicals into your body to help you survive. This is otherwise known as the famous fight, flight or freeze response.
As humans have evolved, we’ve fine-tuned our capacity to think critically about the future and anticipate threats. Unfortunately, simple thoughts about things that could “go wrong” can throw the body into fight-flight-freeze mode–this is anxiety. Anxiety mimics the fear or stress response.
So, why does anxiety feel so bad? Your pulse quickens, your heart speeds up, your chest tightens, you sweat, your muscles tense up, you tremble, your hands tingle, your breath turns shallow, your throat tightens, your tummy feels funny, you feel like you might pass out… all of this can happen from a simple worried thought in your head.
If you’ve ever had trouble explaining why anxiety feels so bad to friends or family, check out the video above.
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