Understanding Your Anxiety – By Dr David Lewis

Anxiety is a debilitating curse that undermines your self-confidence and makes failure more likely than success. When acute it spoils your enjoyment of life when chronic it can ruin your life. The good news is there is an antidote to anxiety. Clinically proven, highly effective, and easily mastered methods for controlling your fears rather than allowing them to control you.

Listen to How and Why Anxiety Arises

Anxiety often arises in situations where we want and need to stay calm and clear headed – a job interview or promotions board, an exam or test, a first date or when faced by a bullying boss. You want to stay calm, focused and confident. But that’s pretty hard to do when your mouth has gone dry, your stomach is churning, your heart racing, you feel sick and giddy, find yourself blushing and sweating or fear fainting. Sometimes the fear becomes so overwhelming that you have a panic attack.

The Anxiety Response is a Learned Response

Anxiety, no matter how intense and disabling, is not an illness but an association you have learned. Essentially what is happening is that a primitive, but perfectly normal and natural survival mechanism, known as the Fight, Flight or Freeze response, has taken control of your system.

To fight or flee most effectively your muscles and brain need more oxygen and energy. So your heart speeds up to provide it. Since there is no point in digesting your food if you are about to be killed, the digestion is shut down for the duration. It’s rather like a battleship at action stations, the captain closes down less immediately essential departments, such as the laundry or galley, so that sailors can man the guns.

The result? Your mouth goes dry and your stomach churns as the hormone adrenalin floods the body. You go pale, as blood is drained from beneath the skin and diverted to the muscles. You start trembling as the muscles of action tense. You start to sweat, when fighting or fleeing sweating helps reduce body heat. The increased oxygen to the brain may cause you to feel faint or dizzy. Other less obvious changes occur as well. The speed with which your blot clots, for example, increases to enable you to better survive any injury.

If there really is a physical threat to your survival such arousal can help save your life as the video opposite shows. In it a sailor described how he survived the sinking of his vessel that went down in a violent storm.

In today’s world where most of the threats we face are psychological rather than physical high levels of anxiety, for example when attending a job interview, taking an exam, speaking in public or going on a date, proves anything but helpful.

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