Anxiety: Smoke detector of the human body

It’s very common to hear, ‘This is giving me anxiety!’ when someone faces an uncomfortable situation that makes them nervous.

“Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” – American Psychological Association.

Anxiety is said to be a natural response to stress, where one apprehends the future stresses. The first day of a job, giving a speech, or during a practical exam, are some of the examples which may lead to fearful and nervous feelings.

Anxiety is one of human’s internal warning systems that alert the individual to danger or other threats and prepares the body to fight back or get out of that dangerous situation. Scientists call it the ‘Fight-Flight-Freeze’ response where, for example, during an interview, a person may snap at people (fight), or have difficulty thinking clearly (freeze), or can avoid the interview (flight).

Anxiety is like a Smoke Detector

A ‘Smoke Detector’ is a kind of alarm that helps us protect ourselves when there’s an actual fire. It also alerts us when there’s smoke (from a burning toast in the oven), which can be annoying. Similar to Smoke Detector, anxiety is very helpful and adaptive when it works, but when there’s no actual danger and one experiences anxiousness, it can be scary.

However, we do not want to get rid of this Smoke Detector because it protects us from real or imagined danger. But we can fix it so it works properly. The first step to successfully managing anxiety is to learn to understand and recognize it. Everything starts with awareness, and so does managing anxiety.

Anxiety is normal, everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. It is adaptive as well, it is a system that helps an individual deal with real or imagined danger, or performs at their best.

When one experiences anxiety, there are a lot of sensations occur in the human body, as it prepares itself for danger, these sensations are called ‘alarm reaction’. During the experiences of anxiety, an individual may feel:-

· Rapid Heart Beat and Increased Breathing: As when the body is preparing itself for danger, it prepares for action, and makes sure there is enough blood and oxygen being circulated in the body. This was created for an individual to either run or fight off danger.

· Sweating: It helps in cooling down the body, and a lot of sweat is released to make the skin more slippery which will it difficult for an animal or person to grab hold of that individual.

· Choking Sensations: During the preparation of the human body in the face of danger, muscles tend to tense up. Increased muscle tension around the neck or rapid breathing makes the mouth dry out, which feels like choking.

· Nausea and Digestive Problems: When an individual is faced with danger, the body shuts down its systems and processes which aren’t needed for survival, as its whole focus shifts from anything to survival, providing enough energy to run or fight. Digestion is one of the processes which isn’t needed at that time, because of which nausea or upset stomach can be experienced during anxiety.

· Feeling Dizzy or Lightheaded: During a time of danger, the body provides a lot of blood and oxygen to the major muscle groups, as a result of which an individual breathes faster. However, this response of the human body may lead to hyperventilation, which can make the individual feel dizzy or lightheaded. Another explanation is the blood and oxygen are sent to the major muscle groups that are the arms or legs, which leads to a slight decrease of blood in the brain, which can make one dizzy (however, the slight decrease of blood in the brain is not dangerous at all).

Anxiety doesn’t only impact an individual’s body but also their thoughts and behaviors. There are three parts to anxiety, first is physical symptoms, the second is thoughts, and then behaviors. The physical symptoms focus on the responses of the body to perceived or real danger, and the thought focuses on how one sees themselves, then the behavior is what happens next, what that individual does, and his/her actions.

Anxiety becomes a problem when an individual’s body reacts as if there is a danger when there isn’t. It looks like having an overly sensitive smoke detector in one’s body. The duration or severity of feeling anxious can sometimes become out of proportion and can be a result of a stressor or a trigger, whose responses move beyond anxiety and turn into an anxiety disorder.

The American Psychological Association states that a person having an anxiety disorder is like “having recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.” One in four adults experiences an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

How can BluetoYellow help in supporting your mental health?

Anxiety is a normal part of every individual’s life, but when it hinders your job, relationships, and/or other parts of your life, you can seek professional help by contacting us.

BluetoYellow is working towards providing quality online counseling sessions to the young population at affordable prices. Our dynamic therapists follow a client-centric approach that creates a safe and confidential space for you to express your emotions and thoughts without any judgment.

If you or you know someone who can be benefited from the blog, forward the page to bring awareness to them.

You can start your mental health journey with the small step of booking an appointment with BluetoYellow today.

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