Anxiety is a complex emotional response that’s similar to fear. Both arise from similar brain processes and cause similar physiological and behavioral reactions; both originate in portions of the brain designed to help all animals deal with danger. Fear and anxiety differ, however, in that fear is typically associated with a clear, present, and identifiable threat, whereas anxiety occurs in the absence of immediate peril. In other words, we feel fear when we actually are in trouble- like when a truck crosses the centre line and heads towards us. We feel anxiety when we have a sense of dread or discomfort but aren’t, at the moment, in danger.
Rewiring Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic & Worry
Anxiety can be a familiar feeling for most people as it is a natural response to danger or stress. Sometimes our anxiety can be helpful as it moves us to leave a dangerous situation. However, experiencing anxiety regularly and in ways that negatively impact you can hinder the quality of life and may even indicate that you are experiencing an anxiety disorder. Our brains are wired to keep us safe, however with biological and environmental impacts we can be more susceptible to feeling anxious. This can manifest through phobias, isolation, general anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hypochondria and more.
There are a number of options that can help with anxiety including CBT and EMDR, medication, meditation, yoga, and more. It’s important to know that anxiety is rooted in our brain and that our brain can change! This means that the experience of anxiety can change for you too.
What Should I Expect When Going to Therapy for Anxiety?
Working with a trained professional can provide an emotionally safe environment. A therapeutic space allows you to identify the triggers, thought patterns, and experiences that may induce feelings of anxiety. Once these patterns are identified you and your therapist can create a treatment plan tailored to your unique experience with anxiety and develop strategies to help improve your quality of life.