How many types of anxiety are there? To what extent are all our concerns credible? Are we rational when we are anxious? Find out the answers to these and other questions about anxiety.
Last update: February 01, 2020
There is no doubt that ours is the age of anxiety; that emotional state that makes us twist our guts, that knots our throats and that turns into mental worries. In this article, we present some curiosities about anxiety.
Sometimes, the anxiety lasts for an instant, leaving shortly after arriving; others, on the other hand, keep us company more than we would like. If we let ourselves be carried away by its capacity for storytelling and imagination, we can become trapped in terrifying scenarios. Not surprisingly, it is said that feeling anxious is like being sick of the future. Although a lot has already been said about this state these days, there are some curiosities about anxiety that are not well known.
You were born to be free, not to be a slave to anything or anyone. Don't let anxiety fill your life.
Little-known curiosities about anxiety
Anxiety satiates the rational brain
Our brains hate uncertainty, the feeling of not being in control and not knowing what is going to happen. Thus, when we are faced with an unknown situation, thousands of worries begin to crowd our minds, as the amygdala, the almond-shaped brain structure that guards our memory, begins to supervise what is happening.
If it senses a dangerous situation, the amygdala immediately activates the alarm signal, releasing hormones into the bloodstream (such as cortisol and dopamine) in order to safeguard our survival and be able to anticipate what could happen. When this mechanism is set in motion, there is no reverse; our rational brain stops working.
The amygdala, while acting with good intentions, activates a system with primitive characteristics that it leads us to be more instinctive and to generate inaccurate responses.
Most of the concerns are not real
Worrying is human. After all, we are programmed to do it. Programmed to anticipate what might happen and, consequently, be able to think of alternative plans to survive.
But between worrying from time to time to always doing it, there is a big difference. A study conducted by the State University of Pennsylvania states that 91% of our concerns typically do not materialize.
Something that had already been anticipated by the American Earl Nightingale when he said that 40% of our worries never come true, that 30% have to do with the past and therefore worry about them is useless, that 12% concerns our health, but it has no response, and that 10% are of little consequence. Doing a quick calculation, according to Earl, we should only worry about 8% of our worries.
These very early curiosities about anxiety can already lead us to some reflections: of everything we think, imagine and fear will happen, fiction is often the master. An aspect that we can easily prove.
Ask yourself what your greatest concern is and what possible event is the one that upsets you the most. In a week or a year, see if it has come true or not. You will be surprised by the answer.
Different types of anxiety
There are two types of anxiety.
- In the first type, anxiety is more adaptive and aims to protect us from potential dangers. This is rational anxiety, such as when we have a job interview or get no response from a loved one.
- The second type is a more irrational anxiety, such as to perceive as a danger something that is not, making us unable to face the threat. Like when after a job interview we are convinced that it did not go well and that we have no chance of being hired. Or like when a person does not answer us and we are convinced that he has abandoned us.
In this second and final state, we can experience anguish and pain that we are unable to control, capable of spreading throughout the body and which makes it difficult for us to develop our daily lives.
Curiosity about anxiety: it leads us to believe that everything is important
Another rather curious aspect is that for anxiety everything is important, which is why when we are anxious, we have a hard time setting priorities.
Any detail can cause enormous discomfort; even the slightest change can affect our behavior. This is why we try to predict everything that could happen.
It is not only important what we say or not, but also how we are dressed, how we behave or how other people affect our successes. Everything is decisive, everything affects and must be kept under control. But as this is a mission impossible, we end up feeling overwhelmed and increasing stress levels.
Running away from situations increases anxiety
Avoiding any potentially anxious stimuli or situations seems natural. When we do, we feel relieved. But if we use this strategy in the long run, avoiding stressful situations every time becomes counterproductive.
When we avoid or run away from something all the time, we miss the opportunity to check if the much feared stimulus is actually harmless., doing nothing but keeping our fear of it alive. We avoid checking whether that danger exists or not, letting our irrational ideas take root more and more in our mind and make our anxieties grow as a result. Furthermore, escaping from situations limits our life because it affects our mood.
Anxiety also wears masks
There are cases where anxiety can hide behind emotions such as sadness, anger and pain, but also behaviors such as procrastination, insomnia or intense tiredness, loss of appetite or a lot of appetite.
Other times, however, anxiety is silent and inexpressive; the people who suffer from it seem to have a calm and serene air, but in reality inside they are full of fears and turmoil. Often they cannot even admit that they suffer from anxiety.
Anxiety Facts: Cultivating a sense of hope reduces this mood
The anxious mind is convinced that what is about to happen will certainly be dangerous and threatening, especially if it does not know what it is. He fears uncertainty and insecurity. Although there are several therapies to treat anxiety, sometimes a few simple strategies are enough to reduce its effects. One of all, to cultivate hope.
University of Houston psychologist and professor Matthew Gallaguer, along with his team, conducted a study that showed that working on hope can be of great help in therapy. This seems to favor the change of the person in his way of thinking, feeling and perceiving reality.
If we think about it, hope is basically the opposite of fear, as it implies a confidence that things will not go wrong. It is a philosophical, spiritual and emotional aspect that enhances the stamina and growth mindset.
Being too demanding of yourself generates anxiety
Being demanding of ourselves is not a problem in itself; in fact, it helps us grow. The problem arises when we become too demanding. An over-demand that is negatively reflected in our inner dialogue.
After all, the problem is often not the "what", but the "how". If we demand too much of ourselves, we develop a destructive need that will end up hurting us. It is the tyranny of self-exigency, of speaking to each other with words like "must" or "should" and a dominant ideal that tries to tell us how we should be (strong, good, perfect, efficient).
An impossible goal to achieve that forces us to suffer as nothing will ever be enough. That for this punishes us and traps us in a spider's web from which it is difficult to get out, and in which anxiety becomes the protagonist.
As we have seen in this article, the universe of anxiety is as mysterious as it is exciting. Anxiety is that emotional state to which we owe absolute respect, always trying to grasp its positive essence.