THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FEAR AND ANXIETY
Fear is an instinctive bodily response to an external threat. Every human experiences fear in order to stay alive. Anxiety, or excessive worry, however, is when the fear response is triggered by thoughts or perceived but not actual threats. The repetition of this creates a maladaptive response system.
MALADAPTIVE PATTERNS OF THOUGHT
In a sense, we create our own anxiety from a long history of overthinking. Starting in childhood, we begin developing patterns in thinking based on what we experience. Experiences that cause anxious thought patterns vary widely from person to person and can be rooted in trauma or in well-intentioned parenting. As the cyclical thinking builds, we forget that there is no actual threat to the thoughts that we have, even if the feelings it produces seem real. Sometimes the anxiety can become all consuming and overwhelming, affecting our personal lives and relationships.
PHYSICAL PRESENTATION OF ANXIETY
Anxiety can present physically in the body as chest pain, stomachaches or headaches, as well as cause sleeplessness, irritability, and trouble focusing. These are symptoms of our stress response or Sympathetic Nervous System which sends the message to our body that we are in danger. Managing anxiety includes decreasing the physical symptoms through relaxation techniques as well as recognizing thought patterns and understand that thoughts are not the truth.
Are you stuck in the seemingly endless cycle of anxiety and excessive worry? Take a deep breath. You are okay.
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose." - Eckhart Tolle