If you're anything like I was, one day you've suddenly been hit with
a MASSIVE wave of sheer terror and anxiety.
Out of nowhere. Out of the blue.
Your heart started pounding like crazy, massive pressure in your chest...
...and that feeling like you're out of control, or even about to lose it...
And since then, these episodes of totally freaking out may have become more and more recurrent/regular for you...
You're probably wondering what the funk is wrong with you.
Is it really anxiety? If so, what kind of anxiety and why?
Or is it something else entirely?
In this article you will discover:
1- Am I suffering from anxiety? the anxiety symptoms and experience.
2- What Happens in your brain when you experience anxiety.
3-How to figure out where to go from here in order to free yourself from anxiety.
What Anxiety is - The Physical And
Are any of these experiences familiar to you?
An overwhelming, often terrifying experience where you feel
you're losing control, and body sensations take over.
Your heart's pounding. You start shaking.
Your head feels like it's about to explode.
Extreme body sensations may make you feel like you're about to pass out.
It can even feel like you're losing your mind.
These are only a few of the common symptoms of those wonderful anxiety episodes.
Anxiety comes in different flavors and intensity levels.
The extremely simplified version of what having an anxiety problem is like is:
When you very often feel extremely stressed out, anxious (duh!), and constantly worried.
You're way too stressed, anxious and worried in moments and situations
you know you shouldn't be. Or in your interactions with people.
You may often be fearful that something bad may happen at any moment, even when it makes no sense. Often anticipating the worst. Often watching for signs of danger.
You may avoid all kinds of things, people and situations, because of the fear, stress and anxiety they may trigger.
Basically it's interfering with your life and your mind.
You may feel that you're about to go crazy, and be out of control.
You experience a whole bunch of feelings and body sensations out of the blue,
even when you're not thinking about anything!
You're way too stressed, anxious and worried in moments and situations
you know you shouldn't be. Or in your interactions with people.
You may feel like you're unable to deal with, or control those feelings and sensations. It becomes too much and you just have to "escape", and avoid every and any situation that could trigger these experiences...
-Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
Some people can experience these symptoms above, in every and any situation, which is often referred to as "general anxiety".
While others will only experience anxiety in very specific situations.
There are countless "types of anxiety", but three of the most common ones are:
-Social anxiety symptoms:
When your anxiety happens in relation to people.
You may feel and fear everyone is judging you, be overly self-aware and self-conscious. Just eating or even walking in front of people may cause intense anxiety. To the point you have difficulty doing anything. You may be unable to look at people in the eye and
always look away, being really closed off to other people.
Others others may often interpret this as you not caring about others,
or being rude or stuck up.
Experiencing anxiety when driving anywhere, or just in specific situations or places.
Such as in traffic, on highways, over bridges, in the city, or far from home.
-Panic attacks and symptoms:
Those can happen anytime.
IIt's a sort of thermonuclear version of anxiety.
An extremely intense but shorter burst of anxiety "on steroids".
It can be so intense you may actually think you're about to have a heart attack, pass out or go crazy right then and there. They can be so frightening that people will often get panic attacks, just fearing having another panic attack coming up. Ironic but not funny at all.
Now that we've briefly gone over the main experiential symptoms of anxiety,
let's move to the much more important topic of how anxiety, and most problems,
happen in your brain in the first place... and how to "fix it" by making your
brain more fluid.
What Anxiety Is Part 2 - The brain Experience/What Happens in your brain
To understand how anxiety occurs and what to do about it,
we need to go over how your brain works in this context...
Our brains were designed to keep us alive and well.
On the most basic level, we're driven by the following survival needs and instincts:
Flight or fight, replication and food.
Your survival is the core focus of part of your brain.
The primal reactive reptilian part of your brain.
For the sake of simplicity for the rest of this explanation, I will only refer to it as
the reactive part of the brain (when referencing to the reptilian/primal brain).
Basically this part of your brain is trying to ensure you survive. And for that
it keeps looking for potential dangers. When it thinks it spotted
a potential danger, it will help you get in a mode where you can react
fast, so you avoid the "danger", and "remain alive".
This mode is what's called fight or flight mode. Where you're sort of "running for your life".
This reactive part interacts very little with other thoughts or processes. It limits your ability to think, and simply reacts very quickly. So you can move now, escape danger, and survive. Particularly appropriate way back in the days, when we needed to find food and fight off threats out in the wild, and all of our senses were set to be triggered fast.
When The Reactive Part Of The Brain Becomes An Issue...
But in today's world, this reactive part of the brain creates problem
when dangerous life threatening situations aren't common.
Yet we've been sensitized to having these fight or flight reactions,
in situations where there's just no need to react so much.
You can get a flight or fight response, a survival reaction like anxiety and "run!", for something as simple and non-threatening as asking a stranger what time it is. When there's just no need to react with such survival feelings and instincts. As if something really bad could happen right at that moment, when obviously
it's just not the case!
You may even know intellectually there's no danger, but your body
FEELS otherwise. And THAT is the frustrating and confusing part.
That's crazy and frustrating right?
Sometimes you know intellectually there's nothing to freak out about,
yet your body and mind can't help but get into this anxiety mode.
Part of the reason for this is...
Your Brain Is a Prediction Machine
You have to understand your brain is a prediction machine.
And it uses your past perceptions, how you're currently feeling, and the emotions you filter the world through, to base all its predictions on.
If you filter the world through the main emotions of things like feeling fragile, doubtful, and inferior... you can get to experience anxiety on a daily basis, for example.
You're out in the world, and that world send some stimulus your way, which leads to a reaction...
The stronger the emotions of your reaction, the more likely it will tap
more into the reactive part of your brain than any other parts. Which is how
you get to develop an anxiety problem.
One day you experience some anxiety.
You wrongly associate the activity, environment or action you took, with that anxiety.
The reactive part of the brain is focused on the past.
So your brain takes this experience, and its association with your bad reaction
and perception of a threat - and will use that information as part of the data it'll use to predict
how things will go, and the potential perceived danger, the next time you are in a similar situation.
And that next time it will again tap more into the reactive part of your brain, which causes you to have a strong reaction again. Including possibly an experience of high anxiety. Where you don't feel in control at all.
Your brain is basically predicting and projecting how things are going to go,
based in part on everything it "remembers" has been going on in your past.
And I put "remember" in quotes, because it has been scientifically
proven that your memories change a bit every time you access them.
Which means they're more and more tainted by your current state of being and thinking.
And so however you feel and perceive things now, taints your past memories,
which taints how you feel and perceive things now!
A self-reinforcing loop.
Can you see the power and effect of this loop of perceptions,
past memories and emotions, that feed into each others...
...and how that can really snowball and turn into something completely distorted,
where your predictions are completely off and affecting you greatly!?
This is partly how two people can have a completely different perception and reaction to the same event.
Most people get stuck in their predictions, and simply can't see anything outside of it.
Not to mention these predictions and projections often generalize out, starting having an impact in every area of your life.
How limiting that is!
The Lenses You Filter The World Through
If the brain is a predicting machine, and its predictions are partly based on past experiences and perceptions...
And those past experiences and perceptions are the result of the lenses through which we filter the world...
...identifying and changing the "lenses" through which we filter the world through, is key
to unhealthy anxiety freedom, and to the new fun life we want for ourselves!
So let's focus on our internal lenses or filters if you will...
This "filter" is a part of the brain called the reticular activating system.
But let's just call it a filter.
Note: I will use these two terms, lenses and filters, interchangeably.
They're referring to the same thing.
In reality those "lenses" are really a mental environment, which act as a filter through
which we filter the world through. It filters all incoming information with this tainted lens so to speak.
If your internal environment, or filter if you will, is made up of bad feelings,
then that's how you're gonna filter, project and experience the world through.
Just like a sunny day can be experienced as grey when looked through
a pair of dark tainted sunglasses.
If you look at the world through a filter of feeling fragile, doubtful/stupid
and inferior, you can obviously expect to feel anxious in a lot of situations.
You can expect to be very careful, or not even attempt to do
the things you want to do.
Resulting In Limited Efforts, with Minimal Results
And because you're so insecure, careful and feel stupid,your timid efforts,
where you're really holding back, will probably not be that great, and give you only
In turn, your limited results will confirm to you what you already
believe and feel about yourself: that you're inferior, fragile, or that you just plain “suck”.
And whatever you did that you think you suck at:
You KNEW it was going to happen, you had predicted it, and it did happen.
Again, This "confirmation" reinforces what you already felt and believed about yourself.
And the cycle keeps going and makes all these mental lies and shackles ever stronger.
Confirmation From The World
Not only that, you will even perceive the world is confirming those
things you believe and feel about yourself, even when it's not the case!
If you think you suck, and because of that you project everything
that will happen through that prediction, and you filter all of your direct experiences
through that filter...
...then someone not reacting super positively to you can and often
will be interpreted by you, as them disapproving of you, because you "suck"....
...even if they were actually feeling neutral or positive
about you, or they may simply have been distracted or tired.
Brain Sorting, Filtering And Anticipation
That Screws You Up
You're anticipating the "pain" and anxiety so much AND so often, that you
can screw your whole life up and never do anything.
And when something does happen, you're overreacting so much and feeling so bad about it, that you may never try anything like that again, or put yourself in that same position or situation again.
Here's a different example...
If you feel the world is big dangerous place and everyone is bad, for example, then your brain will sort for things that are bad.
Your brain will be ready to trigger any time something seems even remotely possibly bad.
Someone isn't fully smiling to you when he crosses your path, a bad person.
Someone took a parking spot you just saw from far away but you couldn't get to before them, they're so bad.
Bad, bad, bad everywhere.
The problem is the way your brain filters the world.
The way your brain makes you experience the world, for example as everyone being bad
and out to get you, with every situation being a potential danger to you.
Your brain basically confirms whatever you feel and believe, by sorting through everything coming at it, and taking in whatever confirms what you already feel and believe...
... while discarding the rest!
5 things in a row could go well and you could get 5 good interactions with people... yet 1 things could go not so well and your brain will discard all the good things, and gets you to solely see the "negative" part of the whole thing!
So whether you experience unhealthy unwarranted anxiety or some other problems and emotions that just shouldn't be there at all, the problem is really an illusion projected from a screwed up brain filter.
Your brain project dangers, failure, humiliation or whatever combination
of emotions, and so that's what you experience.
You get all these highly emotional responses, that often
include stress, if not anxiety.
A Tired Brain Switches On Autopilot Mode
Here's another way things get worse:
Your brain only has a finite amount of energy every day.
And emotions drain that energy. So the more reactive and high intensity
emotions you experience, the less energy your brain has left.
Finally, when the brain's energy runs low enough, your brain automatically enters into a
reactive mode where it mostly runs on reflex, not thoughts.
So the thinking part of your brain mostly turns off and you're now more or less
running from this point on in a reactive mode.
How Most People Deal With Anxiety, And Why It Only Make Things Worse.
You have a desire to do all these things in your life, but then as you get closer to doing them, you start feeling some emotions like fear, anxiety, doubt, uncertainty.
This becomes an emotional barrier that gets stronger and stronger the closer you are to the action you wanna take.
At that point most people will go in either of 2 ways:
Pumping Yourself Up:
Some people will use willpower or some other self help "be a warrior" type of approach, or just try to be really strong and "plow through".
The higher the emotional charge resulting from using such things as willpower, the less access you have to the neocortex or creative adaptive part of your brain. (More on this later on).
As a result, your brain is not as balanced and resourceful.
You're actually again too much in a "dumber" reactive mode, and you just don't perform and adapt well. So your results are poor at best.
Not to mention it’s really draining your brain’s energy.
Avoiding Stuff and Get Rewarded:
Other people, like those of us who have had an anxiety problem, will avoid doing "the thing", feel relief for avoiding that thing...
...and will actually get a boost of serotonin in the brain as a reward, for having avoided the "big bad lion danger".
This will also charge up the neocortex "storyteller" in your brain.
Which allow you to be very creative in coming up with excuses as to why
not doing that thing you wanted to do... was actually the right choice!
And you get to feel good about that choice of not doing the thing you actually wanted to do!
This reaction and avoidance becomes stronger and harder to counteract,
the next time you're confronted with that same feared situation.
The next time you're confronted with that same feared situation you previously avoided and got rewarded for it, this reaction and avoidance becomes stronger and harder to resist.
But wait... It gets MUCH worse (and I know you will relate to this):
This pattern of "experiencing bad feelings, avoiding, feeling relief, and getting a feel good reward for avoiding the thing" - becomes stronger and stronger...
...and...more and more sensitive. In fact, over time, having a strong emotional
reaction and avoiding things, becomes virtually instinctual!
That is, where in the past you would experience these strong emotions
and need to avoid, while in the middle of the situation, or right before it...
...now you experience even stronger emotions and your need for avoidance
comes ever earlier in the process.
Eventually you become so sensitive to it, that you can experience the same thing, as if you experienced it in real life, just thinking about it. Even days before the event! It basically becomes an instantaneous process.
Something I'm betting you can understand and personally relate to.
We've all been there. Things that barely stressed us then stressed us A LOT. And now just thinking about that situation days or weeks in advance can make us really anxious.
Conclusion On Anxiety Causes, Symptoms And What you need to do Next In order To
We have just covered a massive amount of information on
what causes anxiety inside your brain, and the main anxiety types & symptoms.
Let's first conclude by quickly going over what we've just learned
about anxiety and your brain...
Then we will take a look at what your anxiety treatment options are,
so you can get better starting today.
We've just gone over the whole cycle of what happens in
your brain in order for you to experience anxiety.
How it gets triggered, and the downward spiral and cascading effects it can have...
....that can get you to a point where you can experience anxiety just at the thought of certain things and situations. Even if they're not even happening in the present moment.
We've learned that:
They pump themselves up.
Which keeps them in "reaction mode", working in the reactive part of the brain. Keeping them in a "dumber" reactive mode that was the environment that allowed the anxiety to appear in the first place.
Or they avoid the situations that triggered the reactions.
This leads them to more and more avoidance of what bothers them. Which makes it easier for their brain to more easily get triggered in unhealthy reactions such as anxiety. It makes them more sensitive to any exposure to "it". And makes avoiding the whole situation easier and more automatic. While making it harder to deal with the situation being avoided.
"Jesuuuusss Oli... Do you have anything positive and helpful to share and help me?"
Well first of all, do you wanna know what are the main forms of Anxiety Help And Solutions Available to you?
And most importantly...
Do you wanna discover what can actually REALLY help you? (The Answer will surprise you BIG time)