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Understanding Anxiety

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Anxiety is a lion

Contemporary psychology describes an array of different anxiety disorders ranging from generalized anxiety to traumatic stress. The existential school of psychology but also the mindfulness approach argue that only one anxiety exists, our fear of death.

Anxiety is the fear of losing control. That fear of something happening that you want to avoid.

No matter which one of the two theoretical orientations you adopt at the very core of the argument lies the fear of something unwanted happening. The anxious person is trying to avoid something from materializing. The need to control causes the threat system to be activated and the body- mind to start interacting to avoid the threat.

The evolutionary perspective

Anxiety is an evolutionary process that has supported us, for hundreds of thousands of years A safeguard process that guided us through the perils we needed to face. When we perceive a threat, like a lion coming to attack us , the thread system is activated and the body to goes into overdrive. The threat subsides either because we are eaten by the lion or the body would spend the energy build up and come back to its normal state.

The pace of modern life have shifted dramatically, and with it the nature and number of perceived threats. Whereas in the past, we were faced with only a specific number of decisions each week, now we encounter a substantial number of novel and hypothetical situations. Most of them never manifest them selves into real danger, but nevertheless maintain us into a cycle of constant threat causing the body to work overdrive. We have managed to turn a protective function against us. The lion now resides solely in our head.

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