Anxiety – What is It

Anxiety has been defined as “apprehension, tension or uneasiness that stems from the anticipation of a danger, whose source is largely unknown.” We all experience this uneasiness in varying degrees. You may feel anxious before making a speech in front of a group of people. Or you feel its pangs before a test or an interview. It is often a normal response to certain life situations. It’s your mind’s way of saying, “I’m nervous. I hope I do well!”

But occasionally this uneasiness can be incapacitating preventing you from leading a happy and healthy life. How do you know when its gotten to a problematic level? Well, first, anxiety begins affecting your life in very real and tangible ways. Perhaps you stop taking part in certain social events. Or your job performance becomes affected. Or you begin suffering from anxiety attacks.

“I found myself staying at home more and more. Social events were just too much. It didn’t matter if they were small or big, I’d just feel so claustrophobic. I could barely breathe, let alone hold a conversation. One work party, I found myself standing outside in the cold most of the time. It eventually became easier just to say no and stay at home.” – Elizabeth, 38

Secondly, you feel powerless in the face of your ever-growing anxiety. It seems to feed upon itself, causing more anxiety symptoms. This powerlessness can often lead to depression or physical difficulties.

Left untreated, condition can worsen, leading to an increasingly sheltered, fear-based existence that affects family, friendships, careers and simply, your ability to enjoy your life. Anxiety can also affect every level of your being. It has physiological, behavioral and psychological elements. It’s certainly not just “in your mind” but affects your breathing, your blood pressure, your very being. Hence why anxiety attacks are very real and can occasionally land a sufferer in the emergency room.

So what is the difference between fear and anxiety? Simply put, fear is usually directed at a concrete external situation or object. You may “fear” an upcoming meeting with your boss or even a doctor’s appointment.

Anxiety is more of an internal process and is often vague in its cause. You can’t often specify what you’re anxious about. It’s as if you’re strongly responding to a dangerous situation – but unsure of what that situation is!

While this uneasiness can often feel hazy and strange, the analysis of today has become quite exact. The more you understand about the causes of anxiety, symptoms of anxiety and the treatments for anxiety, the more concrete the solutions become.

Demystifying this condition is the equivalent of looking at the monster in the closet. No longer will it cause sleepless nights and bad dreams. You begin to realize anxiety, like that monster, isn’t as terrifying as you’d feared. To learn more about anxiety and anxiety disorders, please visit

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