What is Anxiety, Really?


What is Anxiety, Really?

Anxiety is a biological response designed to keep us safe when it functions properly. Our body responds to threatening or difficult situations with anxiety as a way of warning us that danger may exist. This biological response motivates us and prepares us to cope with whatever alarming situation or event lies ahead. Anxiety becomes problematic when it continues for long periods of time. Our nervous system is not designed to adequately handle chronic anxiety and it becomes a hardship on our bodies and minds. The physical response to anxiety include the following possible reactions: increased heart rate, increased respiration, sugar release into the bloodstream for added energy, hormones (adrenaline) is released into our body, increased perspiration, and a sharp focus on the stress at-hand (this can also be described as having tunnel-vision and an inability to see the bigger picture).

Chronic anxiety is anxiety that last longer than expected and begins to interfere with the daily functioning of our lives. Many people with chronic anxiety describe their condition as “paralyzing”, “debilitating”, and/or “incapacitating”. Not only does long-term anxiety wear on us physically, it also creates emotional and mental stress that can worsen over time. The nervous system which is designed to motivate us now becomes a de-motivator when activated over long periods of time.

Numerous options for coping with anxiety are available. The reason that there is not a universal quick fix for anxiety is that coping strategies are unique for each individual. What one person finds soothing might only exacerbate the symptoms for another. This is where a counselor can help. The job of the therapist is to help identify effective skills for managing the client’s anxiety based on the specific needs of that individual. If you are challenged with persistent anxiety, it might be beneficial to seek counseling to gain life-long coping tools.


If you need help managing your anxiety, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors at jedmonds@brightsidecounseling.net or 303-353-9226.