• What is Anxiety?
  • Fight or flight?
  • What you may experience in your body when you are anxious

​Anxiety is your heart racing, your thoughts are out of control, your hands are sweaty, you want to know where the nearest hospital is, you don't want to leave the house, you can't breathe. It's like having a bad trip on addiction some may say! Everything you say is in the past tense.

​ Can you get over this? YES

Will life ever be livable and happy? YES!!!

Generally, people who have anxiety are great in situations that are out of their hands. A person with anxiety for instance may have their spouse or father pass away, To get through this time they are completely in control. They take care of everyone, but themselves. They arrange the funeral, the flowers, the will everybody's questions. This is just one example. There are many, many life situations that occur that are out of our hands, that can trigger our mental state if we give it the opportunity.

What this looks like....the anxiety hits and we spiral into a deep depression or we create a life filled with being overwhelmed all the time. We don't stop therefore we don't have time to feel the pain or acknowledge the feelings we don't want to feel. We suppress and go on. But this is just existing. You are just surviving not living.

This may look like a workaholic, a person addicted to drinking, a gambler, an overachiever, a perfectionist, it can be anything. Amor or dad never stops and gets angry for having to do everything, even though that person is making that choice not their own. As long as we don't have to look at ourselves. Therefore not having to take a look at the overwhelming stress and the path that brought us to where we are today.

It is when things are calm and "normal" that we find a way to feel anxious. If someone needed your help and was in a horrible situation, you would know exactly what to do. You are more than capable of helping others. You would know the keys to take care of them and get all the ducks in a row. You are perfect at being in control! The only problem is when you are alone and you have time to think, and there is no chaos, how do you take care of yourself? You become anxious.

There is a way of feeling safe all the time. Learning the tools to know what it's like to take care of yourself. Are you ready?

Anxiety triggers something called the “fight-flight-freeze” response. Like backing up an on-ramp as you see the tunnel ahead of you. I can't do it I have to get off this way. All of a sudden your mind goes into safety mode fight or flight. You are in flight mode. Your backing backward into oncoming traffic off the highway as fast as you can. Your hearts racing, your minds racing, your sweating, anything to not go through the tunnel. WOW, I did it! I'm safe. I'm going home. I'm good.

This automatic response helps you cope with danger. For example, you may yell at your mom for pushing you to take your driving test when you don’t feel ready (fight). You may avoid going to a party or leave early because you feel uncomfortable around people you don’t know (flight). Or, you may freeze and hope the danger doesn’t notice you, like when your mind goes blank when the teacher asks you a question.

This fight-flight-freeze thing is pretty cool. It’s like having superhero powers that you can activate when you need to protect yourself.


When you are faced with danger, blood from your fingers starts to move towards bigger muscles, like your biceps. These bigger muscles need the energy to help you fight or run. Your fingers may feel numb, cold, or tingly as blood moves away from them.


When faced with danger, your body tenses up, so you are ready to spring into action. The muscles in your arms tense up so you can strike out at danger, pull yourself away, or hold still.


Your body works hard to help you get ready for danger. It takes a lot of energy, which can cause your body to heat up. Sweat from your underarms, palms, or forehead cools down your body.

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​When you breathe too fast or too deep, you may feel a little lightheaded. This is called hyperventilating. Don't worry. It's not dangerous! Your body is just trying to get more oxygen and blood to your large muscles so you can fight, run, or hold still.


When you are confronted with danger, your pupils get bigger to let in more light so you can better spot the danger. This can make things seem brighter or fuzzier, and you may even see some black spots or other visual effects.


When your body is preparing itself for action, it makes sure blood and oxygen is pumped to major muscles like your biceps or thighs. This gives you the energy and power to strike out at danger or to run away as fast as you can.


When your body thinks you are in danger, it puts all its resources into protecting you. Other systems in your body (like your digestive system) slow down because your body thinks giving you energy to deal with the danger is more important than digesting that sandwich you had for lunch. Of course, this means you might get an upset or sore stomach from that sandwich sitting in stomach acid while it waits to be digested once the danger passes.


When faced with danger, your body tenses up, so you are ready to spring into action. The muscles in your legs tense up so you can run away, fight back by kicking, or hold still.

When you are faced with danger, blood from your toes starts to move towards bigger muscles like your thighs. This is because those bigger muscles need the energy to help you fight, run, or freeze. Your toes may feel numb, cold, or tingly as blood moves away from them.





All these changes are normal. Although they may be scary and frustrating. They are not dangerous. Nobody has ever become sick or died from anxiety alone. Remember anxiety always goes away even if you don't do anything.

​Resource: https://www.anxietycanada.com/learn-about-anxiety/anxiety-in-youth/

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