Setting all emotional involvement aside; the human body is pretty impressive. So, let’s talk some science and I promise you it’s not all that boring!
The fight or flight response is a timeless, primal instinct that humans and mammals possess. It’s arguable that it was probably more important for the Neanderthals when they were running away from bears, than when it causes us anxiety sufferers distress but hey; beggars can’t be choosers and who on Earth are we going to issue a complaint to anyway?
In plain context the fight or flight response is a reaction to an apparent (or not so apparent) danger that we are confronted with i.e. a lion or a lamb chasing us. Hint; you’re going to run away from one and confront the other. So, once your instinct identifies the level of danger in front of you it begins a physical response within our bodies in order to combat said threat.
These reactions include and are not limited to; shaking, relaxation of the bladder or bowels, a numbness or tingling in hands & other body parts, an increase in the heart rate & blood pressure and an increase in muscle tension. Now whilst on the surface these seem a little unnecessary and downright inconvenient, they each carry an important purpose.
Shaking is a knock on effect from the rush of adrenaline which provides you with an impulse of energy;
The relaxation of your bladder or bowels is simply to make you lighter;
The tingling or numbness you experience comes hand in hand with the increase in your heart rate. This ensures that all blood is pumped to the important limbs/body parts and your muscles are filled with more oxygen;
And the increase in muscle tension provides you with extra strength.
If you think about it, running away or fighting would be a whole lot easier after your body has done its thing. And whilst I was sat in the car the other day amidst an anxiety attack, I sat wiggling my tingling fingers considering the intelligence our bodies hold.
So in short, anxiety is a result of an overactive fight or flight response which sends our bodies and minds into turmoil. Once we identify a danger, real or psychological, the instinct kicks in and it kicks in fast. Whilst anxiety is grossly inconvenient, I think the science behind it is pretty awesome.
What do you think?