The Internet Mistake You Don't Know You're Making (and why it might cause social anxiety)

Friday, February 21, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Social anxiety, or social phobia, involves intense fears related to social events, like meeting new people or giving speeches. While most people have some nervousness in new social situations, those with social phobia may experience panic attacks or anxiety so intense that they will avoid the situation entirely. 

It's the difference between feeling butterflies in your stomach when going on a first date and calling to cancel said date because you spent the last three hours throwing up just thinking about it....  continue reading

Lies Your Brain Tells You: Why We Have Scary Thoughts

Thursday, February 06, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

People refer to anxiety symptoms as anything from "being stressed out" or "feeling agitated" to "having a nervous breakdown". On the internet, I'm fairly sure the scale goes from :-( to 8-[ . But I could be wrong. 

Lower levels of anxiety hormones are necessary, triggering motivation and even normal functioning like waking up. But too many of those chemicals and you move past motivating thoughts and into scary thought territory; and most of the thoughts have nothing to do with the actual reason for the anxiety....  continue reading

How Safe Is Your Television? Why The Nightly News Might Cause Anxiety

Monday, January 20, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Humans are predisposed to mimic each other. Merely surrounding yourself with happy people can increase your own happiness in kind1. From the avoidance of food poisoning through reflexive vomiting to crying with a friend, our facial expressions reliably reflect the state of those around us. But this tendency to mimic can also lead to unnecessary anxiety by altering our view of the world we live in. 

AKA: When the nightly news attacks! 

Or maybe not. I guess it's usually more like:  "Way to go, channel ten! I was happy ten minutes ago!"...  continue reading

How Things Work: Your Limbic System and Anxiety

Friday, December 13, 2013 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Anxiety responses evolved to be triggered in a number of ways, both physical and psychological. The autonomic nervous system regulates these anxiety responses, regardless of where they came from. But there are a few more systems at play that can help us understand anxiety.

So, what else contributes to anxiety responses besides your mother-in-law?...  continue reading

What Causes A Panic Attack? The Minimalist Guide To A Very Nervous System

Monday, December 09, 2013 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

The Nervous System is aptly named. One of it's main functions is to identify danger and get us to respond to it by making us super uncomfortable with anxiety and other "nervous" symptoms. Those anxious feelings and scary thoughts are the direct result of surges of hormones that are released in response to firing from either the sympathetic or parasympathetic system.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic are big words that describe two systems at work that are supposed to balance each other out. The sympathetic system revs us up in the face of danger while the parasympathetic system calms us down afterwards. Like coffee and Baileys. Or maybe warm milk and chocolate chip cookies. Cocaine and heroin.

Let's check out an illustration. Say you happen to be walking along the shore of a Florida delta feeling pretty chill and happy. Suddenly, out of the depths comes an alligator....  continue reading

8 Anxiety Symptoms You've Probably Experienced (and why they are surprisingly necessary for survival)

Friday, December 06, 2013 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Anxiety sucks, mostly because we don't get to use it the way it was intended. Instead of using it to run from a tiger or fight an alligator, we feel the urge to run from something not even remotely tiger-like. Bummer.

Imagine yourself in a boardroom. As you stand to make your presentation, you feel a tightness in your abdomen. Your heart feels as if it is going to beat right out of your chest and you find that you are having trouble breathing. As you try to stop your hands from shaking, you wonder, "Why is this happening?"

What Anxiety Is...and What it Isn't

Anxiety is a common experience among...  continue reading