What is anxiety?
Worries, fears and anxieties are familiar to us all. Most of the time they are reasonable responses to the situation we are in, and indeed may be crucial to our survival. They prepare us for coping with stress or danger by releasing the hormone adrenaline, which generates physical and mental changes that prepare us to take on a challenge or react to a dangerous situation. This 'fight-or flight' mechanism enabled our ancestors to cope with very real threats to their safety, such as attack by a wild animal. Today we face more subtle forms of stress, but the adrenaline response still helps us to rise to a challenge and perform well. Anxiety becomes a problem only when it is exaggerated or appears out of context.
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