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What is Anxiety, and How does it Affect People in Utah?

What is Anxiety, and How does it Affect People in Utah?

What is anxiety? If you’re looking for a catch-all definition, anxiety is feelings of worry, fear, or unease that tend to center on uncertain and threatening outcomes. It could be not having enough money. It could be whether a group of people will judge you as unworthy. It could be a fear of gaining weight. It could be a fear that a past trauma will happen again. That said, even a basic understanding of what anxiety is requires more than a working definition.

Depending on the context and person, anxiety can be a source of short-term focus and motivation, or it could be a persistent mood that leads to stomach pain, respiratory distress, fatigue, as well as other physical and psychological symptoms.


The Slippery Nature of Anxiety

Anxiety is deeply influenced by both nature and nurture. An individual’s genetic makeup, the social pressures they face, and cultural values they’ve internalized all help determine the contours of one’s anxiety. It may seem odd that our brains have trouble distinguishing between an ancient predator lurking in the tall grass and this month’s car payment. But it’s also true that, overall, anxiety has served humanity well. It’s not just faster reaction times for fight-and-flight responses. Anxiety has a way of super-charging our problem-solving. It spurred us on to invent better shelter, food production, and other evolutionary advantages. Unfortunately, anxiety is also the engine behind things like eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and post-traumatic stress. Not to mention anxiety disorders themselves.


What is Anxiety, and how does it Work?

Anxiety is the emotional expression of an unresolved problem that has threatening implications. Your mind becomes active, and there is a corresponding rush of hormones to the rest of the body. Anxiety occurs to the body every bit as much as it occurs in the mind. This is why anxiety disorders are diagnosed as much by the physical symptoms as the psychological ones.

Anxious feelings can be rational or irrational, or both at the same time. How can it be both? Consider someone riding Cannibal, the new coaster at Lagoon Amusement Park, or the extreme zipline at Olympic Park. Anxious fear results from your cognitive brain being unable to convince your emotional and instinctual brain that the harness is going to hold. Thus, it’s rational to be afraid of falling to your death, but it’s pretty irrational to think this time is the time that something’s going to go wrong.


How Anxiety Affects People in Utah

Anxiety’s fearful judgment of past, present, and future events has a way of eating at the soul. More than just what is anxiety, here’s a better question to ask: What is anxiety for you? Is it helping you make your life better or worse? When you try, can you stop feeling anxious? Or least get it under control? Do you feel anxious all the time? Or are there times when the anxiety gets so bad that it’s difficult to breath, or your heart feels like it’s going to beat itself right out of your chest?

Usually, it’s also worth taking a look at what triggers your anxiety. Are you terrified of people thinking you’re fat? Or lazy? Are you having a crisis of faith? Is the anxiety a pure, formless terror that seems to rise up out of nowhere?


Having Trouble with Your Anxiety?

Taking stock of your own anxious feelings can help you take the right course of action. There are plenty of natural remedies, anxiety medications, and psychotherapy treatments that can provide at least some measure of relief. Maybe you simply need to develop better coping mechanisms that will enable you to get a handle on your anxiety. Or maybe you need medications and therapy to reduce the frequency and severity of your panic attacks. Check out our guide on anxiety treatment in Utah, or search for a mental health practice in your neighborhood.


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