Anxiety 101

Anxiety 101: What You Need to Know About Anxiety

Anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. It alerts us to threats, protects us from danger and helps us reach important goals. For example, it is normal to feel anxious when encountering a bear on a hike, or before an important job interview.

Anxiety is not dangerous. Although anxiety feels uncomfortable, it is temporary and will eventually decrease. The sensations we experience in an anxious situation are designed to alert and activate us. They are normal and part of our body’s natural response mechanism. Our body is smart enough to know when to “amp up” and when to “calm down.”

Anxiety is adaptive. Anxiety helps us prepare for real danger, such as crossing a busy street. It can also help us perform at our best, and motivate us to study for an exam or prepare for an interview. When we experience anxiety, it triggers our "fight-flight-freeze" response, and prepares our body to react. For instance, our heart beats faster to pump blood to our muscles, so we have the energy to run away or fight off danger. Without it, we would not survive. We need some anxiety.

Anxiety is part of life. Trying to eliminate anxiety from your life is almost impossible, and even if it were possible, we are not sure you will have created a life worth living. As a result, this website has been designed to provide you and with information, tools, resources, and more, to help you become an expert on coping with anxiety. Since anxiety is everywhere, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the confidence and skill to tolerate anxiety whenever it occurs, and to continue living your life anyway!

Anxiety can become a problem. Small doses of anxiety in certain situations are useful. However, when you are worrying much of the time, avoiding daily activities, unable to go to work, or pursue friendships because you are so scared or worried, anxiety has become a problem. Think of anxiety like fog: if it covers everything, makes it hard to see, stops you from doing what you usually do, and generally gets in the way, then it has likely become a problem. In small amounts we can maneuver through the fog and get to our destination, but when the fog is so thick we are “grounded” its time to take action!