>I was cleaning out some old paper files and came across some notes a retired psychologist friend gave me a few months ago. We all experience anxiety. I’m one of those that like to keep it all in perspective when possible. I’m not learned enough to dispute any of the following and I’m not sure of the original source or authority… I did find it insightful and wanted to make it available to others. It’s for information purposes only.


Everyone experiences symptoms of anxiety from time to time, changes in ones’ life (marriage, divorce, having children, moving, career change, loss of job). Positive events as well as negative events create anxiety. Ongoing stress or having. “too much on your plate” can create anxiety as well. These symptoms often reflect a normal response to problems arising in our lives.

With anxiety disorders, on the other hand, sometimes we recognize the situation as creating our anxiety, yet often times, one cannot be specific as to what it is they are anxious about. It is a response to a vague, distant or even unrecognized danger. Psychologically, anxiety is a subjective state of apprehension and uneasiness. In its most extreme form, it may cause you to feel detached from yourself and even fearful of going crazy or even dying.

Four types of symptoms are encountered when we are anxious:

  1. Physical reactions: racing heart, flushed cheeks, liightheadedness, muscle tension, perspiring, lump in throat etc.
  2. Behaviors: avoiding situations where anxiety might occur, leaving situations when anxiety begins to occur or trying to do things perfectly or trying to control events to prevent danger.
  3. Moods: Nervous, irritable, anxious, panicky.
  4. Thoughts: overestimation of danger, underestimation of your ability to cope, underestimation of help available and worries and catastrophic thoughts etc.

Most people who are anxious are VERY aware of the physical symptoms; they may be aware of the behaviors used when anxious, but rarely are they aware of the thoughts. All of the physical, behavioral and thinking changes we experience when we are anxious are part of the anxiety responses called “fight, flight, or freeze”. These three responses can be adaptive (helpful) when we face danger. (cont’d on this PDF file)

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