Functional Analysis of Anxiety
Did you know that you are hardwired for anxiety, thanks to your ancestors?
Retrain Your Anxious Brain
Dr Elaine Ryan This is Part 1 of my free Introduction to Retrain Your Brain, if you’re not signed up, you can free access here
It was your anxious, always on the look out for danger ancestors, that survived in their dog eat dog world. In a dangerous environment it did not pay to go with the flow and chillout, as you would miss the danger creeping up behind you.
The heightened state of anxiety, and always being on the lookout for danger, ensured survival. Part of the brain of those ancestors that survived made a quick decision.
Should I approach this, or avoid this?
This worked well if you were faced with a dangerous animal, but in the modern world, this ‘approach or avoid’ is reserved for meetings, deadlines, talking with your peers, going shopping, indeed anything that is currently causing you stress.
The key point is; you are not aware of this decision – should I approach or avoid – you get the sensations, the blushing, the dry mouth, the heart palpitations, along with the fear and dread. You avoid. (You can read more about symptoms here)
In the cold light of day, you know this is irrational, but it seems like there is not much you can do about it. You can.
You start by pulling apart exactly what is happening to you, by undertaking a functional analysis of your anxiety, as described in the video above.
Note in what situations you feel stressed or anxious
Note your thoughts and your feelings, and
Note the things that you do – such as avoiding meeting, drinking too much, working too much or getting into arguments.
When you take the time to do this, you are gathering data, getting a snapshot of what is going on in your brain when you get stressed.
This is an important part of what will be coming up in this Retrain Your Brain series, so please take time to complete it, as it will form the building blocks of what I shall be asking you to do next.