Topics — Anxiety

Anxiety is an emotion that refers to concerns, worry, and/or fear about a situation. In clinical terms, anxiety refers to instances when a person experiences excessive fear or apprehension about a situation.1 “Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived imminent threat, whereas anxiety is anticipation of future threat.”2

Anxiety, within normal bounds, can be a “gift of wisdom.”3 It acts as a tool, or indicator, to communicate our internal perceptions about the external world. It can prompt us to reflect on or prepare for stressful but important occasions, such as an exam, a first date, or a competition. However, excessive anxiety can deeply affect our minds and bodies in negative ways. Modern life—and its associated challenges—is conducive to abnormal levels of anxiety. Our Western concepts of time management and our notion of productivity, the divisive rhetoric in the news media, and our fast-paced, high-stress work environments contribute to heightened baseline anxiety.

References

  1. Black, D. W., & Grant, J. E. (2014). DSM-5® Guidebook: The Essential Companion to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. American Psychiatric Association Publishing.
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
  3. Paul, S. (2019). Wisdom of anxiety: How worry and intrusive thoughts are gifts to help you heal. Sounds True, Inc.

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