Why do we feel anxious?

Because it signals uncertainty.

An important meeting. A difficult conversation. A new gym. Meeting strangers. Going to an unknown place. Getting lost. Running late. Loan payments. Not finding a place to park. No internet. Economic crisis. Political upheaval. Possibly unhealthy food ingredients. Dangerous activity. Race performance. A presentation.

All of these and more trigger anxiety. Everybody hates anxiety. It is such an unpleasant feeling. Then why is it so frequent?

Because it’s useful. Emotions are signals to help us survive. Negative feelings alert us when something is dangerous, harmful. Anxiety alerts us of high uncertainty. It is a signal to motivate us to take action to minimize this uncertainty.

When you feel anxious about a meeting, it is because of the uncertainty if it will damage your social status, the reactions of others, including potential violence. Exile was deadly in the wild so we crave belonging and fear rejection. On top of that humans have been violent to each other from before we were humans. Any interaction, especially with strangers, has the potential for violence in your unconscious’ perception.
All of this makes you anxious. The anxiety triggers you to try to minimize these risks. Prepare for the meeting beforehand. Maybe think of the participants and how to ensure their peacefulness and acceptance.

Or you might try to distract yourself from the anxiety. This might work superficially. But in fact it only makes it fester and enlarge in your unconscious. This transforms healthy worry into harmful chronic stress. It’s like having a cavity and pretending you don’t. Unchecked it becomes a rotten mouth.

Only way to deal with anxiety is to find the cause and reduce the uncertainty associated with it.

By Victor Rotariu

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