Anxiety is a natural human response to a threatening situation.
From an evolutionary perspective in the past it would have helped us to respond to life threatening situations brought about by predators – hence the “fight or flight” response.
In the modern world it is not necessarily so useful and may be referred to as stress, worry or fear. In the extreme this anxiety can hinder our everyday lives preventing us from achieving our aims and goals and contributing to us feeling “down”. Anxiety may be generalised in the sense that we feel constantly “on edge” or related to specific concerns that we may have such as phobias, examples may include heights, spiders, blood etc.
Phobias occur when we perceive something as significantly more dangerous than it is in reality, perhaps something that others would not generally find troublesome. Physical symptoms of anxiety may include palpitations, trembling, sweating, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness – the list goes on. These are often interpreted as catastrophic and the anxiety provoking situation is therefore avoided at all costs.