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Jul 21st, 2011

Anxiety – Part 4

The Effects of Anxiety

However irrational the causes of anxiety, you anxiety results from fear: of begin late for work, of public speaking, or of crashing your car. When we are frightened, our bodies elicit the stress response, releasing adrenalin. Heartbeat increases; nostrils dilate; blood is diverted to the heavy muscles; and the high-frequency beta waves in the brain increase, shifting it to a state of greater alertness, watching for danger. And the low-frequency alpha waves associated with the mental tranquility diminish; the mouth becomes dry; secretion of digestive enzymes slows down; and blood is moved away from the intestines.

This rapid change accounts for the familiar sensations of anxiety; the roller-coaster feeling in your stomach, the slight trembling and clumsiness of your muscles as they prepare for action, and the acute alertness (like the person afraid of flying, who notices each subtle change of pitch in the noise of the jet engine).

(continued tomorrow…)

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