Whenever we believe we are in danger, the body activates a stress response. This is how the survival mechanism works.
As one of our anxiety clients noted, there are no freebies – meaning that the body ALWAYS produces a stress response when we think we are in danger. Just because we don’t feel the effects of a stress response doesn’t mean one didn’t happen. The stronger the response, the more we feel them.
If a person isn’t familiar with how the body’s emergency survival system works or how it is triggered, the stress response and the changes it causes can seem threatening and even frightening for people who are overly anxious. This is one of the reasons many people fear anxiety attacks…because they don’t understand them or know they can control them.
The degree of stress response is directly proportional to the degree of perceived threat.
As the degree of stress response increases, so does the intensity and magnitude of the changes the stress response brings about.
For example, if you conclude that a situation or circumstance isn’t going to be too dangerous, your body will produce only a small degree stress response, which results in slight physiological, psychological, and emotional changes. On the other hand, if you believe a situation or circumstance could be very dangerous, your body will produce a high degree stress response and powerful physiological, psychological, and emotional changes.