Our bodies are hard-wired to experience anxiety. You may have heard of the caveman who sees the saber-toothed tiger and is triggered into “fight or flight” mode. His body is pumped full of cortisol and adrenaline to help him make decisions based on instinct i.e. fight or flight!
This was great when we were cavemen as it got us out of danger but now it can at times be a damn right nuisance.
So what are the benefits of anxiety when there are no saber-toothed tigers around and we don’t need to be worrying if one is hiding behind the next bush?!
First, anxiety is like a warning system for us. It detects dangers and brings it to our attention. This means if something feels off we can start to feel anxious as there is something that requires our focus. More low-level anxiety, perhaps in a relationship or a job gives us a subtle warning that something needs to be addressed.
If we can learn to befriend our anxiety and use it as a thermometer it can be very useful.
If we are buying a car and jump straight in without much thought, we might miss the warning signs that it is, in fact, a scam. If we have a job interview, it can keep us hyper-focused so that we pay attention to detail and show up as our sharpest self.
Anxiety is good because it brings to our attention to things that need to be looked at.
It also increases our empathy, knowing times that we have felt anxiety enables us to relate to others more easily.
Have you heard about women who have been able to lift cars off their children? Without anxiety kicking in there sympathetic nervous system wouldn’t be activated and they wouldn’t be able to perform such wonder women acts.
Next time you feel anxious, try turning towards it and hearing what it has to say. It is giving you a message that you may or may not need to hear.
There are times that our anxiety is like a car alarm going off when a harmless gust of wind passes. Learn to tap into your intuition and use it as a guide vs. something negative!