Anxiety is a normative experience that we share with each other and it becomes problematic when it impacts our day-to-day function or we develop anticipatory worry of its reemergence. Anxiety is the brain’s interpretation of perceived threat in the absence of danger. The physiological changes we experience (e.g., increased heart rate, sweating, racing thoughts, numbness in extremities) when running from a bear are never thought of as an anxious response. They may be initiated by fear but are bloody necessary!
“If I feel bad it must be because there is reason to be”social anxiety
Although immediate symptom reduction can be seductive, it produces continued intolerance for distress – the major contributor to anxiety disorders. Treatment should focus on increasing a person’s tolerance for distressing feeling and separating feelings of anxiety from themselves. The feelings of panic will never be pleasurable, but tips to make them manageable and ultimately less significant do exist.