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Anxiety Resource Room

What is Anxiety?

Photo by Haden M.

Photo by Haden M.

Anxiety is an emotion. It’s typically experienced as tension, worry, and physical effects such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, sweating, dizziness and stomach upset. Anxiety is not fear. How can you tell the difference? Fear is an emotion you have in response to a real threat— like something you see, right here, right now. Anxiety is a “free-floating” feeling similar to fear but it is in response to thoughts about a potential future event. It’s the difference between having a gun pointed at you (fear) and thinking, “what if someone walks in here with a gun?” (anxiety). Everyone experiences anxiety on occasion. It is part of being human because we have a brain and the ability to use language which allows us to think about things that have not yet happened. Normal anxiety becomes an “anxiety disorder” when it prevents us from living the life we want. In this way, anxiety disorders can become disabling.