Anxiety is the tension between now and later
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Anxiety is imagining something dreadful may happen with such force that our whole body responds by going into the biological and physical Fight / Flight / Freeze response which is designed to help us survive clear and present danger.
When we habitually worry, stew over things and picture the worst we can trigger panic attacks. A panic attack is activated by massive doses of stress hormones – such as Adrenaline, Cortisol and Norepinephrine.
Fritz Perls said “Anxiety is the tension between now and later” (1976) but I think anxiety is the tension between now and our imagined past and imaginary future. The key to reducing this tension is noticing what’s actually happening now, the reality of this moment.
Panic attacks happen when we embody anxiety, in other words our bodies respond as if our thoughts are actual events unfolding in the here-and-now.