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  • Sabrina Trobak

Understanding Anxiety

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

Anxiety is the Fight Flight Freeze Response

When a person senses danger, the FIGHT, FLIGHT, FREEZE response kicks in. Fight: fight a way out of the danger Flight: run away from the danger Freeze: paralyzed, can’t move, hide, blend into the environment

Fight, Flight, Freeze has been going on since the beginning of time in all living creatures. A bear senses danger, it will fight A deer senses danger, it will run away A frog senses danger it will freeze and try to blend in. If that doesn’t work it may hop away.

If this danger is real, anxiety or Fight, Flight, Freeze, is a good thing, it keeps people alive.

If the danger isn’t real, it is more perceived in a person’s thoughts, anxiety can become overwhelming and have a significant negative effects on a person physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

When anxiety is worrying about things that may or may not happen and this happens throughout most days it has a very negative impact on a person.

Worrying about things that “might” happen “What if”, thinking constantly, what if this happens, what if that happens etc. Looking for or focusing on the negative.Playing “worst case” scenarios over and over in a person’s head.

THESE THOUGHTS CREATE ANXIETY WHERE THERE ACTUALLY IS NO DANGER. THIS IS ANXIETY A PERSON CREATES IN HIS/HER OWN BRAIN. IT IS NOT BASED ON WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING, ON ACTUAL DANGER BUT WHAT THEIR THOUGHTS ARE SAYING.


When a stressful event happens, like a fight with a partner, the person will go into Fight, Flight, Freeze response. Then every time the person thinks about that event or worries it will happen again, she/he will go into Fight, Flight, Freeze again. So one real anxiety provoking event, can be responsible for hundreds or even thousands of Fight, Flight, Freeze responses where there isn't actually any danger happening. Anxiety doesn’t just happen when an anxiety provoking incident happens, but every time a person thinks about it. If no event has occurred, but a person thinks anxious thoughts, anxiety will occur. Anxiety is created by thoughts, not by the event.

If a person is driving up a steep busy hill and his vehicle breaks down and he thinks, I don’t have time for this, why do things always happen to me, now what do I do, I am going to get in trouble if I am late for work, the person is going to feel anxious, fear, anger, frustrated etc. If a person is driving up a steep busy hill and his vehicle breaks down and he thinks, good thing I have road side assistance, I will pull over as far as I can and turn my hazards on, I will call my work and let them know I will be late, he will feel confident, neutral, comfortable and if there is anxiety, it will be significantly lower than in the previous example.

IT IS NOT THE EVENT THAT CREATES ANXIETY… IT IS WHAT A PERSON THINKS ABOUT THE EVENT THAT CREATES ANXIETY.


Anxiety often feels like a cloud that takes over a person. This is not true, people create their own anxiety.

Emotions are created by thoughts. Thoughts create a chemical reaction, which then creates a physical response in the body; the corresponding emotion. An anxious thought creates anxious emotion, happy thought creates happy emotion, angry thought creates anger emotion etc.

We often hear people have anxiety about heights. If it was actual heights people had anxiety about, then every living person would have anxiety about heights….but not everyone does have anxiety about heights.

If a person doesn’t believe he/she can handle heights, he/she will have anxiety. If a person believes he/she can handle heights, he/she will NOT have anxiety.

It is not about the event, but a person’s belief in his/her ability to handle the event. A person’s thoughts about an event create the emotions about the event.

If a person doesn’t believe he/she can handle an event she will have anxiety. Anxiety is lack of belief in self and LACK OF CONFIDENCE.





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