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Review: The Basics of the Anxiety Dilemma

Anxiety is a sense of apprehension or dread about things that might happen in the future.  It is the feeling nature provided to help us defend against threats.  Because threats are part of life, anxiety is part of life.


Like all animals, humans have a powerful tendency to avoid anxiety.  This tendency helped us survive in our prehistoric environment and is occasionally still useful.  But problems arise when an ancient reflex is applied to modern living.


In today’s world, we experience anxiety in important areas, even where actionable threats do not exist.  We continue to feel anxious when there is little we could or should be doing to defend the things we value.


Nonetheless, we respond to anxiety exactly as we did 150,000 years ago: through avoidance.  This avoidant tendency now has serious costs . . . unless we do something about it.


And do something we certainly will.  But we need a deeper understanding of our dilemma before we work on resolving it.  In upcoming entries, let’s take a look at the science.



Dylan M. Kollman, PhD