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Anxiety 101

Mr. Anxiety

Everyone feels anxiety. It's a normal part of the human experience. Think about it: it's super helpful when you're hiking in the woods and something big and hairy approaches you-- less so when it's happening while you're driving or trying to sleep. When these things happen, it's a sign that you have exercised your anxiety response too much, and your anxiety "muscles" would fit right in with all the Muscle Beach bodybuilders.

Anxiety is triggered by the part of our nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). It's the name we give to the fight-or-flight response. The SNS amps us up for action, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) does the opposite. It snuffs out the fire started by the SNS, bringing your body back to it's normal state. Both the SNS and PNS get stronger the more you use them. In a person without problematic anxiety, they're like identical twins. In someone that struggles with anxiety, the SNS has bulked up at the gym, and the PNS is still sitting on the couch watching Netflix.

In today's Toolbox, I'll cover a bit about anxiety and what to do when it starts becoming a problem. All of these tools are designed to exercise your PNS or keep your SNS from picking up the weighs again. Either way, they'll help bring your nervous system back into balance.

For those that are interested in learning more about impacting the SNS/PNS (AKA autonomic nervous system) directly, check out biofeedback.

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