Anxiety and Stress
What causes anxiety in the brain: Causes and Fixes
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May 5, 2022
Anxiety and Stress

What causes anxiety in the brain: Causes and Fixes

✨POV✨: You're tired of this anxiety taking control - how do you unsubscribe to this??!!
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Before we begin, let's start by being on the same page about a common misconception about anxiety: anxiety disorders are not the same as anxiety.
To feel anxious about applying to your dream university is normal.
It'll pass after that event is over.
The thing about our anxiety disorder is that it can root itself in our core.
It doesn't just pass. It's like stress but imagine chronic stress.
This means that people with anxiety disorders have been living with anxiety disorder symptoms all through their childhood, which has now shaped their personality traits over time.

This is when anxiety becomes a mental health condition. This mental illness is called anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders
can be of different types, exhibiting physical illness that can differ from person to person.
This is why the more we know about our anxiety disorders, the better it gets to understand why life events trigger an anxiety response.

Anxiety disorders vs. the brain  🧠

When the brain floods with anxious or negative thoughts, the brain areas with higher cognitive centers are at work.
This is because this brain region is responsible for every emotion or feeling we may experience. But since this overpowers the rational or logical part of the brain, people with anxiety disorders tend to struggle with overcoming these anxious thoughts.
It becomes a normal tendency for the body's reaction to being anything but one that can prevent anxiety.
Here's how that happens in our brain and central nervous system- the ventromedial prefrontal cortex dampens the blow of anxiety and fearful signals coming from the amygdala that amplify upon reaching the frontal lobe. And when this part runs on fumes, that's when we experience anxiety.
This only shows how impactful our thoughts are - there's an increased risk of even subsequently impacting our physical health.

Where do anxiety disorders stem from?  🧐

👉🏽  Genetic and environmental factors

For some of us, traditions, religions, and cultures that shaped our environment contributed to our stress or overwhelming worry. This is when these factors contribute to our anxiety disorders. For example, physical symptoms of anxiety disorders like blood pressure or heart disease.

👉🏽  Genetic factors and family history

Some of us can be can genetically predisposed to anxiety disorders.

This means that certain personality traits are at a higher risk of experiencing the same anxiety disorder as a family member and will continue to do so. Like irritable bowel syndrome or increased levels of stress hormones leading to weight gain.

👉🏽  Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

When you experience anxiety symptoms or physical conditions like muscle tension, brain fog, and difficulty concentrating - this can indicate a generalized anxiety disorder.
You can say that you experience anxiety almost throughout the day.
Generalized anxiety disorder
can spill into other parts of life where you experience anxiety, specifically at high levels.
This is maybe why a one-on-one review at work or deadlines for school submissions can amplify anxiety.

👉🏽  Panic disorder

When negative thoughts lead to physical symptoms like intense heart palpitations and chest pain, it can lead to a panic attack.
Frequent panic attacks can indicate panic disorders. This can stem from a past relevant experience of traumatic events that caused you to stress beyond what you could control.

And now, just the thought of it can make you feel anxious.

👉🏽  Social anxiety disorder

This is when social situations specifically cause you intense fear - leading you to behavioral inhibition and making you want to avoid social events altogether.
You're afraid of what people think, and you often have trouble not taking things personally.
This makes you think everyone is out to judge you, and it gets tough to manage settings on your stress levels.

👉🏽  Post-traumatic stress disorder

This stems from past traumatic experiences that now induce your anxiety and give you PTSD symptoms, say, avoiding a plane journey due to a past incident with bad turbulence.
This fear response tends to cling on to become a stress disorder, another common anxiety disorder.

Quick hacks for the next time anxiety creeps in  🤗

A friendly reminder to bookmark this for the next time anxiety makes you overthink out of control!

🌬  Deep breathing

You may be familiar with the nervous energy and thoughts you experience and live with every day.
But here's how you can make things better, slowly but steadily.
Make deep breathing a routine.

Breathing is known to accelerate oxygen in our system. And making this part of your routine can do wonders!
Let being help with this. Here's a mini guided therapy you can start with: I am feeling anxious right now.

👀  Counter your anxiety out loud

Like how your anxious thoughts feel loud and convincing in your mind, speak out to them to cut them out.
"These are just my anxious thoughts preparing me for this uncertainty."
Or let the world's first-of-kind self-therapy app help with this - being.  Check out this mini guided session designed by mental health specialists: I want to stop overthinking everything.

☕️  Ditch caffeine

Did you know caffeine can make you jittery and escalate your mind's anticipatory processing? Keep that mug down and substitute it for calming teas like green tea or tulsi tea.
Switch to decaf if you need to!

Here's a better alternative - H2O! Water in your daily life routine keeps stress hormones and anxiety at bay by increasing blood flow and oxygen levels.
Guess what - you can make this a routine too! With this mini guided session, I want to take a mindful water break.

🧘🏽‍♂️  Healthy distraction

It can be a virtual or a non-virtual reminder for you to take charge of your positive attitude in a healthy way - anything to cut out the negative self-talk.
Your go-to can be being - it even has guided sessions to help practice healthy habits to foster healthy thoughts. Check out; I see my anxiety taking hold of me, to begin with.
Another hack can be to step outside your anxious environment for a bit.
Like a quick walk to tire out the anxiety trigger?
Another great distraction to manage anxiety for a healthy lifestyle is physical movement. Physical activity reduces stress and increases blood flow - just like what deep breaths can do, too.  A hot bath or a quick nap are great stress busters too!

All in all 🥰

Experiencing anxiety is completely normal and is nothing to be afraid of.
All it takes is to understand when to pull back the reins of your thoughts, so we don't surrender to our anxiety disorders.
Now you know that you can counter your anxious thoughts before it leads to unhealthy behavior patterns with healthy coping mechanisms.
Check out being the next time you want a quick break from these anxious thought cycles!
Breathe! You got this!


This is not a substitute for therapy. Consult your nearest wellness professionals, healthcare provider, or mental health professional for a treatment plan for your anxiety disorder (social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, panic attacks) or any mental health conditions like generalized anxiety disorder or other mental health conditions like major depressive disorder. Also, consider checking out organizations like the Anxiety and Depression Association for like-minded people who understand what you're going through.

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