If you’re wondering what causes anxiety, here is an explanation of how feeling frequent anxiety actually causes a physical addiction to anxiety, on a cellular level.
Do you have a tendency to feel anxious often?
Is anxiety your most common upsetting reaction life?
If it is, your body has become trained to react with anxiety. Anxiety has become your default emotion.
If you get anxious often enough, or stay anxious for long enough, your body will adapt. It adapts at the cellular level.
100 Trillion Cells
Your cells, all 100 trillion of them, have up to one million cell receptors surrounding each cell, on the cell membrane. These cell receptors change, depending on which chemicals they are exposed to.
When I say chemicals, I’m not talking about pharmaceutical drugs. I’m talking about the chemicals your own body produces, as part of an emotional response.
Anxiety is an emotion of fear. So when you feel anxious, your body prepares for danger. It prepares you to stay alert to danger. It puts you into the fight or flight response so you can survive when the danger comes.
It also alters your thinking, making you dwell on fearful thoughts. All of this is designed to help you survive.
But let’s get back to the cells.
You Need Your Anxiety Fix
When you have a dominance of cell receptors tuned to anxious feelings, this becomes a cellular addiction. Your cells have been trained to need anxiety. Your cells are not comfortable without their fix of anxiety.
You will actually be prompted, from within, to find something to be anxious about.
And since your cells have so many anxiety receptors, whenever a situation arises that promotes a spike in emotion, it’s likely to be anxiety for you. Since that’s what your body is tuned to register.
It’s like a baby bird with its beak gaping open, waiting for food. No matter what comes its way, the bird will see it as food and try to eat it.
You cells become like a baby bird, interpreting every stimulus as an opportunity to get anxious.
Addicted to Anxiety
When this happens, your cells have become addicted to anxiety. Your body has become addicted to the biochemicals of anxiety.
And this addiction is on a very deep level, outside your conscious awareness. You don’t try to be anxious. You don’t want to be anxious. It just happens because you cells need their fix. And it’s the chemicals released by the anxiety response that gives them their fix.
And you wonder why you’re anxious all the time!
You have an awareness that you are anxious often. You might think of yourself as an anxious person. But it doesn’t make sense to you why you are anxious all the time.
What this means is that you are more and more likely to respond with anxiety to any stimulus than you are to respond with anger, humor, frustration or peace.
Three Different Emotional Addictions
Here’s an example. Take three different people, each experiencing the same thing. Sara, Jane and Teresa, in their own separate cars are stuck in traffic on the way to an important appointment. Each is going to be late.
Sara responds with anger. Cursing and fuming – accusing the cars blocking her way of plotting against her. Angry at herself for not leaving earlier. Angry at the city for not planning better for this rush hour traffic. Sara’s cells have created lots of receptors for anger. That’s why Sara responds with anger often in any day.
Jane responds with peace. She takes this wait as an opportunity for deep breathing. She sends love to the cars blocking her way. She calmly places a call to her appointment and apologizes for her lateness. She relaxes and waits peacefully for traffic to clear.
Jane has trained her body and cells to respond to life’s challenges with peace. Jane’s cell membranes are coated with receptors for peace, resourcefulness and understanding.
Teresa responds to the traffic jam with anxiety. Her mind immediately starts spinning stories about how others will be angry or disapproving of her. Her body reacts with that characteristic set of anxious responses – increased heart rate, tightness of breath, clammy palms, chilly extremities.
By being anxious over and over, Teresa’s cells have responded by creating a larger and larger number of membrane receptors tuned to the biochemicals of anxiety. Therefore, not matter what the stimulus is, Teresa is most likely to respond with anxiety.
p.s. Stay tuned for the next article, where I give you one of the surprising, unconventional and very effective anxiety remedies.
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