The Gift of Anxiety?

Anxiety is a good thing. It can save lives and propel us forward.

Seriously. Anxiety is a good thing.

But like all good things… it can get corrupted, and become a bad thing.

Anxiety is meant to help save our lives, to get us out of tricky situations.

Blood is pumped around our body faster, sweat so we can keep cool (and make us more slippery to catch), we breathe faster so we can get more oxygen into our lungs and we become hyper vigilant – hearing and seeing things in HD so we can be aware of our surroundings.

All of which are incredibly useful… if you’re anxious because you’re in a jungle about to be attacked by a lion.

Less useful, however, when you’re feeling anxious about a job interview or driving test.

Even less useful, when anxiety is provoked by a trip to the supermarket or the sight of a certain food.

Anxiety disorders are when anxiety is not needed “in order” to fly or fight. The purpose of anxiety is lost and what is left, can wreak havoc…

Imagine a life where the slightest thing causes you to go into meltdown. If when faced with a crowded supermarket, or picking up a trilling telephone causes your body to react as if you were faced with a tiger.

When anxiety becomes a disorder – it becomes a very unwelcome gift.

If there are people in your life who have the unwanted gift of an anxiety disorder, I thought I’d share three key things not to say, courtesy of this post.

1) Don’t tell people they’re being dramatic… panic attacks in particular can be dramatic- but it’s not an act – and they need comfort and calm; not condemnation.

2) What do you have to worry about? The truth is – we all have worries and anxieties, and belittling other people’s anxieties or reminding them of how good their life is helps no-one. Instead, try asking if they need to voice their worries.

3) Don’t panic… Telling someone with anxiety not to panic is akin to telling someone who is having an asthma attack to stop!

Anxiety can be a gift… but an anxiety disorder is never a gift… it’s an illness and it’s time it was treated like one!

3 thoughts on “The Gift of Anxiety?

  1. Diane

    I would say that anxiety disorders are definitely never a gift! Never ever ever, under any circumstances. Sorry, but I actually can not believe that I have actually just read those words ‘anxiety disorders are very unwelcome gifts’. Anxiety disorders are just that, disorders, not gifts!

    I understand the view that the ability to experience anxiety is a gift, in appropriate situations. But never an anxiety disorder.

    1. Diane

      Thanks Rachael. Really appreciate your prompt reply and the change you have made to the original blog post.


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