Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Worry, Anxiety, and Your Brain, 2

Think of the four emotions as four categories: joy, anger, fear, and sadness. Many languages, including English, have hundreds of words for emotions and feelings (because they lump those two words together and sometimes use them interchangeably or synonymously). That’s unfortunate since they represent different states and are believed to follow different pathways through the brain. It is my brain opinion that you can place each of the hundreds of words in one of those four categories. Worry and anxiety would go into the bucket of ‘fear’ since fear is all about helping you recognize that you are unsafe unless the fear is not about a bona fide situation of actual danger and represents your thoughts and beliefs about imaginary fears (e.g., I’m not smart enough or good looking enough or wealthy enough or . . .). Unfortunately, imaginary fears can still trigger the stress response . . . More tomorrow.

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