What is being tapped to reduce anxiety

Anxiety Symptoms - What Happens In The Body When There Is Anxiety And Panic?

The general adjustment syndrome goes back to the stress researcher Hans Selye. He discovered that we go through 3 different phases when we are stressed.

First there is an alarm reaction, then there is an adjustment stage and then the exhaustion phase. Since it is important for you to understand your body reactions, I want to go into this in more detail.

If you are acutely threatened, physically or mentally, or if you feel threatened, an alarm reaction will initially follow. These Alarm response consists of two parts: the shock phase and the fight and flight phase.

The Shock phase starts with a moment of shock. We are sort of gathering strength for defense. During this time, the parasympathetic nervous system determines our body reactions. For example, we get dizzy, our circulation sags, we get breathlessness, our throat constricts, we have shaky knees, urge to bladder, diarrhea, we get sick, we start to cry. Some people persist in the shock phase. The physical reactions of the shock phase then persist.

Usually after the shock phase, after about 1 - 1.5 minutes, the Fight or Flight Phase. Adrenaline, northern renaline and the adrenal cortex hormones cortisol and cortisone are released. Now the sympathetic nervous system comes into play and makes us ready to deal with the threat in a targeted manner - ready to fight or to flee as quickly as possible.

  • Our breathing gets deeper and faster
  • the heart pumps more blood to the muscles,
  • our muscles tighten
  • our temperature rises
  • our energy reserves are being tapped,
  • our pupils dilate
  • we are highly alarmed, etc.

Instead, all bodily processes that are currently unnecessary are throttled - e.g. our appetite, digestion, our sexual desire, the immune system.

While our ancestors actually had to counter the threat by fighting the enemy or fleeing the situation, today fight and flight are rarely necessary or even possible. We are rarely threatened physically. This is often replaced by the emotional threat of rejection, criticism, helplessness, bullying, etc.

Yet we show the same physical reactions as our ancestors. Nowadays we can use the energies we have made available for the fight to specifically address and solve our problem. Escape, for example, looks like we are withdrawing from the problematic situation.

And another very important aspect:

We show our tendencies to fight and flee not only when there are real dangers or problems, but also when we assess something as dangerous that is not dangerous, or when we only imagine a danger in our imagination.

This means that we bring our body up to speed completely unnecessarily and then, so to speak, sit on the tense because there is nothing we can physically defend ourselves against.

This fight or flight phase usually only lasts a few minutes. Then the alarm effect subsides and relaxation occurs again. However, if the threatening situation persists, the body tries to continue to actively cope with it.

We come to the 2nd phase, the so-called. Resistance phase or the adaptation phase. Here, increased levels of cortisol and cortisone are released, which ensure the formation of new sugar and additional energy.

In addition, more thyroid hormones are released, which accelerate the metabolic processes. At the same time, the immune defense is restricted. If the body can now cope with the situation, the released stress hormones are broken down again and the body returns to relaxation.

But if the stress becomes chronic and the body cannot cope with the threat, the body remains in an alarm state that ultimately leads to Exhaustion phase leads.

In the exhaustion phase, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are active at the same time. We are either over activated or weakened. Our immune system is severely weakened and the healing process slows down. Organic dysfunctions or diseases can occur.

For example, high blood pressure, an increased blood lipid level, inflammation of the gastric mucous membrane, low blood pressure, chronic headaches, sleep disorders, concentration and memory disorders or constant fatigue can occur.