Anxiety Emotional Intelligence Health

When anxiety is the solution, not the problem.


The term anxiety is wrongly associated to a problem of health when it is not of the all true. The anxiety is not of by himself a problem, neither a mental disorder, at least in a principle no. In fact, we could not evolve like species without anxiety. The people live constantly interacting with our surroundings in search to resolve our needs and personal interests (or communities). During this inspection of the half also can find us with risks and threats that desestabilizan our balance, therefore  we want to avoid them or counter them in search of our balance and in procures of those other sources of opportunities that allow us satisfy our needs.

The aim of this article is to do understand to the reader that the anxiety does not have only is connotation so negative with which is used to  associate. Anxiety as a problem only arises when we exceed the limits of the same, meanwhile is the solution to part of our daily problems.

>> Article related: The fallacy of the worries in the anxiety generalised. 

The anxiety like system of alert. 

It imagines that our organism did not have any type of  system of alert to differentiate a threatening situation of which is not it. If our ancestors did not activate this mechanism every time that they found  in front of a new animal, perhaps had been prey of them with greater ease. It does not do lacking to know the fact to feel  loomed by him. In fact  usually  active primariamente in front of unknown facts and later in front of the learning of these facts like something possibly harmful. The organism anticipates to this possible gain or loss in front of the fact or situation on which find us.

Therefore, the function of the anxiety is to warn and activate to the organism with the end of movilizarlo in front of situations of possible risk, so that we can face them and go out airoso of them. That is to say, we need anxiety if we do not want to turn us into some psychopaths (one of his characteristic is the relative little activation in front of situations of risk, which carries them to commit all type of acts without mediation).

>> Article related: What are the almost psychopaths?

The anxiety can produce  so much by external stimuli (for example, a serpent), as by internal stimuli (as they can be the negative prejudices to some communities).

Mechanisms of the system of human answer involved in the anxiety. 

The system of the active anxiety three mechanisms of human answer that can act of form relatively independent:

1. Cognitive.

  • Anticipate threatening situations. For example, if they pursue us.
  • Calculate the consequences and evaluate the risk. For example, calculate what would happen if I fall me from a third flat).
  • Activate negative automatic thoughts and images perturbadoras. We could say that they activate  like “punishments” that avoid the behaviour or propicien a compensatory behaviour (according to my interpretation). For putting another example, if you have to make an exhibition in public is likely that think in the possible bad faces of the people if the microphone does not work by what thanks to this anxiety is possible that review the batteries of the microphone.

2. Physiological. 

Activate the nervous centres, in particular the autonomous nervous system (vascular changes, respiratory, etc.). We anticipate us to the action. Our heart begins to latir a bit faster so that, in case to be necessary, have of the greater possible energy for the action.

3. Engines. 

Inhibition or sobreactivación motora. The body prepares  physically for a possible defensive behaviour (huída or attack). That is to say, when us adentramos for the first time in an unknown place instintivamente the body is adapting  to a possible reaction in front of a threatening stimulus because we do not know what go us to find.

The anxiety is like the semaphore of the life.

Obviously, the system of anxiety is a psychophysiologic measure very favourable for the evolution. It keeps us to I save. The anxiety works like a semaphore that indicates us with his diverse intensities of the dangers that can find us in our way by the life. In green there is not danger, in amber warns us and when it puts us  in red avoids or changes our behaviour. And those that accidents avoids! Therefore, the anxiety facilitates us the life.

Good anxiety and bad anxiety. 

Therefore, the anxiety is a normal and adaptative mechanism that when it produces  of proportionate way and expressed inside some limits fulfils a functional work. Even these limits can reach levels very high with even demonstration of some symptomatology, however  these physiological changes no only are normal but as we have seen, fulfil a vital function. As almost with everything, only when these limits exceed  of way exaggerated and kept can arrive  to turn into a problem of health that prevent the realisation of a normal life, influence in the welfare of the person and in his social and labour life and even cohibir the movements of the person. It is in these cases when yes we can speak of the anxiety like alteration.

Difference between fear and anxiety.

Finally, do a small upsetting in the difference between fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety are used to  use of equivalent way, but exist differences. However, the fear does reference to a relation more than the style stimulus-answer in front of an identifiable fact and known. The anxiety goes further  and turns into a emotional state more diffuse in front of an unrecognizable threat.

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Authors like Epstein (1972) put the difference between fear and anxiety in that the first was the drive that motivates a behaviour of avoidance in front of  the perception of a threatening stimulus, whereas the second was the emotional state of the unsolved fear without specific direction in front of the perception of threat.

By referenciar a bit more the differences between fear and anxiety, Barlow (1988) proposed the term aprensión anxious like the diffuse combination of emotions oriented to the future, whereas the fear was a primitive alarm of answer to a present danger.

If you think that you can improve your system of anxiety can support you in a psychologist, professional of the human behaviour, that can help you to handle and train the anxiety of correct way. It learns to control the anxiety before it can turn into a disorder. If on the other hand you seat that your life is very conditioned by your states of anxiety, do not doubt in consulting it with a sanitary professional.



Barlow, D.H. (2002). Anxiety and Its Disorders. The Nature and Treatment of Anxiety and Panic (2nd Edition). New York: The  Guilford Press. 

Belloch To.; Sandín, B. And Bouquets, F. (2009.): Manual of PsicopatologíaVolume II (revised Text). McGraw-Hill. Madrid, 2009.

Epstein, S. (1972), The nature of anxiety with emphasis upon its relationship to expectancy. In C.D. Spielberger (Ed.). Anxiety: Current Trends in Theory and Research (2), pp. 291-337. New York: Academic Express.


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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