You’re driving to work one day when you suddenly wonder, Did I turn off the stove? You begin to mentally trace your steps from earlier that morning, but you still can’t remember turning it off. You probably did… but what if you didn’t? Your anxiety begins to build as the image of the stove catching on fire pops into your head. Just then, the person in the car in front of you slams on the brakes. You clutch the steering wheel tightly and hit your own brakes hard, stopping just in time .your whole body is active with as surge of energy and your heart is pounding, but you’re safe. You take some deep breaths. That was close!
Anxiety it seems is around us. If you carefully consider the events in the scenario above, you’ll notice that they illustrate two very different way that anxiety begins: through what we think about, and through reactions to our environment. This is because anxiety can be initiated by two very different areas of the human brain: the cortex and the amygdala. This understanding is the result of year of research in a field known as neuroscience, which is the science of the nervous system, including the brain.
The simple example above, involving both the imagined stove and the braking car, two separate pathways in the brain can give rise to anxiety, and each pathway needs to be understood and treated for maximum relief. In that example, anxiety was aroused in the cortex pathway by thought and images of the risks of leaving the stove on all day. And information from another anxiety-producing pathway, traveling more directly through the amygdala, ensured a quick reaction to avoid rear-ending another car.
Everyone is capable of experiencing anxiety through both pathways. Some people may find that their anxiety arises more frequently in one pathway than the other. As you will have to understand recognizing the two pathways and handling each in the most effective manner is essential. Lets us scientific ways to modify circuits in each pathway in order to make anxiety less of a burden in our life. we can actually change the pathways in our brain so that we are less likely to create anxiety.