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What Triggers Anxiety In the Brain? (Pt 1)

Are you wondering what triggers anxiety in your brain?  The brain being a physical material substance, this question seems to be focused more on the physical aspects of anxiety triggers.  It is clear that there are psychological trigger as well as physical.  Here we want to focus in on those physical elements. 

In this article (and several that follow), we will discuss the different biochemicals that have neurological activity in the brain.  Just how do these biochemicals negatively affect your brain to create anxiety? We will look at this and also discuss the different patterns that may predispose one to having higher anxiety levels and be pushed toward these persistent emotions. 

If this is something you're interested in keep reading, we are going to discuss the details. 

Brain Anxiety Triggers

What are the biochemicals behind these anxious feelings that you experience?  To answer this question, we should first point out that the specific triggers (pattern of triggers) for each person's anxiety could be unique.  So if I give you two or three causes or triggers, this does not mean your anxiety will necessarily fall in within these three.

What I hope to do is paint a picture of what the leading research and treatment approaches suggest about anxiety triggers.  With that, we can see what's going on with the biochemicals in the brain to create anxiety to begin with.  Part of the reason why it's difficult to say that anxiety only has three or four causes or patterns is because anxiety can have many different origins ranging from psychological to biochemical.

Genetic Origins of Anxiety 


Leaving the physiological aside, the bio-chemical realm of anxiety is not a homogeneous or consistent condition for all.  Many different disease states or health problems that we experience have multiple causes.  With the brain and psychological disease states the heterogenous patterns become even more of a challenge because much less is known about the brain and consciousness.  With that being said, what we want to do is look at the themes and patterns that can help us understand what's causing anxiety in the brain. 


Anxiety In the Brain

brain tissue with anxiety

From the top down view, anxiety seems to be generated from two states, too much or too little.  The human body in a constant state of shifting equilibrium or shifting its set point on what it considers equilibrium.  These shifts take place based on the environment you are in and what your brains natural state is inclined to.  

The main states that the brain is shifting between is to be stimulated and sedated.  When you are sleeping obviously you are more sedated, hopeful.  When you are awake or excited about something you are more stimulated.  When you are anxious, typically, you are more stimulated.  The biochemicals responsible for these two states are always present in your body and brain.  Sometimes one group is higher than the other depending on, your specific design, your personality, and the environmental situation that you find yourself in.  On the point of environment, your imagination can play a big role here. If you imagine the environment in a negative light the biochemicals produced will match this.  You can read more about this dynamic here

Anxiety and Your Environment


Naturally we would expect when you are anxious, you probably have too much of the stimulatory biochemicals (neurotransmitters). That is a logical thing to assume but it's not the only biochemical trigger for anxiety in your brain.  Sometimes you can have too little of the sedating biochemicals.  

Other times people will have low levels of stimulatory biochemicals (neurotransmitters).  This can lead to a lack of focus and lack of ambition.  This too can be a trigger for anxiety in the brain.  Just to make this a little bit simpler, we will  focus on those first two states, excess stimulation or not enough sedating biochemicals. 

In the next article in this series, we will look at the specific bio-chemicals that correspond to each of these categories plus a few more. 

Anxiety is an emotion that has biochemical, medical, and psychological roots.  Sometimes the biochemicals are giving rise to certain negative feelings which give rise to negative emotions.  It can also happen the other way around, where the feelings trigger the biochemicals. When these biochemicals are chronically imbalanced it can give rise to chronic feelings of anxiety. 

If you need help sorting out your anxiety, brain biochemicals and emotions, click on the link below to get started. 


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