What is Anxiety?

Our brain works by constantly filtering and assessing information coming in to it.  It looks for a match to tell it how to act this time round.  When there is not sufficient information for the brain to make a decision it stops its decision making process and  waits for more information to arrive.  While it is waiting it re-examines over and over again the information already to hand in case it has missed something which will allow an action to be initiated. This creates a loop in which our thoughts can seem to go around and around, re-thinking, re-examining the same information.  

Should the brain be unable to reach a decision fairly quickly, a state of anxiety is created. This can lead to our trying to imagine what may complete the picture and allow action to be initiated.  For instance, a family member may be late arriving home and we try to find a reasonable explanation for this in the absence of any real facts.  Often we imagine a  “worst case scenario” in which something negative has happened, even though we have no basis for believing it to be true.  The anxiety loop created is only dispelled when the family member arrives home. They explain that they worked overtime, but forgot to let us know.  We may get anxious in relation to just one issue, such as speaking on the telephone, or we may experience anxiety about a wide range of everyday events and issues (Generalised Anxiety Disorder or GAD).