The first thing I want to say is that in my almost 18 years of being a counselor in different settings and being a therapist in private practice, pretty much everybody deals with anxiety.

Good Anxiety vs Bad Anxiety

It’s just a question of the degree of it and how much it is really affecting your life. But man, it’s just something that everybody faces and you can’t say that about all the mental health issues out there, but anxiety is definitely one that pretty much everybody deals with.

And so the first main point I want to make about this huge topic is it’s not all that bad. You know, anxiety can be good and we actually need it. It’s just when it’s what we call bad anxiety or too much that we need help and we need to get it you know under control.

What is Good Anxiety?

So what is good anxiety? What do I mean? Okay. So everybody gets what we would call anxious, maybe has some fear. And if we didn’t have that, you know, I always say we’d be walking out in front of cars and you know doing all kinds of stuff and basically we’d be dead.

So the whole system that we have, that every single one of us has, is called the sympathetic nervous system. And what happens is, as soon as your mind or your brain interprets that there’s any kind of threat, it will turn the system on.

Now here’s the thing: up until about 100 years ago things really weren’t that safe and so this system needed to be basically engaged for most people a lot more common in order to save our lives.

What is Bad Anxiety?

Well with modern culture, with some exceptions, we actually have a pretty safe environment around us and we don’t really need to be having lives saved, but our brains are still perceiving that it does. So the problem with bad anxiety is that that system is being triggered when it doesn’t need to be and that we’re not really in danger.

So good anxiety is just low level. Again, you get a little afraid if it’s like a new situation but you still go ahead and go into that new situation. Or you’re walking down the street and you think there might be a car so you kind of get a little anxious, and you know you kind of respond and hey you don’t walk out in the street.

That’s all great. We need it, but bad anxiety has taken over your life. It’s in the way of work, relationships, and other things and you’re not going ahead and doing the things that you want to do. That’s when we would say there’s an anxiety disorder and you need to get help. And that’s what I do day in and day out, and I love helping people with it. And the good news is there’s so many things that can be done to help you get over it.