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Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience at different times. It can range from mild uneasiness to a panic attack. Anxiety and panic are caused by our fight/flight response which produces adrenaline. Once triggered, this response can cause many unpleasant physical symptoms such as a racing heart, palpitations, chest, pains, tingling in hands and feet, dizziness, breathlessness, over-breathing, butterflies, feeling sick, needing the loo, a dry mouth, muscle tension, trembling, "jelly legs", feeling hot and sweaty and goose bumps.
Once we have "learned" that a certain situation is dangerous by panicking, the mind "remembers" this fact to ensure that the next time it sees a similar situation it can give us the necessary anxiety/panic to enable us to run away or fight the "perceived" threat. When we don't understand what is happening to us, these physical symptoms can feel extremely frightening and we can easily get caught up in a "cycle" of anxiety and panic. We can worry about feeling panicky in the future, about the symptoms it will produce, about feeling out of control and appearing foolish as well as worrying about our health. By avoiding situations that make us anxious we will feel better initially but in doing this the fear is only reinforced rather than diminished.