8 Fascinating Facts About Anxiety by PSYBLOG!: 1st 4

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Studies show that anxiety affects the sense of smell and balance, how we judge faces and perceptions of our personal space.
Anxiety may be an unpleasant emotion, which can be crippling in excess, but it does exist for a good reason.
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Anxiety tells us we’re in danger and we need to do something. It was our anxious ancestors who prepared better for winter and made plans to off neighbouring tribes. The relaxed, laid-back guys never made it.
But anxiety’s effects aren’t limited to motivation, they seep through the mind to all sorts of areas…
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1. Anxiety literally makes everything stink
As people get more anxious, they are more likely to label neutral smells as bad smells (Krusemark & Li, 2013). So, anxiety literally makes the world stink.
The reason, explains Professor Wen Li is:
“In typical odor processing, it is usually just the olfactory system that gets activated. But when a person becomes anxious, the emotional system becomes part of the olfactory processing stream.”
And as people get more anxious they become better at distinguishing between different bad smells (Krusemark & Li, 2012).
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2. Exercise reduces anxiety
Generally, when people get a little exercise they feel less anxiety in their lives. As little as 20 minutes can make you feel calmer right now.
The benefits of a little workout extend beyond the gym, though, into everyday life.
One study has found that although simply resting reduces anxiety, it doesn’t help protect against stressful events (Smith, 2013).
Exercise, though, seems to have a more lasting effect, helping to reduce anxiety when faced with stressful situations afterwards.
Indeed, many think exercise should be prescribed for depression and anxiety instead of drugs.
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3. The parental effect
Like many things, high anxiety is partly in the genes, but part of the reason anxious people are anxious is because of their parents’ behaviour.
Children are more likely to be anxious when their parents direct criticism at them, display high levels of doubt and are emotionally cold (Budinger et al., 2012).
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4. Think different
One of the best ways of reducing anxiety is to think about situations differently.
It’s not an exam; it’s a fun little quiz. It’s not a scary presentation; it’s a little chat with a few colleagues. It’s not a job interview; it’s a chance to meet some new people.
Most situations can be re-framed in this way and studies show that people who do this naturally–as opposed to trying to suppress their anxiety–feel less anxious in stressful social situations (Llewellyn et al., 2013).
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