I like the short and sweet answer from Nicole from beyondblue.
I just answered a very similar question - “How do I know if the anxiety I experience is considered normal?” - I'll repost some of what I said there:
Anxiety is a normal and healthy part of life. We all get anxious and in fact our bodies are designed to get anxious in some situations so that we can act to keep ourselves safe. So if you are about to cross a busy road without thinking and just as you are about to put your foot down you see out of the corner of your eye a car coming along quite fast your body will rapidly prepare you to get out of harm's way. This is called the “flight or fight” system and it can be lifesaving. In the days of sabre toothed tigers roaming around the caves of our ancestors you could quickly become dinner if you couldn't react very rapidly.
Jump forward to 2012 though and we don't live such dangerous lives! Sometimes we get nervous, worried, edgey, jumpy (call if what you like) because of what our mind tells us rather than a tiger or lion being on our case. For instance, “what if I fail the test?” or “What if she says no when i ask her out?” might be thoughts that can “scare” us if we take them very seriously.
Our mind is like our best friend and worst enemy and it can be very quick to find “problems” for us to worry about!!! It is almost like our mind gets bored with just staying in the present and focussing on right now….so it jumps around to the past and future and loves to look our for danger, often that isn't actually there at all! Does that make sense?
As a clinical psychologist I'm a big fan of working on issues that get in the way of us living a big and wonderful life. I believe that whilst we can't choose all the cards we are dealt in life we can choose what we do with them. If you feel like worrying and getting anxious stops you from living and loving big time then it might be worth either reading a book that might help or seeing someone to get some ideas on how to deal with the anxiety more effectively.
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