Anxiety Hurts

we've all had a big test or ask a speech looming over us at some point so everybody knows what anxiety feels like your guts feel all twisted up you can't stop clenching your jaw instead of sleeping you just lie awake thinking useless thoughts like my mom's the only person in the world really likes me or wait does mom even like me it's annoying and counterproductive and apparently useless so why do we even have that well it turns out your body's anxiety response isn't useless at all it's actually a result of the all-important sympathetic nervous system which is in charge of the fight-or-flight response the reason you can respond quickly and spectacularly to sudden threats it's there so that in the event that you wake up in your houses on fire you can respond immediately your body becomes flooded with adrenaline or epinephrine or hormone that in a temporary but substantial way changes how your body does business it causes your sense of smell to heighten your muscles and blood vessels to contract your pupils to dilate sends more blood to your heart and lungs and less to your digestive system after all if you're going to get out of a burning house alive you're not gonna have time for a bathroom break and though it's not every day that your nervous system has to go to code read at least I hope not your sympathetic nervous system also kicks in to a lesser degree when you have business to attend to like pay the bills or make a deadline without it nothing would ever get done but you don't want your sympathetic nervous system running the whole show that's why you also have your mell aware groove your parasympathetic nervous system which creates the opposite of the fight-or-flight response it's sometimes called the relaxation or feed and breed response between these two systems of balance a kind of homeostasis is maintained but some people have a hard time maintaining homeostasis their fight-or-flight response is always in gear causing chronic anxiety this condition is sometimes hereditary or it can develop when stressful experiences pile up not only does chronic anxiety feel crappy it also damages your cells alters your brain chemistry and can exacerbate pretty much any health problem you can think of for starters as expected chronically stressed people have a greater risk of heart disease and high blood pressure since constant constriction of blood vessels puts pressure on the heart stress has also been found to worsen conditions like asthma migraines male infertility gastrointestinal problems and even type 2 diabetes by raising blood glucose levels and on a cellular level constant stress has even weirder effects research shows that chronic anxiety can actually accelerate aging by wearing away at the protective caps on our chromosomes called telomeres stress can also inhibit your cells ability to protect themselves from oxidation a process that acts on the body in exactly the same way that rust acts on an old piece of metal is causes imbalances and brain chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine that affect sleep mood and emotional stability so if you're feeling anxious more often than you suspect is good for you take some steps to protect yourself take deep breaths get exercise or go to yoga or meditation class because a little anxiety at the right times can be healthy but we need to keep you alive thanks for watching this episode of scishow if you want to tell us about your worst anxiety attack you can find us on Facebook or Twitter or down in the comments below and if you want to continue getting smarter with us here at scishow you can go to and subscribe boom you


  1. I once had an anxiety attack that prevented me eating for 3 days. Doesn't seem like a great evolutionary advantage…

  2. for those saying that this guy has made your anxiety worse he is trying to let you know the truth of what it does to your body so you can combat it and yes i suffer from minor anxiety and excersising does help me to relieve it tempiory but even though thiers still things that i fear every day

  3. I had my first panic attack when I was 16. It was between sophomore and junior year of high school and I had recently moved out of my childhood home. I woke up at three in the morning to use the restroom and started hallucinating. I dont remember all of what happened but I was told that I was trying to protect myself from things that weren't there and claiming that "they were out to get me" I scared my parents so bad that they thought I was possessed. To this day I still suffer with chronic anxiety and a panic disorder. This has caused me to become scared of eating, sleeping and doing anything my family doesnt like. (Very religious people and I am in a lesbian relationship. They dont like that) I have messed up my health so bad that I get dizzy when I stand up for too long, my blood sugar drops drastically because I dont eat and I'm always insanely tired. I get stressed to the point where I get physically sick and it's no fun. I try to control my anxiety with medication and other methods of keeping calm but recently life has been hellish. I've been constantly sick and my blood sugar has stayed low enough consistently that I have reactive hypoglycemia. Anyway. Enough of me ranting. Thank you for posting these videos. Watching this channel actually helps me with an anxiety attack when I am having one.

  4. This kind of thing won’t effect you severely unless you have an actual anxiety disorder. If you feel like you’re experiencing more anxiety than normal on a regular basis, talk to your doctor. There’s no shame in needing help.

  5. Having both depression and anxiety, this doesn't sound too bad knowing I have a high chance of dying young

  6. People with chronic anxiety do not need to relax or do yoga; they need to see a doctor. Chronic anxiety needs to be treated medically as it is a very serious metal health illness. Sorry, but thumbs down on this one for that "advice". Shame on you SciShow.

  7. My worst anxiety attack was when I first started smoking weed
    I kept looking outside, but at the same time trying to hide from cars, and being paranoid of cops coming to get me for being too stoned

  8. Aaaaw… Is it just me or did anybody else feel a little hug from "We need to keep you alive"?

    Oh, just me…

    I'll go sit down now 😳

  9. My worst panic attack was, well, shitty. I was going through opioid withdrawal. I was on day 3 of going cold turkey from a daily habit and thought I felt well enough to go out with my girlfriend at the time and smoke some weed. I rolled a joint and we went to a park to smoke. I took like three little puffs and was instantly high as a kite, and thus began feeling incredibly anxious. It was unlike any panic attack I've ever had. I genuinely, truly and dearly thought I was going to die. I thought I could feel my body shutting down right there in that moment. We went back to my house and next thing I knew I was writhing on my bed crying and screaming "I don't wanna die!" over and over to my mom and girlfriend. It took about half an hour before I calmed myself down and was able to think normally again. My girlfriend went home shortly after and I fell straight asleep. It was like the panic attack completely depleted all my energy and my GABA levels went through the roof. That was the first panic attack where I actually felt almost euphoric afterward. Don't smoke weed much anymore cause of that. It still gives me anxiety though it's much less intense than that day. Good lord it was truly awful. Glad I didn't die though.

  10. If you try to fix anxiety with sedatives, you lose motivation to move. You just sit there on a couch, either sleeping, eating, watching movies or listening to music. Instead of maintaining the homeostatis between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, what it does is make you feel sleepy and nobody wants to do anything when they're sleepy.

  11. Once, I had a panic attack which caused the pins-and-needles feeling in my legs, hands, arms, and face. My hands experienced the worst of it and actually paralyzed, my thumbs locked into my palms and my fingers bunched up. It was crazy.

  12. It seems to me (especially from the comments below) that anxiety and depression are confused. Some of the people writing down on the comments section seem more depressed than "anxious". Could you explain?

  13. I like the feeling of butterflies inside my stomach. It almost feels like an orgasim. That’s why I like tests or things like big roller coaster.

  14. The adrenaline response is too powerful. It's fine to amp up heart rate, but it does no good to make you feel like you can't breathe, and neither of those effects is particularly useful for reciting poetry in front of the class. I speak from a specific experience, and let me say that it was the worst performance of "the road not taken" ever.

  15. My worst panic attack was last night. For a good reason, but I didn't get to bed until two, then didn't sleep well.

  16. Psychoneuroimmunology is a mouthful but it's the study about how your emotions affect your immune system and how things like depression makes it more difficult for you to fight disease. My dad, a nurse, introduced it to me a while ago.

  17. I had frequent anxiety attacks for years; feeling lightheaded, unable to stop or control my whole body shaking in waves hard enough to shake the whole bed, feeling like I couldn't breathe properly, heart racing and freaking out that I might be having a heart attack or something. It almost always started in the middle of the night when I was trying to get to sleep and typically lasted for 3 to 4 hours, so I was often pretty out of it the next day at school. It didn't even seem to have any cause, it would just start up out of the blue, which made it even more scary somehow.
    I barely get them anymore, but it was horrible back when it was happening often. Because it happened in the middle of the night, it didn't interfere much with what activities I could do during the day, but I couldn't rest properly, felt fatigued alot, and bothered my family who were trying to sleep and who I went to for comfort.

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