An evolutionary perspective on anxiety

A friend (Sean, to give credit where it’s due) just reminded me of a theory I recall learning about in an undergrad psychology course, which explored the hardwiring of anxiety. Before we evolved into our current human form (so as animals), an instinctual tendency to be wary of others and on the alert – at least until we received a sign to indicate whether another was friend vs. foe – was adaptive in our struggle to become one of the ‘fittest’ who survived.

Unfortunately, in some of us (hi, Sean), this system appears to have over-evolved and mutated to the point of us being startled in response to completely benign, non-threatening stimuli, such as when our s.o.’s merely enter the same room we happen to be in…which coincidentally occurred earlier today when I was vacuuming and Kristen came by to tell me she was going out. With my exaggerated startle reflex, I jumped and uttered some kind of primal scream. Yup, my stuff’s mutated.

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