The Evolution of Anxiety: Explained with the Best Example

Let’s imagine that you are a giraffe. You have a two-meter-long neck, and you live in the grasslands of the African savannah. Every day crowds of tourists pass by and photograph you. But not only have the camera lenses separated you from the person.


Probably the biggest difference separating you and your giraffe friends from people is that each decision you make has a momentary effect on your life. For example:

  • When a giraffe is hungry, it goes to a tree and begins to chew green foliage;
  • When a storm approaches the plain, it hides in dense thickets of bushes;
  • Barely seeing the lion, the giraffe flees.

Every day, most giraffe decisions (what to eat, where to sleep, when to flee, etc.) has an immediate impact on his life. This animal lives in the midst of momentary reactions, where life is closely related to the current moment.

The Delayed Return Environment

 Let’s now slightly change the plot and imagine ourselves as one of the tourists who went on a safari. Unlike giraffes, people live in the so-called environment of deferred reactions. The decisions that we take today may not affect our current state. For example, if you do your job well, you will receive a salary only after a few weeks. If you save money, then you will have something to live in your old age. Many aspects of modern life assume a delayed reward.

While the giraffe is concerned about the resolution of its pressing problems, such as saving from lions or subsistence, many of the problems that concern people are related to the future. For example, while driving through a safari park, a person might think: “I like a safari. It would be nice to find a park keeper and see giraffes every day. Is not it time for me to change jobs? Am I really in my place? ”

Unfortunately, being in the midst of deferred reactions leads to chronic stress and anxiety. Why does this happen? This is due to the fact that our brain is not designed to solve problems that have a delayed effect.

The discrepancy between the structure of the human brain and the new environment in which we find ourselves leads to chronic stresses and a constant sense of anxiety. Within the last 100 years, we’ve gone from a very simple way of life to a much more complicated system. We now have cars, television, computers, internet, mobile, and everything in between! All the things that we encounter in our lives today have come about within a very short time frame.

In the scope of evolution, 100 years is just a blip in time. It took us thousands of years to evolve into hunting, gathering and eventually farming humans and last 100 years of technology evolution is just a blip in time. Therefore our brains are still using the same processes from thousands of years ago.

We always worry about bank, home, money, car and many future problems but our brain can rarely solve this problem.

What to do with it

The first thing you can do is measurement. You cannot be sure that after graduating from high school, we will have a prestigious job, but you can calculate how many companies you have applied for an internship. You cannot be sure that when you will meet your love, but we can pay attention to how many people you introduced yourself.
Rather than worrying about tomorrow focus on present situations and making small decisions will reduce anxiety.

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