Our bodies have a built in protective mechanism that dates from over 50,000 years ago when we might have been living in the jungle. Let’s go back to those days. Imagine we are walking through the jungle and a Tiger jumps out in front of us. Our lives are in danger, we need to run. We tell our brains something really frightening is happening so it swiftly changes the amount of stress hormones being pumped around our body to get us ready to run. These hormones redistribute blood in our body. We stop digesting food, as we don’t need to right now; we might get butterflys in our stomach as a result, or feel slightly sick or even be sick. Our stress hormones move the blood to our heart and lungs, so our heart beats faster and our breathing changes to allow more oxygen to get to our muscles for us to run. We start to sweat due to all these changes. The blood supply is moved from the area of our brains required to think as we are not going to turn to the Tiger and say “Please Mr Tiger can we talk about this”; it moves to the area of the brain that helps us move and run.
When people start have anxiety symptoms which include the physical symptoms such as sweating, butterflys in the stomach, feeling sick, palpitations and breathing faster, this is because they are seeing tigers where they do not exist. When this happens the young person wants to avoid the situation where they believe “The tiger” lives.