EP99: The Evolutionary Reason Your Brain Creates Anxiety

The human brain hasn’t changed much in the past 200,000 years. But–you may have noticed–the world has changed a lot since then.

What this means is that there are many things your brain does that were necessary and adaptive in the world of 200,000 years ago, but that are unnecessary and irrelevant today. Fear, for example, was incredibly important in the past. It alerted people to danger that was real and present. Modern humans’ ability to act on fear is what kept them alive.

But this isn’t necessary today. Our brain still broadcasts fear and potential threats, but because our world isn’t full of real and present danger today, our fear turns to anxiety. We swim in it, analyze it, and try to fix it…but with no actual danger, there is nothing to do.

We can’t change our brain overnight. We can’t make them catch up to modern society. But we can do even better–we can see how they work. 



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