(я не психолог) (transurfer) wrote,
(я не психолог)

Don't hate your anxiety too much, it may be why you're here<FO

A lot of people in the modern world have a problem with being over-anxious. Psychiatrists' offices are full of people who worry too much. Sufferers often know they have a problem, but they just can't seem to do anything about it. It's as if they're hard-wired to fret. Maybe they are.

There's no doubt that being excessively anxious can make you miserable. It's hard to be happy when you're worried all the time. But if it's your genes, rather than your environment, that are causing you to fret, they may well have been the reason for your existence in the first place.

Where do your genes come from?

Your parents of course. But not only from your mother and father, but from their parents as well. And their parents' parents and their parents' parents' parents and so on back thousands and thousands of years.

Somewhere back in the history of humanity, each of these couples met up and reproduced. By a series of astonishing chances, all the right pairs had children together in order for you to become the ultimate product.

If anything had gone wrong in that matchmaking you would never have existed at all. Say your grandfather had never met and reproduced with your grandmother - well, you wouldn't be here to read these words. And that is true right back to whoever your ultimate ancestors were.

But luckily, everything went right. They all met up and had at least one baby together. All it would have taken is one piece in this enormous string of circumstances to be out of place and - POOF! - no more you.

So what could have gone wrong?

All sorts of things. Maybe they could have made a decision not to go to the place where they met. Maybe they wouldn't have been attracted to one another. Maybe somebody else could have chosen them as a mate first.

But the ultimate thing that could have gone wrong is that one of them could have died before they had a chance to reproduce. And history was a dangerous place.

In our relatively safe, modern world, we forget how easy it was for people to be killed one hundred, one thousand, and ten thousand years ago. Water and food were less clean, general hygiene was terrible, no medicines existed to treat disease, and violence was common. An accident, such as a broken leg, which today would be a painful inconvenience would probably have spelt death ten thousand years ago.

Even 200 years ago, average life expectancy in Europe was around 36. This figure was so low mostly because many people died young from violence, poor medicine, and disease.

Against all the odds, your ancestors managed to survive long enough to reproduce. With easy death all around them, they lived long enough to pass along the next link in the genetic chain that led to you.

How did they do it?

Probably by being very cautious. They knew that survival was tough and they were probably always thinking and worrying about how they could survive. Some of their worries were probably unjustified, but some of them were probably right. They knew not to take excessive risks and so they lived on.

Sure, that anxiety may have made them miserable sometimes, just as it may make you miserable sometimes. But nature, and the genetic chain doesn't care about happiness. As long as a person doesn't commit suicide, and doesn't allow their misery to affect their reproductive chances, it's virtually irrelevant in the great game of pass-on-your-genes.

All that matters is that you survive long enough to reproduce. And being anxious about what could go wrong in a dangerous world probably helped to increase the chances of that.

Even today in rich countries, a lack of anxiety can easily lead to an early death. Think of over-confident young drivers getting themselves in fatal crashes, or arrogant drug-dealers getting themselves shot. A bit more anxiety could have helped such people survive.

So next time you're obsessing over how terrible it is to fret all the time, try not to hate this aspect of yourself too much. The genes that cause it may also have helped put you on this planet in the first place.

Tags: страх
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