These thoughts are based on the premise that anxiety is caused by the fight or fight syndrome (or variations of it). I don’t pretend that I know what I’m talking about!! But these are some of my ideas based on my own self-education…
Emotions ARE chemicals. They aren’t caused by chemicals and they don’t cause chemicals. What happens is the body senses stimuli, and reacts, and if it’s a danger it releases fight/flight chemicals. You feel them as fear and so you act. You can’t feel the fear if the chemicals aren’t there. It’s not a result of the chemicals- it IS the chemical reaction. So one equals the other.
Therefore it is insane to think we can control our chemicals by thoughts. They can only be controlled indirectly. If, for example, a happy person with a lot of a certain chemical, such as oxytocin, has that chemical blocked, he’ll turn sad- regardless of the situation or his “attitude.” The people with good attitudes simply have more of those chemicals, either naturally, or with medicines or drugs, or their brains were conditioned to associate certain stimuli with a reason to release those chemicals. Simple. Emotions are chemicals and they exist. Thoughts are “reasoning about stuff” and have no effect on the chemicals directly.
Someone conditioned to fear dogs will always have the fight/flight chemical present when a stimulus of a dog is presented- no matter if it’s a threat for real or not. They can’t reason their way past it. If the chemicals are there, you feel it, period, unless you’re brain damaged. They can be conditioned away, learn to ignore the feeling, which takes a lot of work, or blocked with other chemicals, or the brain can be tricked into not recognizing the stimuli and thus not releasing the chemicals.
But just thinking your way out of anxiety doesn’t work.