anxiety

Anxiety is a state of anticipation, kind of a low-level fear.

While 'anxious', the person is in a state of constant preparatory excitement — ready to run or fight. Therefore it could be said that in an anxious state, the person is always ready to take some kind of defensive action and are sort of living with a 'hair trigger'.

If the cause of the anxiety is known, the attention naturally is always on the lookout for evidence of the 'impending doom'.

If the cause of the anxiety is unknown, the attention is constantly roaming and searching, looking for something to fear.

In both of these, the purpose is escape.

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