Pedro Arantes
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The Evolution of Anxiety

The Delayed Return Environment causes chronic anxiety and stress because our brain was designed to live in an Immediate Return Environment.
#anxiety
Zettelkasten, May 22, 2020
Reading time: 2 minutes
## Notes - Currently, humans are living in what researchers call a **Delayed Return Environment**. - We worry about problems that won't be solved immediately by our actions - we work today to get a paycheck in a few weeks, for instance. - The Delayed Return Environment causes chronic anxiety and stress because our brain was designed to live in an Immediate Return Environment. - Our brain has roughly the same size as our ancestors of two hundred thousand years ago. - On the other side, society became mostly a Delayed Return Environment about 500 years ago, which is a very small window of time for our brain to evolve. - The Immediate Return Environment creates some stress and anxiety. It was necessary to help our ancestors (and some wild animals) to survive. - A lion appears -> you feel stressed -> you run away to survive -> the stress is relieved. - Nowadays, we still expect the same process, except that the relived part doesn't occur immediately. - We imagine our future -> we need money to live well -> we study to get a good job -> but we **don't** get a job (and money) immediately. This causes chronic stress and anxiety because it isn't relieved. - Living and Delayed Return Environment means you're surrounded by uncertainty. We can do two things to minimize it: 1. **Measure something**. When we measure something, we transform the unknown quantity and make it known, and you became more certain of something. - For instance, if you're looking for a job, count how many companies you sent your resume to. 2. **Shift your worry**. Instead of worrying about a long-term problem, focus on a daily routine that will solve your problem. - Instead of worrying about living longer, focus on doing some exercises today. ## References - [James Clear. The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It](https://jamesclear.com/evolution-of-anxiety)
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