Stress to me is only expressed in physical symptoms. Without a sore jaw or finicky stomach, I wouldn't realize that I was actually experiencing stress. Instead of thinking stressful thoughts first then having those thoughts cause the physical symptoms, I feel the physical symptoms which then indicate to me that I am stressed. My theory is that although I am mentally fine with risky, high stakes situations, my lizard brain still responds with additional adrenaline and cortisol that takes its own toll on my body.
I was reading a Scientific American blog about anxiety and how it was not acknowledged by the Greeks as an actual disorder, then only became a purely physical illness starting with the Romans, then only recently has been seen as a primary mental affliction. I understand that there are people who suffer from anxiety disorders, but for garden variety anxiety felt as a result of simple stress, is anxiety primarily a physical phenomenon? A natural, but largely physical reaction, perhaps? A poignant reminder from the part of our brain that is primarily (or only) concerned with our survival that we need to get out of harm's way sooner rather than later?
I'm interested in this topic because I have grown increasingly susceptible to the effects of anxiety over the years. The shift is particularly dramatic given my previously almost non-existent levels of anxiety. My friends wonder what happened to me. And sociopaths are not supposed to be anxious. But actually, sometimes they are.