A Neuroscientist On The Difference Between Fear & Anxiety



According to Swart, fear is the most primal emotion. It’s also what she calls a survival emotion, along with anger, disgust, shame, and sadness. “They’re like primary colors for emotions,” she says, adding, “All of our feelings are combinations of the basic emotions. For example, jealousy is like love with anger.”

Anxiety (at least clinically), on the other hand, “is more a mental state,” she says. While you can feel anxious, anxiety itself is more than an emotion, as it often encompasses a myriad of physical manifestations, like increased breathing rate and heart rate, difficulty sleeping, and recurring negative thoughts.

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