Why anxiety is caused by information in our brains

Our brains have the ability to store information 1

Neuroscience has shown that our brains have the ability to store information. For example, if we’ve never seen a tennis ball, we may be unable to identify one. However, after learning what a tennis ball is, we’ll be able to recognize tennis balls for the rest of our lives.

Learning about tennis balls seemingly changed something in us. One way to understand this phenomenon is to look at the brain as a computer. A computer allows us to store and retrieve information. Our brain does the same thing. When we learned what a tennis ball is, we “installed” new information that enabled us to identify and name tennis balls.

We use stored information in our brains to make sense of the world

Information we have and store in our brains is used to make sense of what we see, hear, taste, think, etc.2 This explains why when we see a tennis ball, we internally know, “This is a tennis ball.”

The connection between information in our brains and anxiety

There are times when two people witness the same event, but only one person gets anxious while the other person experiences no emotion. Why is that? I argue that the difference in emotional reaction is because each person processed the event with different brain information.

The anxious person processed the event with stored information that also instructed his body to be anxious. In contrast, the non-anxious person processed the event with stored information that didn’t instruct his body to be anxious.

The significance of this insight for people wanting to reduce their anxiety is that, like a computer, we can eliminate anxiety over time if we delete programming (information in our brain) that instructs the body to be anxious.

You may be asking, “Why would I want to make myself anxious or store information that makes me anxious?” I covered in this short essay, why we use or sometimes store information that makes us anxious without knowing. With this awareness can begin developing and using alternative strategies to using anxiety as a tool.

How do we change the information in our brains and eliminate anxiety?

If you agree with this article, then I encourage you to look at the information in our brains as a collection of beliefs3. This short article explains why we can view beliefs as information in our brains. With this specificity, we can change the information in our brains by figuring out how to uncover and discard our anxiety-triggering beliefs.

If you have any questions or rebuttals about what I’ve said, feel free to contact me so we can discuss your points.


  1. Trinity College Dublin. “How do we learn? Neuroscientists pinpoint how memories are likely to be stored in the brain.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2023. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/11/231121175231.htm>. ↩︎
  2. Rüdiger J. Seitz, Hans-Ferdinand Angel, Belief formation – A driving force for brain evolution, Brain and Cognition, Volume 140, 2020, 105548, ISSN 0278-2626, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2020.105548. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278262619303860) ↩︎
  3. Same reference as 2. ↩︎

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