Anxiety is on the rise. A side effect of the uncertainty of modern life. Uncertainty alone does not produce anxiety, but sets in motion the right growing conditions.
Have you ever felt troubled by anxiety? It feels unsettling, challenging, exhausting, and we believe we gain control by blocking the feelings.
Some think anxiety is bad and is alerting us to something catastrophic about to happen. They don’t see feeling anxious as useful, instead they view it as a setback.
What if anxiety is not your enemy but rather
a powerful energetic force for you to harness?
Anxiety is our reaction to a threat, real or imagined. When encountering a genuine threat, fear is our natural reaction. If you are laying in bed in a panic and there is nothing actually threatening you: that’s anxiety. The bigger the activation, the more intense the anxiety, the more we’re rooted in shame, blame, procrastination or isolating from others.
There are many common symptoms that alert you when anxiety is approaching. On a physical level: trembling, muscle tension, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, dizziness, fatigue, digestion issues, easily startled. On a thinking level: excessive worrying, repetitive thoughts, irritability, trouble concentrating, nervousness, feeling out of control or that you’re dying.
It’s curious when you come up with a big idea, or decide to move outside your comfort zone, you feel anxious or afraid. Your body hums with fear at the mere thought of change. Ever wanted to say or do something but held yourself back. By the time anxiety has subsided, someone else had already said or done it.
What if anxiety isn’t the problem? Could your anxiety be showing you a way forward? The intense pounding of your heart, pain in your stomach, tightness in your chest. Are these symptoms appearing because an opportunity has opened and your system is trying to get your attention?
It might feel dangerous or even that you could die. Is your brain wrong? Has it evaluated something as lethal where absolutely no danger exists? Instead of asking when will this be over, consider what this is trying to tell you. Perhaps anxiety isn’t the problem. It’s revealing something important that you need to know.
Tune in to acknowledge and name how you’re
feeling. This will lower your distress level.
Anxiety is caused by a combination of factors. A situation or a thought triggers off an anxious reaction. Frequently people have no awareness of their triggers but think they have become anxious for no reason. Some common triggers:
- Stress. a big event or a buildup of small unresolved situations. e.g., a death or loss of a loved one, work, relationship, pregnancy, illness, finances, moving.
- Trauma. children or adults who endured abuse or trauma or witnessed traumatic events. Being close to someone who’s the victim of trauma. Intergenerational trauma.
- Genetics. you have a greater risk if anxiety runs in your family line.
Anxiety is scary and can feel like it comes out of nowhere. Many of us are uncomfortable admitting we’re anxious. Awareness is the first step. If you are worrying too much and its interfering with your sleep, work, family, social interactions or you find yourself avoiding situations or your fear and anxiety feel uncontrollable. You don’t need to struggle with anxiety; it’s entirely treatable. Find a trauma informed therapist or one with a somatic background to support you. Get help today.
Some symptoms of anxiety can develop with our breathing. When we become anxious or fearful, we may unconsciously hold our breath, or find ourselves breathing so rapidly that it can make us feel dizzy, weak, or tingling sensations.
- Breathe. When we inhale, the air enters into our inner world. When we exhale the air exits to the outer world. When your mind is calm enough to follow this movement there is nothing… just the breath.
- Slower breathing, prolonged exhalation and resistance breathing all increase parasympathetic activity. Parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response. It helps the body relax and allows calm.
- Equal breaths. Inhale for the same amount of time you exhale. Close your eyes and pay attention to your normal breath. Then count 1, 2, 3, 4 as you inhale and count 1, 2, 3, 4 as you exhale. This brings you into balance.
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