Everyone worries but some people feel a sense of worry day in day out, all day every day. The feeling of worry is felt essentially to protect you, to keep you safe but sometimes that feeling appears and it is difficult to figure out why.
With permission, I will share a client’s symptoms, we will call them J, J couldn’t sleep, ate a diet of mainly processed foods, avoided being alone with their thoughts so went through new ear pods on a monthly basis and felt palpitations, dizzy, nauseated and exhausted most of the time. The anxiety they experienced had taken control. It had shifted from a sense of worry to persistent state of apprehension. The initial trauma was over but the mind, body and soul still felt it daily.
It is a physiological, psychological and behavioural response manifesting all at once. Anxiety affects your whole being; mind, body and soul.
With all 3 responses firing at once anxiety can sabotage your ability to think straight, express yourself and make decisions. It can make you feel physically very unwell, alongside experiencing a sense of mental and emotional uneasiness that maybe considered off the charts! The potential ‘threat’ known or unknown feels very scary.
The Difference between Anxiety and an Anxiety Disorder
The main root cause of people’s anxiety varies from trauma, a life threatening incident/accident, stress, illicit drugs, medication, symptoms of an illness.
Anxiety is part of day to day life with your mobile phone ping creates a sense of possible dread, or financial pressures, but anxiety disorders can be distinguished from anxiety experienced in every day life.
How to know if you have an Anxiety Disorder
- The anxiety is intense and may stop you from going about your normal day to day activities
- The anxiety lasts a long time e.g weeks, months or longer and the initial stressor has passed
- The anxiety has lead to a phobia(s) and you avoid certain people, places and it interferes with your daily life
- You experience regular physical symptoms such as palpitations, fatigue and trembling
- You have difficulty being present
- You may experience gastrointestinal problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Below is a brief explanation of some common anxiety disorders.
- Panic Disorder – In addition to anxiety, it is experiencing acute apprehension and fear that may occur out of the blue often causing a shortness of breath, shaking, palpitations, dizziness and nausea.
- Social Anxiety Disorder – A very common anxiety that involves acute fear of embarrassment or humiliation when you are with people, some have this anxiety only in large crowds whereas for others being with two or more people feels very uncomfortable and distressing.
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder – A chronic anxiety that tends to persist for six months without panic attacks, phobias or obsessions. The anxiety typically is focused on two or more areas of your life e.g. health, finances, relationships, career.
- Phobias – A strong fear that involves avoiding a particular ‘thing’ or situation.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Reoccurring thoughts, ideas, images and feelings intrude your mind and compulsions serve to release the anxiety created by the obsession.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorder – This disorder share some commonalities with OCD but vary in there manifestion e.g. Body dysmorphia, hoarding and trichotillomania.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – This disorder occurs following a traumatic event and has disabling psychological symptoms and symptoms often include flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive thoughts about the event.
- Anxiety Disorder due to a Medical Condition – Some medical conditions such as cardiovascular and metabolic conditions create a direct physiological response often creating Generalised Anxiety and/or panic attacks
It’s ALL in your head!
To an extent anxiety is all in your head because that is where it starts. Anxiety is experienced when signals from the amygdala, which is the emotional instinctive part of the brain, start to overpower the cognitive part of the brain. The perceived threat is then very real in our consciousness. Anxiety triggers your flight, fight or freeze stress response within the brain, the body releases a flood of chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline into your system and you feel the anxiety physically. The body increases your pulse and breathing rate, so your brain can get more oxygen and you are ready to run. This physical response prepares you to respond appropriately to an intense situation, the threat to your safety. The instinctive response is to avoid and get out of danger immediately and the mind and body work in conjunction to do so.
However, sometimes, there is no immediate threat to your safety yet anxiety presents itself.
Heal ALL Bodies
Looking at anxiety holistically, anxiety is held in the emotional body, this acts as a bridge between the physical and mental. We have four main bodies; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Three of them may seem intangible and ephemeral but they affect the physical so it is important to address each body on your healing journey. For example, I personally would never have overcome a vestibular condition by just addressing the physical. I was an anxious depressed mess! I needed to heal all four bodies and thankfully many things such as EFT, hypnotherapy, art and time in nature support all four. Healing the emotional body takes time but it is very much worth it.
The Emotional Body and Anxiety
Anxiety is held in the emotional body so it is the emotional body dictating what we think, who we are, what to do and importantly who or what is a threat.
Many of my clients have tried cognitive methods of healing their anxiety and did not get their desired results. Please note I am only referring to my client base but cognitive methods for them and myself personally did not create the necessary shifts. Why? Because the subconscious mind controls the body, therefore, your emotions run your show!
Then habits kick in. The subconscious emotional responses become habits.
It is important to work with all four bodies and the emotional body in particular for anxiety.
Your True Self versus Your Habits
Anxiety is learned reactions that come from a place of self love but after the stressor has been managed and the trauma has ended it becomes quite the opposite.
Your true self knows when you are safe and when you are under a true threat but I appreciate it is difficult to tap into this.
To React or to Respond?
The more you learn about and align with your true self the easier it becomes to identify when you are reacting from a place of love or fear.
To react to the anxiety to is to agree with the subconscious; “Yes there is a threat and we must avoid it now.”
However, what if you start to respond and meet the needs of your emotional body? To me, this was a game changer! I acknowledged the physical responses but I knew that the physical was manifesting the emotional.
Healing the Emotional and Physical Body
If possible, discover what lies beneath the anxiety and release it. Release the fear, sadness, panic…release it all.
You may choose to release the anxiety and associated emotions using:
EFT, Hypnotherapy, Art, Singing, Dancing, Journaling, Laughter, Yoga, Meditation and Breath Work.
And cry! Cry me a river! Some of my clients are so resistant at first to cry and perceive showing emotions as a weakness. Suppressing emotions WILL lead to feeling unwell at some point down the line and the emotion will manifest in one body or another to be healed. If you keep ignoring it, it will persist so cry if you get the urge. A good cry in the shower works wonders when needed.
It is also important to address your hormone balance so avoiding any nutritional triggers such as caffeine, alcohol and a heavy carb load will support the physical and emotional bodies. Ensuring you drink plenty of water, get rest and avoid burn out is crucial. When the adrenals and liver are being maxed out anxiety will show up.
Discover if you are an empath
Empaths tend to suffer with adrenal fatigue because if you are an open empath your energy will regularly get depleted leaving you exhausted, in pain and anxious.
Being an empath is another topic that I will address sometime soon but for now if you are an empath and you experience anxiety ensure that you clear your energy daily, many times a day if needed!
Anxiety is a complex subject but there are ways that you can manage it. Living with anxiety is sh!t, I totally appreciate that but please be open to ideas, modalities and techniques that can help you.
Your worries may not go away on their own, and they may get worse over time if you don’t seek help. This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat in anyway, it has been written to raise awareness of the condition and share options. Please see your doctor or a mental health provider before your anxiety worsens in any way. Get help as soon as you need it.
Reach out and begin to understand your self all parts of your self.
Please feel free to get in contact and have a free initial consultation to discuss how I may support you.
Rebecca@theholisticcoach.co.uk | 07736431388