What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion characterised by an unpleasant state of dread over anticipated events, often accompanied by nervous behaviour such as pacing back and forth, physical symptoms, and continuous over-thought.
Anxiety is similar to fear but has a key difference. Fear is the perception of a real or imagined immediate threat. Anxiety, on the other hand, is the perception of a future threat.
Anxiety causes a wide range of physical and mental symptoms that tend to linger, affecting your ability to manage everyday life.
Physical anxiety symptoms are caused by a body response called “fight-flight-freeze.” It evolved in ancient humans to help them escape from or confront danger.
During this response, your adrenal glands release adrenaline. This helps supply your brain and body with more oxygen, so they’re ready to react instinctively: to fight the danger or run from it. When you’re in an anxious state, the blood, oxygen and glucose in your brain gets drained from the telencephalon, which supports creative and rational thought, and gets redirected to the amygdala which supports immediate, physical response. This is why it can be hard to think clearly and rationally when you’re in an anxious or panicked state.
This leads to:
- You breathing more quickly,
- Your heart beating faster,
- Your blood pressure rising,
- Your digestion slowing down,
The fight-or-flight response helped our ancestors escape danger, but we’ve evolved and these days, we rarely face the same kind of dangers they did. Instead, your fight-or-flight response kicks in when you perceive a threat in some form, even if it’s not real.
There are a variety of anxiety and panic triggers that can set you off. Each person is different with their specific triggers, but there are similarities amongst most people who experience anxiety. Sometimes these triggers seem invisible. They can make it seem like the anxiety has come out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, which can lead to you becoming anxious and being anxious. It causes an emotional and psychological spiral that makes it difficult for the sufferer to find the original cause.
Along with the emotional side-effects of experiencing anxiety disorder people frequently report experiencing on-going depression. This can be for many reasons but is typically tied to the sense of not being able to change the anxiety.
Some physical symptoms of anxiety include
- Muscle tension or pain – This could be in your shoulders, neck, or jaw, or from clenching your fists for no reason.
- Pounding or rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations – This can happen anytime, even when you’re not consciously feeling anxious.
- Chronic indigestion, stomach ache, diarrhoea, constipation, or other digestive system issues.
- Compulsive behaviours – For example, rubbing your fingers together, clearing your throat, chewing your lips, picking at your skin or hair, or tapping or shaking your leg.
- Panic attacks – Racing heartbeat or heart palpitations, sweating, nausea, chills, a feeling of losing control and a sense of impending doom.
Something To Consider
It’s important to understand that anxiety is a normal function. It’s a normal response to perceived threats and distress. It serves as feedback for you to address the worries with a strategy or solution. Anxiety becomes a problem for most people when it becomes chronic (on-going) and when it gets in the way of living your everyday life.
A lot of the various ways that treat anxiety is by addressing the symptoms and experiences of anxiety directly. Things like meditation, yoga, exercise, breathing techniques, hypnosis, and many other forms of treatment have shown to have calming effects on people who experience anxiety.
The approach that has been most valuable in my own life and for people I have worked with involves understanding the triggers of your anxiety and tracing back to the original cause. Anxiety exists for a reason and is pointing to an imbalance of perception in the mind. By tracing back to the original cause and resolving any fears, anxieties and heightened emotions associated with it, it naturally neutralises the on-going anxiety.
It’s extremely rare for babies to be born experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. They’re generally experiencing life moment-by-moment without worry for the future. This alone should be cause for reflection on the fact that there are triggers that create an association in the mind which then lead to anxiety and panic. These may happen at a very young age as you build your perceptions but they rarely exist from birth.
If you’re experiencing anxiety and panic, know that it’s for a reason. It’s not random. It’s not just the cards you were dealt. It has a reason for existence in your life and through exploring and investigating, understanding that reason and realising the original cause can be a liberating experience for you.
Personally, even while experiencing anxiety and panic for years, I don’t believe that you have to live with anxiety. I don’t believe that it’s just part of who you are or that you have to accept that you’re a person who will suffer with anxiety for the rest of your life. It serves a purpose, it exists in your life for a reason and you can find out why.
There’s a good chance that you’ve tried a wide variety of remedies for your anxiety. It may range from CBT, aromatherapy, anti-anxiety medication, anti-depressants, acupuncture, meditation retreats, regular psychiatry sessions, hypnosis, dietary changes, supplementation and many others.
Understandably, all of these varied approaches may make it difficult for you to appreciate a simple solution to your anxiety. Typically, the greatest results come from the simplest solutions.
Question You Might Have
What if I don’t know what the trigger is?
You may not know what triggers your anxiety and that’s fine. Part of the process of working with me is finding the triggers and trace back to the cause.
What if I’ve tried everything and none of it has lasting results?
I don’t promise lasting results. That’s unrealistic and unfair on you. I do promise, to help you find the cause of the anxiety, help you reveal the purpose of it in your life and even help you understand and appreciate it. That alone tends to reduce the anxiety as a consequence and increases your natural sense of calm.
I’m currently taking anti-anxiety medication and supplements, will I be able to come off them?
That’s not for me to decide. Firstly, I don’t suggest that you do, especially without the consultation of your prescribing doctor. Think of working with me as a supplement to what you’re already doing. I’m here to help you get results in the best way we can together. I don’t claim to cure anxiety for several reasons. One of those is that it’s not something to be cured because it’s a normal response. Another reason is that everyone has very specific experiences of anxiety and panic. I couldn’t possibly know all of them without direct consultations with each individual and understanding their specific triggers.
How long does it take for my anxiety to settle?
Again, this is a case by case basis. Some people have noticed a change in their anxiety within several weeks of working with me, others have experienced a change sooner. Everyone is different and everyone has different layers of triggers. I can’t promise a time frame but I can promise that I’m dedicated to helping you reveal and understand the triggers.
What if I already know what my triggers are, do I really need your help?
No one needs my help. That’s the truth of it. You’ve survived this long without my help, so you’d definitely survive longer with it. However, you’re not here to survive. You want to live and you want to thrive. If you know what your triggers are then that’s great. Some of the work is done. Where I can help there is by tracing the triggers to an original cause and resolving the triggers so they’re no longer triggers.
You Don’t Have To Do This Alone
If you’re ready to change your experience of anxiety and panic then be sure to contact me. I’m here to help you the best way I can. If you have any questions before working with me, I’d be happy to answer them during a phone call or Skype conversation. That way I can get a clear understanding of your situation and determine if I can help you the way you deserve. It also gives you a chance to get to know me and my style before committing to anything. After all, you would marry someone without going on a first date, would you? (I hope not).