If you experience anxiety, your survival instincts are permanently turned on. The energy of “fight or flight” is stuck in the nervous system. This is a huge amount of energy, with no way out.
There are many possible root causes for anxiety, as well as triggers. The thing that all anxiety has in common however is that we can feel it in the body, mind, and emotions.
Anxiety is the body’s expression of distress, inner conflict, and survival instincts. Anxiety is experienced at different strengths. It can be felt as a consistent low level hum in the background, or as a knock out panic attack.
BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AND ANXIETY TREATMENT
If our early life environment feels safe, stable, and predictable – with just the right amount of variety and excitement – our brains, minds, and bodies develop in a healthy and balanced way.
Early life is a time of exploration, development, and growth. As “little people” we experience many things for the first time, and learn many new things at a great pace. Each of these new experiences plays a role in shaping our brain, mind, and confidence.
The brain helps us to manage the way that we feel, and stay “cool, calm, and collected” under pressure. From birth to three years old, the brain is forming over a million new connections every second. The way that we think, feel, and act is greatly influenced by our life experiences during this time of abounding brain growth.
The connections that are made within the brain will contribute to how we manage stress and if we remain anxious as adults.
HOW ANXIETY IS CREATED
Anxiety in childhood, creates an anxious brain. If our early environment is chronically stressful, our brains will grow in a way that makes anxiety the regular state of being. It’s normal to have periodic moments of stress when we are growing up. What feels stressful for one baby, will be less frightening or even exciting for another.
Short periods of stress are healthy, when they are followed by calming down. This teaches the brain to bring you back down when fear turns on. To stay chronically stressed creates an anxious brain. when we learn how to come back down from the stress.
Babies lack the ability to calm themselves down and need the help of a caregiver to relax. This helps the brain to build connections between ‘fear’ and ‘rest’ and allows us to learn the skill of ‘self-regulation’ (managing our own emotions and internal stresses).
If your early life was chronically stressful for you, you may live with a chronic state of anxiety, find that you are more susceptible to stress, or find that you become more anxious than you feel is appropriate, take longer to relax when triggered, or reach for muscle relaxants or alcohol to help you regulate the stress. We can program the body to be primed for stress, or to be primed for regulation.
ANXIETY IS A SYMPTOM
Anxiety is a physical, emotional, and mental experience. We can feel anxiety in our bodies (heart rate, muscle tension), our emotions (fear, apprehension, alarm), instincts (the urge to run, hide, and/or fight), and our thoughts (worries, catastrophic thinking, negative beliefs).
Anxiety is a symptom, not a cause. Medication can help to reduce the feeling of anxiety by slowing down the nervous system. This provides temporary relief and makes the experience more manageable. Once the medication wears off, the anxiety returns because something is still triggering the body to be anxious.
Anxiety is not caused by one thing alone, like a cold that is caused by a virus. Anxiety is created by life experiences. Some of us are more prone than others to develop anxiety. To work with anxiety more completely, it’s important to understand the factors that contribute to it, and provide yourself with a well rounded approach.
LOVE AND ANXIETY
It’s not all about the body though. Human beings have a deep need to feel belonging, connection, and worth. When believe that we are capable and loveable – we simply have less anxiety. The greatest human fears are to be unloveable, unworthy, and alone.
Think about the consequences of social rejection if you lived in the Serengeti circa 10,000 years ago. It would mean certain death! Human beings are social creatures, and we associate social acceptance with survival. Furthermore, babies require love, touch, and affection in order to thrive. Anxiety is a response to threat. Being alone – or being deemed unworthy, is definitely threatening!
The belief that we are unworthy is often unconscious. It can come from how were treated as children (not necessarily what we were told), and echoes out for example as feelings of low self-esteem, perfectionism, the fear of criticism, rejection of others, self-rejection, self-harm, self-sabotage, inappropriate anger. These feelings can create anxiety in specific situations, or generally across all situations.
We may also have certain beliefs about how we have to be, or what we need to accomplish in order to be loveable, or just plainly acceptable. Very often we have unreasonable expectations and rules about what would make us loveable (status, career, beauty).
Other times our expectations are very vague and we just don’t feel good enough no matter what. When we feel that we don’t measure up, anxiety activates. Rather than dealing with the root cause (healing the feelings of unworthiness or failure) we strive to make ourselves worthy and perfect, causing a great deal of anxiety in the process.
STRESS AND ANXIETY
Many people who identify as empaths, people who are diagnosed with autism, or people with physical health issues are more susceptible to the effects of toxic or chaotic environments. As a result, feelings of anxiety can be triggered, created, or sustained.
Some of us are more sensitive to our environments than others. Physiological stress can stimulate feelings of anxiety. Environmental factors like geopathic stress, electromagnetic pollution, loud music, or crowded and chaotic environments can cause physical distress due to higher sensitivity of the nervous system.
HEALING YOUR ANXIETY IS YOUR PERSONAL PROCESS
Although we are made of the same basic building blocks, we are each configured in a unique way. Our beliefs, our experiences, our emotional lives are deeply personal and individual.
Your anxiety treatment should be designed for you personally. Anxiety is the result of many factors, not the cause. Healing anxiety requires an holistic and attuned approach.
3.2 million Australians live with an anxiety-related condition. Australian Bureau of Statistics.
One third of adults reporting anxiety and mood disorders (like depression) experienced their first episode by the age of 21. (2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing).
Treatment for anxiety ranges from various kinds of psychotherapy, exercises, and pharmaceutical drugs. Rates of anxiety in Australia have gone up, from 11.2% in 2014-15 NHS to. 13.1% in 2017-2018.
HOW ANXIETY AFFECTS YOU
Anxiety is like an alarm bell that continues to shout “threat!” This is a healthy response to danger. It becomes a painful problem, when you cannot shut off the alarm.
Anxiety is the triggered “fight or flight” response of your nervous system. This is the body’s way of preparing you to deal with danger or threat.
When your fight or flight response is activated, your bloodstream is flooded with norepinephrine and cortisol. Both are hormones that boost your perception, reflexes, and speed in dangerous situations.
In fight or flight, all bodily functions, including the brain shift into survival mode. Heart rate increases, more blood is flooded to your muscles (away from the internal organs, and sometimes even a vomit response is triggered).
All well and good if you are about to wrestle a leopard, but not ideal if this is happening when you’re in a social situation, professional setting, or trying to go to sleep at night.
If you find yourself in a constant state of anxiety, or feeling episodes of anxiety or even panic attack – your survival instincts could be trapped in your nervous system.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANXIETY
If your anxiety is “just there” on most days, most of the time, and you find yourself worrying about many different things or feeling physical nervousness, you might call your experience “generalised anxiety.”
Panic attacks are a sudden onset of intense anxiety. They can be accompanied by a pounding heart, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, and even nausea. You may find that if you experience panic attacks, (they are horrible) and that fighting it makes it harder to stop a panic attack.
Other kinds of anxiety are situational. If you feel nervous around people and worry that you might be judged or humiliated for speaking up, but feel comfortable when home alone, you could have social anxiety.
WHY YOU STRUGGLE TO OVERCOME ANXIETY
Your rational mind can be perfectly aware that you are safe, and yet anxiety is still there. That’s because the trapped fight or flight response lives in your body, and is linked to your emotions.
Healing anxiety is often about more than changing the way that you think.
If you feel anxiety, “being unsafe” is stored in your emotional brain and reptilian brain.
This memory is like a “program” that runs your body on “fight or flight.” As long as that memory is active, your anxiety can be triggered in certain settings, or simply last.
Treatments such as CBT for anxiety can and do work. However if anxiety treatment with CBT hasn’t worked for you, the root cause could be deeper than just thoughts alone.
To overcome anxiety, you must heal the root causes that keep triggering it.
HOW I WORK WITH ANXIETY
My expertise encompass the neurophysiological, psychological, energetic, and interpersonal components of anxiety. This enables me to understand how your anxiety was created, and how to help you heal it.
What I have found in anxiety treatment is that bad memories, unfair expectations, emotional wounds, and conditioning, hold anxiety in place.
In a gentle and guided psychotherapeutic process, we dissolve the links that keep anxiety trapped inside of you. This unlocks your nervous system from “fight or flight,” and allows you to get on with life!
I am a graduate of a Bachelor of Psychology (2010, Canada), a Bachelor of Social Work (2015, Canada), and a Master of Social Work with specialisation in Mental Health (2016, Canada). I am a facilitator of individual healing and a practitioner of Psychotherapy and Energy Healing, specialising in the recovery of the Authentic Self.
GET THE SUPPORT YOU NEED TO BREAKTHROUGH ANXIETY
Healing anxiety is possible. When we work together, I focus on getting to the root cause. I help you to learn the techniques that discharge anxious energy in the moment, and work with you to resolve the root causes that keep anxiety in place, so that you can get on with living a comfortable, creative, and happy life.