What is Anxiety anyways?

That nagging feeling that the other shoe is about to fall, the catastrophic thought that the plane might crash, a restlessness that keeps you up at night from a brain that won’t turn off…. all of these are symptoms of anxiety. I’ve felt these symptoms more then I’d like to admit. Learning where the root of my anxiety comes from has been a spiritual journey that has fed my soul. As I started to open up more about this with others I’ve learned that so many people struggle with anxiety. Actually 30% off adults suffer from anxiety, the majority being women.

What is anxiety anyways?

Let’s talk about it. There are 6 different types of anxiety disorder… I have them all listed out below:

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Panic Disorder

Phobias, Specific Phobia

Agoraphobia

Social Anxiety Disorder (previously called social phobia)

Separation Anxiety Disorder

So now that you’ve read all those lovely diagnosis think about the one that resonates with you the most….side note at least 3 hit home for me so stop judging yourself right now girl!

Let’s talk about what anxiety looks like in the body:

You can’t talk about anxiety in your body without talking about the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.

The sympathetic nervous system activates what is often termed the fight or flight response. It serves a purpose when you’re in real inherent danger like a tiger chasing you or when your child runs into the street. However, the sympathetic nervous system or “fight or flight” response keeps us alive. When your sympathetic nervous system is turned on the body will shunt blood away from the digestive system to other muscle groups in case you have to fight or run which increases your senses and heart rate.

The parasympathetic system could also be called “rest and digest”. This is the nervous system that we were made to live the majority of our lives in. The parasympathetic system conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.

Can you visualize yourself moving from parasympathetic system to the sympathetic system when anxiety is triggered in your body? Ask yourself what that looks like for you and what sorts of things trigger that “fight or flight” response in you. Triggers can be many things and are different for each person so the more awareness you have regarding your triggers the better you will be in utilizing coping mechanism. A coping mechanism is just a fancy term for anything that helps you calm down in a healthy way. Many people numb negative emotions and thoughts with unhealthy behavior or substances that only perpetuate anxiety. The best way to look at your anxiety and triggers is the dive into it. If you’re not in a stable place I highly suggest finding a therapist to work through these issues. Psychologytoday.com has a great therapist finder.

What can you do with our anxiety and start feeling better today?

Breathwork: Taking deep breaths from your diaphragm will help to lower cortisol and help to re-wire neural pathways. Click here for a video on breathwork.

Balance your blood sugar

Decrease your caffeine intake

Meditate

Journal

Get outside and soak in some Vitamin D

Exercise

Talk to a friend

 

Resources:

Headspace Meditation App

Follow the Holistic Psychologist for more anxiety and diet info as well as her free “Future Self Journaling”.

Therapy Check out Psychologytoday.com to find a therapist in your area.

My Anxiety 911 Discover Your Anxiety Tiggers PDF

These Robcast episodes on Anxiety: Episode 226 and 227

 

I hope this encourages you that you are not alone and there’s so much you can do to start healing today.

What is Anxiety anyways?

With love and gratitude,

Chrissy

 

 

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