Anxiety, is a little word
but with a
Anxiety is the sensation of being on high alert, otherwise recognised as the “fight or flight response”.
This is a normal body function. When faced with a threat, the body responds via the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and shifts into gear to prepare you for action. Your body is mobilising resources to mobilise body and brain.
This normal response gives physical symptons of shortness of breath, fluttering in the stomach, racing heartbeat and sweating and emotionally you may start to feel fearful.
This sense of being ready for action was necessary in the days when we lived in caves and lived a primitive life. We often had to use our body physically and this gave an outlet for the energy build up.
Nowadays you may need to be on high alert in different situations, maybe to present a speech to a large group or a discussion with your boss if a confrontation is brewing which needs to be addressed. Then your body prepares, to sharpen your attention, so you can set about performing. This performance is an outlet for the build up of energy.
Unfortunately humans are unique in that a danger doesn’t have to be present to give us this response, we can conceptualise it. Neuroscientist Bruce McEwen says “the mind is so powerful that we can set off the [stress] response by imagining ourselves in a threatening situation”. Is it this ability that can cause people to be stuck rumminating and anticipating a stressful situation and being stuck in the stress response, leading to a state of anxiety?
We may have lost sight of where some of our body processes come from but we need to recognise them to make them work for us. Unchecked we can easily drift into symptons we know associate with anxiety.
How can we recognise our reactions, acknowledge them and make them work for us in modern life?
Sounds like action is needed!
- Recognition and understanding is the first step.
- Time out in the fresh air, dog walking, connecting with nature, or any exercise which suits your lifestyle, is a must.
- Relaxation of the mind, accompanying exercise, or in the form of meditation, mindfulness or hypnosis.
This gives you time to disconnect from your concerns and enjoy the physicality of movement and/or of emptying your mind – preferably both!!
If this is a challenge and you are finding activity difficult to incorporate into your week, sessions with a Hypnotherapist can help you to identify what you need to focus on for yourself, to promote better well-being.
The outcome is harnessing the energy of your body and mind to work with you!