Taking Control Of AnxietyHeidi Hadley
We may currently or have previously suffered with anxiety. Maybe we know somebody close to us who suffers with anxiety. Anxiety is very common and has been reported as the most common mental health disorder with approximately 1 in 13 (7.3%) of the world’s population suffering with anxiety. Thankfully nowadays people are becoming more enlightened and talking openly about mental health disorders/illnesses. With high profile individuals such as Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge highlighting mental health with their charity “Heads together”, people realise anxiety can affect any age, gender and socio-economic status.
Today’s blog will discuss what we can do to take control of anxiety.
With the demands of modern life, living with mobile devices can be a double edged sword. They are useful for certain tasks and activities but they are with people most of the day; so an individual may feel they can never get away from phone calls, emails and text messages. This leads to people feeling that they juggling too many balls in the air or as one person once said to me, “they are trying to hold too many beach balls down under water....they won’t succeed.” Added to this “busyness” activity, people will often bounce from one thought, to one emotion and then to an activity. Then they will bounce again in a different thought process, emotion and action. People then become hooked on the adrenaline surge they receive from racing from one activity, emotion or thought to another. They may feel that the busier they are, the more productive they become.
A very interesting interview was conducted with the writer Brigid Schulte. Brigid has written the book “Overwhelmed: work, love and play when no one has the time.” In the interview with The Atlantic magazine she mentioned that one of the reasons for the increased rate of people feel overwhelmed and anxious, is their need to be overly busy. She said that people create busyness in order to conform with this social ideal that we aren’t worthy unless we are busy.
People are feeling burntout, anxious, overwhelmed and chronic stress from the trend to be “busy.” Society places a lot of pressure on people to perform 24/7 and maintain strength and resilience as they take on more workload and responsibilities. It is expected that people take work home to complete in the evenings and weekends. Businesses no longer have a duty of care to their employees. A fear builds up with the employee, knowing there are many others wanting their job and would take their role if they don’t perform to their very best.
Sadly nowadays, many feel that to be seen to be worthy of our perceived status or roles, we allow ourselves to be driven to exhaustion and accept that this may which lead to mental health problems.
In the field of Somatics, we look at mindset and belief systems. We see from neuroscience, that what we think about and believe grows. If this is a negative belief about oneself, we create a self fulfilling prophecy. But we can shift our mindset and belief system and change how we view ourselves. We can develop skills to increase our self worth and esteem. In the “busyness” trap, people often neglect their own health and wellbeing. This can lead us back to our subconscious/unconscious self belief that we are not good enough in the eyes of important individuals. They feel that more work/income will make them seem worthier. A feeling of being powerless can also create feelings of anxiety.
What can YOU do to control anxiety?
If you find your anxiety is becoming very debilitating, please consult a health care practitioner for specific guidance. A clinical psychologist is also a great avenue because they can provide coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) has had decades of use and regarded highly in the treatment of anxiety. Studies have shown how it surpasses pharmaceuticals such as Prozac for long term relief from anxiety.
You can also look at triggers and see what and how you can change its influence. Maybe distance yourself from thoughts, feeling, emotions and circumstances that can make you feel overwhelmed. Associate with upbuilding positive people, avoid individuals who gossip and fault find, these type of friendships are toxic and will drag a person down. Listen to upbeat, inspirational music.
Try to get out in to nature and practice mindfulness in this setting. Smell the aromas, listen to the birds, watch the trees swaying in the wind and enjoy the sunsets. A good brisk walk and mindful attention to nature helps greatly with the reduction of anxiety. When we are involved in these types of activities, we become distracted by other stimuli and engaged. This releases neurotransmitters to relax the brain. This healthy option to unwind and relax helps to reduce overwhelming, debilitating thoughts and feelings. It helps us see the world in a broader perspective and appreciate the things in life that we can become “blinkered” to when we are literally “chasing our tail” with “busyness.”
Take time out for YOU. This may include a regular massage. Massage is excellent for slowing down the central nervous system and allowing time for the body to rest and digest. I often see a huge difference in a person’s eyes before and after a massage. They look so refreshed and relaxed.
When I perform an Indian Head Massage on clients, I can see their body relax before my very eyes! It is amazing how much tension we hold in our face and scalp, and yet when a client is massaged, their entire body melts and relaxes in to the massage couch.
I enjoy regular massages but I also enjoy monthly facials to relax. This time is ideal for me to unwind and have micro sleep. Similar to massage, facials are excellent for skin care plus other multiple benefits but also mental health. My beauty therapist creates a relaxing ambience to unwind from a very busy world.
There are other ways to reduce anxiety. We can use awareness enhancing approaches such as meditation, self compassion, breathing techniques and mindfulness with Total Somatics. Mindfulness with Total Somatics educates people with skills to relax their mind and body so that the brain can work more efficiently and effectively. When we are stressed and anxious, we allow stress centres of our brain to become dominant and this manifests itself in our SOMA (whole body). This may appear as irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, muscular tightness, shallow breathing and hyperventilation. When we develop mindfulness with Total Somatics, we change the way the brain has been operating for years; in a subconscious/unconscious, reactive manner. Alongside mindfulness techniques, we also learn the powerful changes Somatics plays in reducing muscle tension and tightness which leads to people living in a very tight body. Their movements and breathing become so limited that it is as if the person is wearing a corset.
Somatics helps to release these long held muscle contractions. When people are anxious or suffering with trauma, they often find it hard to “sense” or “feel” sensations in their body. In order for people to gain control over their anxiety, they must treat the SOMA. The word SOMA comes from the Greek word meaning “the whole person or being.” The SOMA includes our emotional, physical and mental health - the one area of health will affect the other areas. Total Somatics treats the whole person. We are increasing our own Somatic awareness.
To learn how to take control of anxiety with mindfulness and movements which break habitually tight muscles, visit www.TotalSomatics.com. There are online programs which can be performed in the comfort of your own home, at a time that suits you.
Total Somatics’ aim is to educate as many people as possible worldwide with these life skills so they can take control of their health, reduce pain, move freely and gain an improved standard of wellbeing.
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See you online.
Heidi Hadley xx