Worries and concerns are a permanent part of life’s tapestry
…. but when they refuse to lessen and go away and insidiously become part of daily life, they affect our entire BodyMind and unbalance us. We become uncertain of outcomes -constantly anxious and lose touch with our sense of identity.
There are many forms of anxiety.
Persistent and excessive anxiety and worries about activities or events —even ordinary, routine issues, where worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, difficult to control and affects how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. It often occurs when a person is depressed.
Panic disorders involving repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety, fear or terror reaching a peak within minutes that characterise panic attacks. Feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or heart palpitations. Disorders of this kind may lead to worrying about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they have occurred.
Social anxiety disorders (social phobias) involving high levels of anxiety, fear, and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.
Separation anxiety -usually associated with children, has become much more widespread due to restrictions on meetings and movements during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some physical and mental health conditions give symptoms of intense anxiety or panic. Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) can take a number of forms; fear of contamination -physical and/or mental, fear of harm and taboo thoughts, symmetry obsessions -the need for things to be perfect, exact, or ‘just right’.
And of course, there are other types, such as Agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed. Selective mutism, a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. Substance-induced anxiety disorders are characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are a direct result of misusing drugs, some medications side effects, and being exposed to a toxic substance or experiencing withdrawal from drugs.
Common anxiety signs and symptoms
include: Feeling nervous, restless or tense, having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom, increased heart rate, breathing rapidly (hyperventilation), sweating, trembling, feeling weak or tired, difficulty concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry, trouble sleeping, experiencing gastrointestinal problems, inability to control worrisome thoughts, having difficulty controlling worries.
What all anxiety states have in common -is the frequency and complexity of the phenomenon. It’s constant, difficult or impossible to self-assess cause and solution.
To fix the problem you need to slow down and simplify your lifestyle and maintain outward awareness of the environment you occupy. Meditation and mindfulness can be a healing process for some -but not all, because they cannot make the shift in consciousness to switch from busy to idle. Hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an approach favoured by people whose anxieties have reached fever pitch and need someone to interact with to begin the healing process.
Because extended lockdowns during the pandemic have given cause for anxieties to develop, a cost-free approach I recommend too slow down and simplify is as follows:
- Begin your day with a walk before you eat anything. By all means have a non-stimulating drink if you feel the need of one but don’t eat. Reason is because any amount of eating has a comforting effect and gives you a sense of security. Anxieties will latch onto feelings of comfort and security and maintain their presence. Walk for the sake of walking -it shouldn’t have a destination purpose. Maintain an outward physical awareness of your immediate space projecting forward a couple of body shapes. If you find anxieties come flooding back into your mind, reassert your conscious focus. 15-30 minutes walking like this will slow the mental subconscious inputs into consciousness.
- Do one thing at a time. If you are eating -eat for its own sake. Don’t switch on the TV or listen to the radio, because both of these actions will stimulate the subconscious into activity and stimulate anxiety feelings in the background of your mind. Task-wise apply yourself to one task at a time. Complete the task or shut it down if it can’t be completed. The next task is what the mind suggests, or it maybe what you have already defined as a necessary next task, however if it is a task you associate with anxiousness -dismiss it. Instead do something completely different.
- If you find worries, concerns, or repetitive thoughts breaking into the pattern of tasking, despite your best efforts, you need to change the atmosphere -that means get out of the place you have been spending time in. Ideally that is going outdoors. Environments we frequently occupy for any length of time become saturated with our thoughts and emotional energies and playback to a worrisome mind.
- Lastly, as and when you get positive guiding thoughts, for example, you might say to yourself ‘what I need is a good laugh’, or you might read something that strikes a positive chord -an affirmation like; ‘my body, mind, and spirit function harmoniously’. Write the words down on a postage sticker and put it somewhere in plain sight -don’t try to remember it. As you practise looking outward these messages will come into sight every now and again. Whatever you do, don’t try to remember the sayings -your anxious mind will dispute them.
The poem I’ve written for this week is a celebration of the natural Self.
The Rite of Spring
In secret place I dance the mystic rites of Spring
forswear the binding that illusions bring;
slough the old skin and dissolve the marriage ring.
Here where no man-made thing may live
I touch the earth, seek my darkly distant self,
press my body to the boles of mighty oaks
until I hear their drumbeat in my head.
Then dance again until the trees are fiery red,
the sun is risen gold and my fears have fled.