When you are experiencing anxiety it can feel like a heaviness surrounding you, as if you are stuck inside your head and can’t get out. Your thoughts are spinning and swirling; most of which are concerns over things that haven’t happened yet and probably never will happen. Knowing this doesn’t do anything to help you STOP the feelings though. We all have different triggers for experiencing anxiety. What triggers one person, will not trigger another.
There are a few contributing factors that can be generalized across the board for everyone that experiences anxiety.
These factors can be causes for some and for others they are factors keeping you stuck in the experience. The one thing that must be mentioned first, is that…
Anxiety sufferers are typically highly intelligent, sensitive people.
Being this type of person comes with many positive traits, like also being highly perceptive, extremely creative, and incredibly caring but like anything when these traits are not effectively nurtured they can feel like burdens. Learning to respect the needs of your body, mind, and spirit is the key to managing your anxiety and enhancing your gifts. When you don’t know how to respect the needs of your body, mind, and spirit, (or you don’t even know what these needs may be) you will find other ways to “get by” in life. This will keep you stuck in the anxiety and unable to embrace your gifts.
My Top 6 contributing factors keeping you stuck in anxiety:
Not knowing what you need to feel safe
Anxiety arises when, in one way or another, your feelings of safety are threatened. Sometimes, deep down you don’t even know what “safety” feels like. If you grew up in a home where you had to constantly try to anticipate what was going to happen next so that you could respond accordingly than you will have a hard time knowing what safe feels like.
Over-consuming caffeine, sugar, or other stimulating foods
This is a tricky one because you can get caught in a cycle of exhaustion and poor digestion feeding cravings for these foods. When you are exhausted and/or your digestion is out of whack you crave the things that will give you quick energy and a flood of good feelings. This cycle can make it hard to cut them back; because they are giving you something that you are lacking…LOVE and nutrients! The caffeine and sugar are filling a need. To really get away from this pattern you have to get in touch with what you really need and then address how to get that in a healthier way.
Not getting enough of the nutrients to support a healthy stress response
When our diet is lacking in the nutrients that will nourish our nervous system it causes us to be even more susceptible to anxiety. It is similar to exercising a muscle to keep it strong…if you never exercise a muscle it will get weak. Feeding the right nutrients to our nervous system fortifies it just like exercising a muscle. This keeps our nervous system strong and less susceptible to the effects of strong negative feelings.
Not exercising or moving your body regularly
Anxiety is a state where you feel overwhelmed and stuck in the worries or feelings you are experiencing. Physical movement gives you a way to free up that entrapment. It is easy to get overtaken by those strong negative feelings. This leaves you feeling disconnected and forgetting to be IN your body…exercise brings us back to a connection with our body helping to diffuse those strong feelings. When you exercise regularly it helps relieve that tension, increase the good feelings, and grounds you in the present.
Struggling to manage your stress
When you don’t have tools for de-stressing, relaxing and bringing your awareness back to the present, you can easily become overloaded. When you are overloaded you are more susceptible to experiencing anxiety. To add insult to injury when you don’t have an “escape” from the overload and/or the anxiety, your desire to turn to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, TV, or social media increases. These tactics manage to distract you for a while but will lead to other problems because they don’t nurture you back to health.
Not getting enough quality rest/down time
Remember where I said people that experience anxiety are incredibly caring…this can often translate into having a hard time saying no, attempting to please everyone, extending yourself beyond your limits, and never being able to ask for what you really need. This can also translate into never being able to FULLY relax even when you are taking down time. Either way you are pushing yourself beyond what you can do.
Learning to enhance the gifts you have been given is the key to turning around your experience of anxiety.
You will no longer need to suffer with it because you are able to use it as a tool for healthy self-regulation. It doesn’t have to be a detriment to who you are. If you need support learning how to do this, now is the time to take that first step in giving yourself the permission to ask for it. You are worth it and you deserve it as much as anyone. Contact me now to learn more about how I can help you.
Dr. Kim Gowetor
Naturopath Sherwood Park
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