Anxiety (GAD) Is Not All In The Mind-Treating The Root Causes Of Your Anxiety

Anxiety is not all in the mind, it also has a lot to do with the, emotional, physiological and chemical changes that are taking in place in your body.

Yes, your anxious thoughts play a part in your anxiety, but it is not all about those fearful thoughts and imaginings.

Because there is a lot more going on in your body that is also responsible for your unpleasant feelings of anxiety, and most people are unaware of what's causing them all the anxiety.

Let's start off with all those anxious and worry based thoughts, you know all those pointless what happens if thoughts and dreads, that never happen or they are never as bad as you anticipated them to be.

Although sometimes negative thinking can help to keep you guarded and aware, so you can prepare for any pitfalls.

Endless anxious thinking and worrying all the time is not very good for you or your health and quality of life.
So how do you stop your anxious thoughts?

You don't, because when you try to stop or get rid of your anxious thoughts and imaginings, you will attach the fight or flight response to those thoughts, worries and imaginings.

To make things worse, you will also be conditioning your mind to associate the things that you're worrying about or imagining going wrong with the fight or flight response, so your mind will see them as being threatening. 

If you try to stop or suppress your anxious thoughts you will be met more a strong negative resistance and strong emotional arousal.

It is not a good idea to try and stop your anxious or your worry based thoughts. Having said that, if you allow your anxious thoughts to persist, then that is bad for you.

The thing to do with anxious thoughts is nothing, because if you fight them or try and make then stop, it will stir up even more emotional arousal and stress and they will persist.

But if you leave your mind alone and you allow your mind to carry on thinking the fearful thoughts, then your mind will quickly calm down by itself, then focus on another subject.

You can try changing your thoughts to more positive ones, but you will probably find it much easier to change the way you react to the thoughts, by practicing staying calm when they creep into your mind.



Anxiety is your body being prepared to fight or run away

Anxiety is your danger early warning system becoming alert and aroused, and it is your safety mechanism and your first line of defense.

Sometimes anxiety can help to keep you guarded against things going wrong or steer you to avoid pitfalls or genuine dangers

Therefore, in some situations it may be an indication that you need to do some preparation work or make plans.

It can also mean that you may need to do some emotional work or confidence building. 

But most of the time for most people, anxiety is based on pointless worries and fears that will never happen or if they do, they will pose you no real threat.

We become anxious when we have attached the fight or flight response to certain things and situations.

You can even attach the fight or flight responses to the sensations and physical symptoms of the fear itself.

In fact, it is not the situation or thing that people have a problem with, the real problem they have which they don't like is, the actual sensations and feelings of fear.

When people first have an anxiety attack, they don't like it, so they decide they don't want to experience anxiety again so they try to deal with it or get rid of it.

But they soon find out that they cannot stop it or make it go away, and the more you try to stop it, the worse it gets.

People soon get trapped and caught up in a self perpetuating anxiety loop and cycle, which they struggle to escape from.

Something initially triggers the fear response, this could be something in your environment or something you have been dreading or worrying about.

The strong emotions that are associated with fear, activate their fight or flight response which triggers the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. 

This activates the physical stress response which is what as know as anxiety

  • Your muscles become tense 
  • Blood is pumped to your major muscle groups 
  • Your heart rate increases 
  • Your breathing becomes shallow or rapid 
  • You may feel lightheaded 
  • You may feel queasy or nauseous 
  • You may freeze and feel paralyzed
So anxiety is not all in the mind, the anxiety is your body being primed and prepared for you to fight or run away from a perceived threat or a potentially dangerous situation.

Sometimes you will get the anxiety based what if thoughts and what if that happened imagings, which will cause more fearful reactions.

But sometimes you may just get a direct fearful physical response without any fearful thoughts.

Because most people's anxiety occurs in the absence of any real danger, all that extra energy and stress hormones does not get used up.

It can take an estimated 36 hours for the stress hormones to leave your body. What this means is, if you are worrying all the time or you're feeling anxious a lot.

Then your poor body will never really have a chance to settle down and so you will stay stuck in a virtually constant state of stress and anxiety.

What this will mean is, your fight or flight response will be going off probably many times a day leaving you stuck in a high state of anxiety.



The body and anxiety

Now you know how to manage with your anxious thoughts all you have to do is focus on keeping your body calm and relaxed.

If you have been experiencing a lot of worry and anxiety, then this can cause your whole body to become out of balance and harmony.

The way to begin to reduce and overcome your anxiety is to calm the body and restore it back to its natural state of rest and balance.

We all have the fight or flight reflex built within us which is designed to only go off in a real life threatening situation.

For some individuals who suffer with anxiety find that their fight or flight reflex responses is going off way too often for little or no reason.

What happens when the fight or flight reflex gets activated is

  1. The shoulders raise up 
  2. The head protrudes forward and the back of the head gets pulled down 
  3. The neck stiffens and becomes compressed 
  4. The torso shrinks in stature
When this happens it puts you into the fight of flight posture, but once the dangers has passed the body would normally return back to a poised and open posture.

People who suffer with anxiety, get stuck in this fight or flight posture where they compress their bodies so they are virtually always in the fight or flight mode.

Because it is linked to the fight or flight response mechanism, it causes them to remain in a permanent state of fear and anxiety, when it is not necessary.

This fight or flight responses can also become habitual so you can link it to many stressful situations.

What this means is, whenever you have to face a stressful or challenging situation, your body can automatically shift into this fight or flight posture which can cause you to react with panic all the time.

The mind and body are linked and work together, this means the mind will use the body as feedback to gauge if your environment is safe.

If you are stuck in the fight or flight reflex mode, your mind will interpret that there is danger in your environment so you will have more anxious thoughts and fearful responses.

If you suffer with anxiety you need to become aware of what is happening to your body, so you can start to release and free your head, relax your shoulders and gently ease and open up your body.

Any tension in the mind and body is bad for the anxiety suffer, so it can pay you to work on getting rid of your bad tension habits and try to sit and stand with the least amount of tension.

Relax your mind, relax your body

Because of the mind and body connection, if you calm your mind, your body will follow suit and if you relax your body your mind will become calmer.

Many people stand in tense postures which causes them to have more tense related thoughts
and startled responses.

Tension in the neck or back can increase your anxiety levels. Most people either sit or stand in a tense military type of posture where they lift their chest and chin up and they pull their shoulders back.

Or they slump into a slouched, rounded and insecure, sway back type of posture. Both these types of posture's are linked to the fight or flight response mechanism.

They will also both restrict your breathing and throw your body out of balance. 

The opposite states of anxiety, stress and fear are positive and relaxed and as you can only experience one state at a time, it is better to make it your dominant intention to feel relaxed and happy.
 
Many people stand with their hips too far forwards  or too far back. Ideally you should stand evenly on your feet so your weight is evenly disributed over your shoulders, hips and ankles.

On your feet you have three weight bearing points, 

  • One in the center of your heel
  • One behind your little toe 
  • One behind your big toe
Your weight of your body should come down through your legs and ankles and then it should be evenly spread through these three points. 

Watch the video below to see our to get out of tense postures.



But it is not just the tension in your body that can increase your anxiety levels.

There are many other chemical and physical changes that take place in your body during high levels of stress and anxiety.

The other physical changes in your body include

  • The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol 
  • Increase heart rate 
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
All these physiological changes are designed to give you a sudden boost of energy and to get your body in motion to either fight or run away.

In the majority of situations with people's anxiety, there usually is not a threat or hazard, the problem being because they usually worry a lot and engage to much in their anxious thoughts they're constantly keeping themselves in a fearful and stressful state.

This causes the body to become out of balance and out of sync. The solution is to learn how to relax and prevent the onset of any anxiety and worry from gaining any momentum.

 

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