Anxiety is a natural emotion, we all experience this emotion the circumstances will be individual. We feel it in our body, it is produced in our stomach region, it is bubbles of energy (as all emotions are) that demands our attention. Anxiety has an agitating quality supporting the body to call out for us to be aware of something potentially or immediately dangerous. It is natural and human to produce anxiety, circumstances can be meeting new people, giving a presentation, giving tough news to somebody, dealing with somebody who is aggressive or distressed, feeling out of control, inferior, trapped, disconnected and/or lonely. There are many more circumstances that lead to people producing anxiety.
The internal steps that proceed the body producing anxiety begin in the mind, we produce a thought/s (maybe observable or out of conscious) and the underlying message of these thoughts is ‘be fearful’. This mind message, in turn, invites the body to respond by producing anxiety. A level of anxiety can be useful depending on what we do with our emotions and our relationship with them. To believe anxiety is ‘all in our minds’ is incorrect, we are holistic, complex creatures and development come when we understand the elements that make up our private logic and lifestyle.
When we produce a strong level of anxiety this leads to the production of adrenalin/cortisol the chemical state we need to fight, freeze or fly. Adrenalin is the ‘action’ chemical, cortisol the healing chemical to take care of any physical wounds after our action. When adrenalin is produced the body temporarily shuts of energetic feeding of some areas in the brain, the bowels and other temporarily ‘unnecessary’ functions, so we can become supercharged and our awareness is acute to enable us to fight, freeze or fly. Cortisol the healing chemical that clots our blood to take care of any physical wounds after our action.
Adrenalin is the most powerful natural chemical there is. More powerful than cocaine or amphetamines and can be just as addictive. Many people report that they enjoy the ‘rush’ of adrenaline, that is why people engage in extreme sports or behaviours. Like many drugs, adrenalin can be useful and/or enjoyable when ‘used’ or produced occasionally.
There are a few circumstances that will automatically create anxiety: fire, heights, drowning, physical danger and aggression (witnessing or smelling aggression). Because anxiety is produced automatically in these situations we generally have no thoughts that proceed our physical reaction to producing anxiety. Our highly intelligent holistic system protects us, anxiety and adrenalin make us sharper (senses, attention to detail) fuels us with energy so we can immediately shift our state which may save ours or another’s life.
When there is an excessive or consistent production of anxiety there will be an excessive or consistent production of adrenalin and cortisol. This concoction is often labelled as stress. Stress is an umbrella term which requires teasing out to understand what exactly is producing the excessive emotions and the natural chemical reaction that follows. This is the first step of prevention. When an individual has developed (consciously and/or unconsciously) patterns in the mind and body which means they are consistently agitated, these patterns need to be understood and respected, only then can we develop a mindset and emotional management that deescalate these patterns and enable the individual to live more comfortably in their skin, with others and the realities of life.
Understanding our natural anxiety, being respectful and tolerant, and developing emotional resilience is part of our development journey. Any internal process that we stand against, taking the position of battle will either increase the original patterns or create new ones that have the same consequences, on top of the original private logic that creates the excessive production of anxiety we are fighting ourselves and creating an internal culture of discord, distress and agitation.
When you work with 360 ARW we will identify and clarify your individual processes, understand them clearly and develop new internal styles which enable us to connect our head and heart (wise) mind. Internal habits are combined with behaviour that supports living in a grounded, assertive manner with the flexibility to be calm, energised, fully focused and reflective as appropriate. Our natural anxiety is valuable information, like all emotions ebbs and flows each day within us, we do not require the production of excessive anxiety unless our actual physical survival is in constant danger.
There are many labels excessive anxiety production is given ie: GAD, OCD, Social Anxiety, PTSD, Phobias, Low self-esteem, Shyness, UMS, Depression, etc. At 360ARW we work with your elements under these labels to ensure your wellbeing is developed in a healthy, sustainable way. Of course, there is a spectrum to the depth and breadth of wellbeing issues, some individuals have other complicated factors to understand, respect and work with, however, whatever the presenting issues are when anxiety is worked with using humanistic, compassionate, grounded and realistic approaches wellbeing improves.
Medication is something we ‘do or take’ in an attempt to change how we feel, sustain a feeling we want to hold on, suppress how we feel or dissociate from present-day reality. Medication comes in many forms, alcohol, nicotine, food, stimulants, illegal drugs, excessive behaviours, delusion, the blame of others, etc) these behaviours can all act as forms of medication.
Medication that is prescribed by a GP or another qualified prescriber can be useful for some individuals whilst engaging in a course of personal development so that the underlying elements that create anxiety (and other wellbeing issues) are identified, understood and developed.
In a small proportion of cases, some may benefit from medium or long-term medication use as well as ongoing therapy/coaching. It is essential to have frequent reviews with your GP/Qualified medication prescriber and ideally for there to be a connection between your therapist/coach, medical practitioner and yourself so that all parties are working together to ensure all interventions are supporting and improving your wellbeing. Teams that work in collaboration generally get better results, however, this is not the wish of all clients and at 360ARW we will work with you in isolation from your other practitioners as long as we believe you to be safe.
Author Camilla Ghazala October 2017.
All rights reserved.
To hear more about this topic watch this Aaron Beck clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er6TUdW5XLk