I am feeling excited about our first read-along and webinar on Tuesday 19th of March. We will be taking each chapter of ‘Release Your Worries’ and answering questions and ADDING MORE! Each time I write a book, by the time it is published, there is more to add! The webinars are an opportunity for you to hear from me, and me to hear from you – via questions. What else do you want to know about in relation to stress or anxiety?
The first chapter begins with a quote from Henry Thoreau (1817-62), “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” Life is all about understanding ourselves, and having a greater understanding of anxiety helps us deal with it. The trap with anxiety is fearing it! This sets up a viscous cycle of fear leading to fear.
There are so many stresses now – just reading the paper can be stressful! But we are designed to have stress for survival, and we can manage it. It is important to understand what is happening in your body when anxiety comes, so that the physical signs don’t frighten you. They don’t feel good, but will not do you any harm.
I have recently seen several people with a frightening symptom – a sense of dissociation. This might involve feeling separate from the body or oneself, often described as not feeling real or connected, or looking at yourself or others differently. I have also seen many students affected by anxiety related to exams, causing them to be unable to think clearly or to recall information due to anxiety.
Dissociation arises from the physiological changes in the body occurring in anxiety. The heart beats faster to pump blood to the muscles to ‘run or fight,’ in preference to blood going to the brain or gut. I have never thought this was a useful mechanism, as it can prevent us from being able to think and to perceive things correctly!
We also breathe faster, and this means we get more oxygen, but breathe off too much carbon dioxide. The low carbon dioxide also affects brain function, by making the blood more alkaline. This also contributes to our perception of ourselves and the world.
So breathing effectively and relaxing become essential. The breathing exercises in ‘Relax Your Worries’ and on the CD are really useful. We might be disinclined to use them because they seem so SIMPLE, but they are so important.
Mindfulness, or paying attention on purpose in the present moment, is really helpful too. You might focus on the breath and the feeling of air moving in and out, or you might focus on three things around you that you can see, and in turn, hear and touch. There are phone apps now for mindfulness, so check them out. I will be talking more about these at the webinar, and also sharing a brief meditatation.
Remember too that having anxiety does not mean that you are “going to go crazy.” This is one of the troublesome myths about anxiety. Anxiety is anxiety, and you can work on managing it. Please send us any questions via the website or email. If you don’t have a copy of ‘Release Your Worries’, they are available on this website via the SHOP or at the practices.
I love talking with people, and I look forward to talking with you about stress and anxiety in the webinars.