Now there’s a question, there are a few ways to respond to this so I’m going to break it down into bitesize chunks.
1: Is this a new feeling?
Sometimes things( anxiety and how we store it) build up over time and when things feel ok in your life anxiety can still rear its head, its one of those situations where you think, “well I shouldn’t be feeling like this”, or “I’ve got nothing to be anxious about” or “why is this happening to me now?”
Please be assured this is perfectly normal, everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, it’s part of who we are and how we are programmed.
2: Have you always been an anxious person?
Anxiety can strike at any age, my experience tells me that sadly, its happening earlier and earlier for people, so if you have always been an anxious person or you are a young person trying to cope with anxiety I might have some pearls of wisdom to help you understand why.
Please be assured this is also perfectly normal.
3: Is there something going on right now that has caused you to feel anxious?
Sometimes certain events in our life can spike anxiety, a new job, a new relationship, financial worries you get the idea, whatever it is you still experience the same feelings as the two categories above.
Yep you guessed it, this too is perfectly normal!
So what does anxiety feel like?
It feels pretty harsh to be fair, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, stomach doing a little dance, breathing off the scale and an overwhelming sense of needing to run away and hide. Oooh and don’t forget the voice in your head telling you to get the hell out of there too!
So why does this happen?
It all stems from a part of the brain that I like to call the primitive brain, this is the only part of the brain we had when we were cavemen, its one and only purpose is to keep us safe, it’s the part of the brain that reacts when something falls out of a cupboard and you catch it without thinking.
Its super speedy and super-efficient at keeping us safe and alive.
When we were cavemen we loved this, it would notice a threat, tiger, bear, or even polar bear and give us the adrenalin we needed to A- run away or B- try and fight it, the other option is freeze, not great when a bear is advancing!
I’m sure you will have heard of Flight, Fight, Freeze, this is where the saying originates. So when our primitive brain recognises a threat it gives us adrenalin, adrenalin gives us increased heart rate, sweaty palms and increases our breathing.
Adrenalin = Anxiety feelings or excitement depending on the situation.
Now I know what you are going to say, I’m not a caveman, my brain has evolved and I have a logical thinking part of my brain as a 2021 human, (PLUS there aren’t any bears or tigers roaming the streets!)
Yes you do have a logical evolved brain and the threats certainly aren’t polar bears or bears.
In times of stress our primitive brain is the one in charge.
Yep I get that with a new job, new relationship etc but what about when things aren’t obviously stressful?
Ahh now this is where it gets interesting, over time all the little stressors in our life go into what we call a stress bucket, it fills up, we process it, then it goes down. We process it mainly when we sleep so when we wake up our bucket is nearly empty or empty, ready for the next lot of stressors that come our way. The stressors aren’t wild animals but they are, bank statements, job pressures or someone cutting you up in the car, all these things are modern day threats.
The bucket can fill slowly over years and years or very quickly and if we don’t empty it properly we continue to carry a full bucket, the feelings of anxiety we experience for no real reason (answering the phone, or walking into a new place) generally mean that our stress bucket is at its limit or has overflowed.
People who have always been anxious have just had a full bucket for as long as they can remember.
FULL BUCKET = FEELINGS OF ANXIETY.
The other really annoying thing is that once our bucket is full we tend to live in our primitive negative mind which only increases the bucket.
When you are anxious or carrying anxiety, our sleep tends to be disturbed which means our bucket cant empty properly. A good nights sleep will definitely start the process of emptying the bucket, we also have to try and think in a different way, negative thinking adds to our bucket, but thinking positively is hard when you are in your primitive brain.
Can you see the vicious circle this creates?
So what can we do to reduce our stress bucket?
Sleep – give ourselves the best chance of a good nights sleep, rest when we need to.
Look after ourselves – eat, exercise and stimulate our minds.
Think positively – start small and build.
And here’s the really hard one – start facing some of the things that make us anxious.
If this feels like a mountain that is too high to tackle alone then please use my contact form to book a focus call with me to see how we can work together to reduce your anxiety.
People don’t automatically connect Solution Focused Hypnotherapy with reducing anxiety BUT the results speak for themselves.
I hope you found the article useful,please let me know if you did.