Anxiety and returning to 'normal' following Covid
Over the last two years, anxiety levels have shot through the roof; people who were anxious before are experiencing higher levels, and even those that have never experienced it are now getting anxious about returning to work and the new normal following the lifting of restrictions. But what is it and why do we get it?
What is anxiety and how do we conquer it?
Anxiety is completely normal and actually an essential part of human survival. If we think about human survival and many many years ago before civilisation as we know it now, anxiety, or adrenaline, was vital for our survival. We needed to eat, stay warm and warn off predators. If any of those things were threatened then our built-in fight or flight system would activate to flood our bodies with adrenaline to enable us to flee from danger or to fight.
When this system is activated, our body's sympathetic nervous system releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into our bodies, which speed up our heart rate, slow down our digestive system and flood our major muscles with blood flow to boost our energy and strength. This results in a racing heart rate, the need to empty our bowels or to need a wee, light-headed feelings, rapid breathing, sweating, tunnel vision and shaking.
Now, if we are in real danger, this system is fantastic. All humans and animals have it, so an animal about to get attacked by a predator can fight for survival, not feeling the pain at the time, not feeling hunger or tiredness so they can survive. If you look back at those bodily responses, you will recognise most (if not all) of them when you are anxious or having a panic attack.
Unfortunately, our brains haven't evolved quite as quickly as our environments, so now, when our body senses danger, our innate bodily system reacts just as it did all those years ago, only now the danger isn't actually life-threatening. For example, if you see a spider, it isn't actually going to harm you (unless you're in Australia!) but our bodies don't know that and we can misinterpret the situation, sending our bodies into fight or flight. In fact, our minds are so powerful, we can start this physical reaction off just by thinking about something that scares us! How amazing is that?
So, how do we stop it? How do we retrain our brains to control this reaction?
In hypnotherapy, I can show you techniques to use to control these reactions. We don't want to get rid of anxiety altogether because when we need it, like doing a public speech, or needing to react when there really is a danger, we want it to work. However, we can stop it when it is firing up unnecessarily.
Anxiety has been an issue for me since my teens, I still don't know exactly what triggered it but I know I get claustrophobic in planes and in car traffic jams, but what I can now do is to control it with my mind, with my breathing and with all the techniques I would love to share with you. Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more.