What is adrenaline anxiety?
Adrenaline is one of many hormones that flood your body when you experience anxiety. We all notice different things about adrenaline when it travels through the body. You might feel the flutter of butterflies in your tummy. Perhaps you notice your pounding heart. Adrenaline anxiety is the same as any other anxiety because adrenaline is one of the main components of the fear response in your body.
Adrenaline and anxiety
When your brain perceives something as dangerous it responds with a reaction that we call the fight or flight response. Your primitive brain does not have the rationale of your human thinking brain. Therefore, it does not know whether something in our modern world that scares or intimidates you is a threat to your life or your ego. It responds quickly in both situations to save your life.
This response is fast and powerful. The first step is a blast of adrenaline that increases blood pressure and speeds up your heartbeat. The purpose of this is to help the blood travel to your core. Your lungs will take in more oxygen as the air passages expand, and everything looks brighter as your pupils expand and your eyes take in more light. Your metabolism will change, and blood will move to your lungs, giving you a rush of energy. This is what you think of as 'adrenaline rush anxiety'.
Constant adrenaline anxiety
The fight or flight response is meant to be a quick and fast-acting response. The intention is to increase your ability to fight or run and increase the speed that you react so that you stay alive. The design is such that once you have fled to safety or fought away the danger your body returns to a stable state. This should all happen within minutes.
When your brain perceives something in your everyday life as a threat to your life you will remain in a permanent state of fight or flight. Your body does not function well with a constant flow of adrenaline. Medics use synthetic adrenaline to stimulate the heart in cardiac arrest, constrict veins in shock and help asthma. Adrenaline has a strong effect on the body and when you are in a constant state of anxiety your body will suffer as well as your mind.
How to reduce adrenaline anxiety
When your body goes into the fight or flight response your chest muscles (and all other muscles) tighten. This makes breathing into your chest feel harder and often causes further panic as you feel like you cannot breathe. When you breathe into your abdomen it feels easier again. You can practise this by placing your hand on your belly button and making sure it rises as you breathe in and falls as you breathe out.
Your autonomic (involuntary) nervous system regulates your bodily functions and your fight or flight response. When you are in stable state two parts, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work closely together so you function optimally.
When you inhale you stimulate your sympathetic nervous system, this causes an increase in your heart rate. When you exhale you stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system. This decreases your heart rate. When your body is in a stable state your body maintains a steady heartbeat through the alternate stimulation of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
When your body flicks into the fight or flight response unnecessarily you feel panicked as you notice the beat of your heart and breathing difficulties. If you ensure a long exhale of breath with each breathing cycle you stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and bring your heart rate down to a more comfortable pace.
Many people believe that disconnection causes trauma, disconnection with the self and disconnection with others. When you use meditation regularly you reconnect with yourself. When you reconnect with yourself, you will find it easier to connect with others.
Meditation brings the body into a calm state. The more you practise, the better you get. You will soon find yourself able to bring your mind and body into a meditative state of calm whenever you need. Should you find yourself feeling anxious, a short meditation will help bring you back into a calm functioning state.
Hypnosis and meditation are the same states of mind. Generally, we use hypnosis with a goal in mind. While we use meditation to reconnect with the body and give time to attunement, with the self and the natural world.
Booking a couple of sessions with a hypnotherapist will help you to understand and achieve the same state of mind. And then the next time you feel that anxiety adrenaline, you will have the tools to allow the response to subside as quickly as it naturally should. In addition, you will get support and guidance with any specific problems you may have.
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