What Your Body Knows About Your Anxiety Is Important
Your body knows how anxious you are, it doesn't need you to think it, analyze or re-frame it. It knows in every cell. It knows secrets you've forgotten and it knows your future. What the body knows is how we move, sense and experience the world. Having an anxiety disorder means being disconnected from that sensate awareness. As every physio, therapist or psychologist I’ve ever seen has pointed out, I’m in my head, not grounded. It’s difficult to prove the whys and hows among the overlapping worlds of mental terror and divisiveness anxiety causes, but my body knows what it wants to do.
My body knows that it desires to move, even when I'm feeling damp and foggy. My body knows that I am tired and too full of energy. It knows that I require release, that words aren't enough. I firmly believe talking is the way to go about treating anxiety, its day-by-day management is accomplished in other ways.
I listen to what my body knows.
I consider it a primary goal. If I don't listen, I’ll pay for that later. Either with a lethargic mood, or the sense that I’m stuck--which is an experience anxiety magnifies.
Anxiety. Feeling Stuck.
People feel stuck all the time. Usually it's an indication that they could be extending themselves further, perhaps into previously unexplored areas. That's certainly true if you're dealing with life + anxiety disorder but the stuck tends to get misinterpreted pretty easily. The energy gets stuck in the body, and stuck energy becomes a pretty big thing. My baseline anxiety means that I already feel
- easily irritable,
- mildly paranoid and/or
- deadened awareness,
Stuck can quickly feel like trapped. Stuck describes panic.
But back to the body. Wherein there is all this energy, this anxious pent-up stuff in search of direction. Otherwise misdirection is assured. Not fun. Best avoided. This you knew.
Exercise More Than Your Body to Manage Anxiety
Exercise. But don't just exercise. It's such a dull thing. I mean acknowledge, feel, wonder. For even a minute, find a way in. Find a way of being in your body that lets it know you hear it. That tells it you know it's telling you the truth. You're not going to deny, ignore, pound on it because it isn't behaving better, as it 'should', as would be more comfortable. Comfort comes after you listen, hear, and respond appropriately. Sometimes.
When I say 'respond appropriately', I'm thinking baby steps. A lot of anxiety can involve the body, directly or indirectly, causally, or as a result of social pressure, disability or the accumulation of baggage since childhood. Few of us miss out on that, unfortunately. Makes the listening to your body more important.
Photo Credit: Girl Sitting With Back To You
White, K. (2011, September 25). What Your Body Knows About Your Anxiety Is Important, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, March 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2011/09/treating-anxiety-what-the-body-knows
Author: Kate White
Great post! I love how you said:
"Stuck becomes a pretty big thing when it happens because the baseline anxiety already means feeling frustrated, being easily irritable, viewing life through a lens of mild paranoia and/or deadened awareness, because stuck can quickly feel like trapped. Panic, by any other name."
So so true. My therapist has explained to me that I already live at the high end of anxiety and any more than that becomes unbearable which is one of the reasons that I am the way I am. For instance, I am not naturally assertive, I have a hard time saying no and I let people bully me. I'm working hard to change all that now but it helps me to understand why it has been happening my whole life-- it makes me more forgiving of myself for "letting these things happen" and feeling powerless to do anything about it. I simply couldn't bear those anxious feelings that accompany those things that I am not a natural at-- like saying no.
Excellent post. I really like the steps required to deal with anxiety. As we know anxiety and depression are well known risk factors to heart disease but the problem unlike other risk factors is that it is very hard to measure. When I worked at the Cardiac Wellness Institute of Calgary they adopted the HADS questionnaire, which is a tool that we use in our private cardiac rehabilitation clinic at the Heart Fit Clinic.
Adopting healthy lifestyle choices are always a good tip to reverse and prevent heart disease.
I really liked this post. For so many of us with mood disorders, getting stuck in a mood involves getting stuck in our heads - and losing that essential connection with the physical self. - When I am locked down, especially in depression, I find that physical activity - even a walk in the part - helps to integrate the different elements and bridge the mind/body divide.
Wow...you put what I feel into words. That's incredibly helpful. And yes, feeling stuck can sometimes translate into feeling trapped. This is probably why my anxiety intensified after having kids. I love my children, of course. If I think about my life without them, I feel despair. But it makes it harder to take care of myself and my own needs.
Allistair said it well too. Taking a walk in nature. I took a trip with my family a few weeks back to a national park. We did a 2 hour hike through the park, just enjoying the air, the scenery, and the natural, untouched wonder of it all. It was a magnificent and uplifting thing that I wish I could hold on to even when I'm not there.
Hi Alistair and Always Sick Chick,
Thank you both.
What you said makes a lot of sense. If only love really did conquer all! Which is not to make that love or the wonder we sometimes feel any less, it just doesn't solve everything. And yes, getting physically engaged is one of the few things that 99.9% helps me too. Dissipates some of the tension and integrates (nice word) mind/body, as you said, Alistair.
Close functional connection among body and mind put down a step forward in successful treatment of anxiety disorder as well as other psychiatric disorder. The result of this intercommunication in psychiatric practice is psycho-somatic medicine that summarizes whole acquaintance on body and psychic disturbances in their innate involvement. The same is in accordance with Your opinion on recognition of anxiety from our body. Indeed every psychic trouble , besides other disorders causes more functional disarray of organic systems in our body, that are visible and susceptible from anyone. Hence, we become aware to our anxiety, that is first step in treatment of this common and outstanding psychiatric entity. Furthermore, the successful management of these body difficulties enhances our preliminary emotional and psychological suffers. Shortly this is the psycho-dynamic of treatment to anxiety disorders.