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Anxiety

"It hits me out of nowhere and I can't stop feeling anxious"

"I had to leave the party early, I just didn't feel comfortable"

"I'm constantly worried about what other people think of me"

"My nightmares have become intolerable. I can't sleep"

"I have to check the locks multiple times before leaving my house"

"I feel anxious driving"

"I'm always worried"

"I need a drink to feel comfortable"

"I feel knots in my stomach at work. I can't focus"

These are the voices of many of our clients who struggle with anxiety.

Anxiety is a common reaction to life events. All of our emotions, including anxiety, are equally important and functional. Our emotions serve a purpose. However, when they become overpowering and uncontrollable it can cause significant pain and suffering. It can make it impossible to lead the life that you want to live. Like other emotions, anxiety is a holistic experience that triggers a mental (images, memories, urges) cognitive (thoughts) and physiological (body) response. 

Common Symptoms 

  • Increased heart rate

  • Sweating 

  • Pale or flushed skin

  • Inability to focus 

  • Restlessness

  • Lack of confidence 

  • Lack of sleep 

  • Lack of appetite

  • Vomiting 

  • Fear 

  • Panic

  • Trembling

  • Feeling irritable

  • Feeling unworthy

  • Increased blood pressure 

  • Muscle tension  

  • Gastrointestinal Problems

What causes these symptoms, especially the physiological ones? What’s happening inside of our bodies to cause such a significant reaction?

 

Anxiety is the product of our body’s acute stress response known as “fight or flight.” When we are faced with perceived threat our sympathetic nervous system becomes activated with the release of hormones. Adrenaline and the stress hormone Cortisol are released in order to prepare us to take on action by either running away or fighting. Once the threat is gone, it takes the body approximately 1 minute to return to baseline.

 

The problem is that our bodies cannot distinguish between real or imagined threat. The problem is that many of us use our imaginations to think about fearful situations, which elicits our bodies stress response. The final problem is that our bodies may either

 

  1. become hypersensitive and default to this fight or flight state at the slightest possibility of distress or

  2. it may become stuck in this defensive state altogether.

 

"impressions of the past are still inside of us and they can get stimulated by different events"

Michael Singer 

Contact us to learn more about Anxiety.

It is important to know that your anxiety may stem from forces deeper than negative thoughts. Childhood experiences can wire pathways in your brain that cause anxious responses. Your anxiety may reflect a habitual response that stems from a young age as a protective measure. However, it can kick into overdrive in contexts that no longer serve as threatening, causing significant distress.

Remember to distinguish your habitual way of managing stress with who you really are. Some of us retreat when we feel anxious, others over-function, and some get lost in thoughts. Many of us live in a state of dissociation while others feel overwhelmed and experience severe panic attacks. Remember that these behaviors are patterned responses to anxiety rather than a reflection of your authentic Self. 

When we feel emotionally charged, we create narratives in our mind to make sense of what’s happening within and around us. We generate stories of comparison and hopelessness that cause further suffering.

 

Your inner critic may tell you that your anxiety reflects a deeper truth of who you are. It may tell you that you will be stuck with this problem for the rest of your life. This narrative is far from the truth.

Treatment of Anxiety 

At Life Wise, our goal is to support your healing by guiding you in becoming mindful of your responses to stress. We can show you how to reclaim control of your body. You will discover how to transition out of this habitual response to stress both physically and mentally. If you are feeling hopeless about your anxiety remember that support is available to you as our team is committed to your healing.

In addition to invaluable psycho-education, we hope to provide you with tools that you can employ to minimize the debilitating effects of anxiety. Using varying approaches including 

  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

  • Mindfulness Based Therapy

  • Psychosomatic Therapy

 

we can guide you in learning effective ways to manage your anxiety and cure your panic attacks. Learn to effectively express your emotions, process your fears, and cultivate greater self-acceptance.

If you would like to learn more about Anxiety, contact us at 604-449-8549 or info@lifewiseclinic.ca

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If you are in a crisis and need immediate assistance please contact the BC Crisis Line at 604-872-3311 or these resources.