When Anxiety hits..
Let's face it. Anxiety just creeps in acting as though its coming to protect, coming to rescue us from lions, tigers and bears. We can thank our lovely ancestors who went before us, and needed such a response to survive. In today's day and age, our brain masks social conversations, or tests as if they are lions about to attack our very being. So, naturally, our body responds as such, and before we know it, panic sinks into our lungs, heart, and extremities as we prepare for the "fight of our life". Its our nervous system trying to save us from death. But social conversations, tests, or work performance rarely threaten our physical lives. Our brains are wired to respond to any type of a threat. When our anxiety is a bit disordered, it basically causes our brains to react in a way that is unfitting for the present circumstance. The reptilian part of our brain kicks in, and takes over like the boss. When this happens, it often causes us to block out and only respond emotionally.
Anxiety is different for everyone. For some, anxiety piles up, subtly and gradually. Often, this type of anxiety tends to sneak up on us, and as it does pile up, without our awareness, panic attacks can begin to occur. It feels like a heart attack for some, or as though you are unable to catch your breath, which often creates even more anxiety that is, quite frankly, very unhelpful in the moment. We could be planting flowers, and suddenly, it feels our heart is about to explode out of our chest. Before we know it, we are having a panic attack without any awareness or knowledge of what triggered it. For others, panic attacks come just in the moment of a threatening experience, which ultimately encourages our body and mind to respond similarly in other situations down the road. And then, for others, anxiety takes shape in this low grade residual theme in our lives, without a panic attack ever manifesting. But, its still annoying and it still gets in the way of being as awesome as we possibly can in this life!
SO HOW DO I COPE?
Great question! First, you are not alone. This is a common response many of us have. Some of us may experience severe anxiety out of nowhere, as described above. While others of us, have built up anxiety that is rooted in some type of specific fear or trauma. If you feel you are experiencing either on a level that seems to rule more of your life than you would choose or desire, it is always a good idea to seek for some professional support! Often, prayer or mindfulness activities can help an individual manage their anxiety when it become unbearable. The more you practice prayer or mindfulness, the more bearable it becomes. The reason for this, is in the midst of prayer or mindfulness, you are teaching your mind to respond differently, and creating new neurological pathways in your brain that perhaps were not once there. It will also help allow you to be more in tune with your own self, and aware of what triggers you. Often, people seek counseling or group counseling as a way to process such anxiety. And lastly, just breathe. Awareness can be a huge healer for anxiety, so knowing the process that's taking place in your brain, emotions and body can de-escalate your anxiety. I hope you all find comfort in knowing you are not alone, and yes, anxiety is very common. I truly believe all our shadows can have a strength, serving a purpose that is beyond just the negative.