Worrying is normal, but excessive worry and fear can interfere with your goals and keep you from living the life you want.
By understanding the roots of your anxiety, employing strategies to help moderate your thinking, and learning practical skills to bring your body to a state of calm, you will be in a better position to make meaningful changes in your life that will promote healing.
― Pat Ogden
What is Anxiety?
Our experience of anxiety is based on our body’s built-in flight-or-fight response to perceived danger. In order to help us deal with potential threats, our body goes into hyperarousal. The sympathetic nervous system becomes overactive. You may experience sensations of increased heart rate and rapid breathing or find your thoughts racing or your stomach in knots. This can happen with actual threat or to anticipated threat, and when this begins at a young age or happens too often it can be debilitating.
Our Disrupted Nervous System
For those who have been exposed to traumatic events our experiences lead us to continually sense fear and danger in the world. What happens is that our body does not know how to differentiate between types of “danger.” Our body reacts the same whether the threat is real or not. This keeps our nervous system stuck in a state of “high-alert”.
This continued feeling of stress and worry can develop into anxiety disorders.
How It Affects Us
Anxiety becomes a problem when it prevents you from completing simple tasks or enjoying your life. You might find yourself worrying about simple things like driving to the store or about the safety of your loved ones while they’re at work. Anxiety can put pressure on your own career goals and your close relationships, and keep you from sleeping at night.
At Trauma and Beyond ®, our integrated and holistic approach working with mind, body, and emotions is necessary for whole-person healing. Our treatment for anxiety may include SE, TRM, Mindfulness, Trauma focused Yoga, CBT, CPT, DBT and more in order to help expand your capacity to tolerate a variety of feelings, sensations, thoughts.
Calming both body and mind, and teaching you the skills of self-regulation, self-soothing and distress tolerance, helps to facilitate whole-person integration and can reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Are You Suffering From Anxiety?
- Do you find yourself worrying all the time?
- Do you have difficulty feeling relaxed or sitting still?
- Have you lost sleep reviewing the day’s events, beating yourself up for what you could have done differently, or replaying old mistakes?
- Are you constantly evaluating your performance and thinking about ways that you can improve to the point where it affects your view of yourself?
- Do you often suffer from panic attacks, where you experience such symptoms as heart pounding, shortness of breath, light-headedness, fear you’re going crazy, chest pressure or fear you’re going to have a heart attack?
- Do you often feel internally agitated?
- Do you feel a constant sense of danger in the world or feel that something bad is always going to happen?
Anxiety Through The Trauma-Informed Lens
At Trauma and Beyond we believe that trauma is at the root of many other disorders. This underlying trauma causes us to find adaptive survival strategies that are not just unhealthy, but also may be incorrectly diagnosed. You might leave a doctor’s office being told you have anxiety, you may be treated for the symptoms, however, at Trauma and Beyond ® we treat more than just the symptoms. We look underneath to the core issues in order to promote healing, not just symptom reduction.
Underlying trauma plays a big role in anxiety, as many times the symptoms of trauma are expressed as anxiety.
Where it Begins: Ineffective Emotional Coping
Often the roots of anxiety begin with deficits in our ability to self-regulate. The skill of self-regulation is formed during our earliest years through attuned interaction with our caregivers. Anxiety can have both biological and environmental roots.
If we have not developed an ability to self-sooth, we then develop strategies for coping to help us deal with the challenges we face. Very often these survival strategies, though necessary at the time they were formed, are harmful or self-destructive in the long term. Eventually the solutions they present become their own problems, and point back to the fact that we haven’t learned how to effectively self-regulate.
In order to recover from the trauma we must look past the symptoms and find the root cause. In our Anxiety Treatment program, we focus on helping you increase your ability to self-regulate and widen your window of tolerance.
Some of these ineffective coping strategies for dealing with our overwhelming emotions (anxiety) include drug and alcohol abuse, anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating, self-injury (cutting), sex addiction, shopping, and gambling. For others, maladaptive coping styles are expressed through somatic symptoms and what we typically think of as anxiety.
Needless to say, these behaviors are simply symptoms of deeper issues that need to be dealt with for long-lasting recovery. By healing the deep wounds, the self-destructive behaviors can be replaced with more effective strategies.
Healing Our Relationship With Self & Others
As we enter into a safe environment or relationship, we can begin expressing and feeling our emotions, rather than displacing or ignoring them. By learning to be in the present moment, we can distinguish the pain of a present hurt from past trauma and develop tools to cultivate a sense of calm and safety.
We can come to experience ourselves as whole and regulated beings with connections to self and others through attunement and trust.
Connect with us today for a phone consultation to determine your path going forward.