So, it is no wonder really to discover the number one presenting issue named by clients in the therapy room is a sense of “not-knowing” all fuelled by a physical feeling of uncertainty and risk.
When I ask a client: “Where is the feeling of anxiety?” I am often met by a blank look or sheer incredulity. “What do you mean? Where is what feeling?”
So, I have to explain that anxiety is a set of physical feelings that often include: Tight-chest/queasy stomach/constriction in the throat/light-headedness, and nearly always triggering a racing mind riven by critical self-judgement and worry.
Anxiety really is normal. It is our body responding to threat and risk. It links to Flight/Fight and sometimes we get stuck in Freeze – especially in response to Trauma.
Put very simply it is our autonomic nervous system (and its sympathetic and parasympathetic pathway) kicking in.
Our body is amazing truly, before you even realise what is going on the Vagus nerve is s sending messages to the part of the brain the Thalamus to start producing adrenaline and cortisol – high octane fuel to help us get moving in response to threat.
Anger and anxiety are both responses to threat and risk. So integrative therapy which blends numerous theoretical approaches can really help us to learn how to regulate our emotions and understand why we are reacting in the way that we do – how valuable is that?
It is like having an artist’s palette of colours – rather than a one size fits all therapeutic approach that has its limitations.
You see, anxiety is a felt sense, so we must become more aware of our body-mind. We Sapiens are not thinking automatons, we are feeling highly sensate organisms who think.
Everything starts within the body. Through evolution we traded off a safer birth for the capacity to stand upright/have fine motor skills/and a highly advanced cognitive brain that is capable of learning how to split the atom/find cures for cancer/invent aircraft. Oh, and worry. Our imagination can run riot in both good ways and bad.
Then our belief in those predictive thoughts goes UP and then yes absolutely the catastrophic thinking sets in, and it feels so REAL.
No wonder our anxiety levels as a society have gone through the roof.
So, understanding the roots of our anxiety/our attachment style/building a mindful and compassionate approach to our self and to others and building resilience to cope with the slings and arrows that life will throw at us for certain – is key.
Integrative therapy is a gift to our selves and to those we love. Worth exploring. Life changing and certainly life enhancing.
Why not give yourself that gift? You are worth it.
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