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From Panic to Calm

From Panic to Calm

Anxiety is part of being human – Paul Tillich

Judi Wolder, Life Coach in Orange County sheds some light on anxiety.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual for mental disorders includes many anxiety related disorders. Here is a list of a few:

Anxiety Disorders
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Selective Mutism
Specific Phobia
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
Panic Disorder
Panic Attack (Specifier)
Agoraphobia
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition
Other Specified Anxiety Disorder
Unspecified Anxiety Disorder

We all have many parts of our brains with different functions. The Reptilian Brain is our survival brain. It is part of the hippocampus and within that exists an even smaller part that is responsible for all our stored emotions of fear due to memories of real or perceived threats in the past. It’s most important function is responsible for our instinctive survival. It creates feelings of threat within us in order to protect us, but sometimes those threats are irrational and only perceived threats due to residual feelings based on threatening situations from our childhood. For example, a child feeling unheard experiencing unmet needs and having a distant or non-responsive parent, could feel abandoned, and terrified. The primal fear is for survival; a small child is dependent on his caregiver for all his needs. Later on, this feeling resurfaces with a spouse or a boss, but the situation may be different. Problem is, our reptilian brain cannot identify the difference.

This is why understanding fear can be confusing and complicated, especially when fear, stress or anxiety surface at unexpected times.

When our reptilian brain is activated, it sends messages to our body to prepare for survival causing a release of chemicals. These chemicals cause the heart rate to quicken and our breathing rate to increase. We are now in flight/fight response mode, and our bodies need all these chemicals and a quickened heart rate to run, or fight. Our blood rushes towards our large muscles so we can use these stronger muscles for the up-coming survival feat. The person then experiences a numbness in their hands and feet, and a light-headedness or dizziness. Sometimes people say that ‘out of the blue’ they had a panic attack. This is not really true. The truth is, some thought in their survival brain was triggered – even from a childhood threat, that no longer is relevant now nevertheless, we begin experiencing the same fear responses.

What all anxiety disorders have in common is fear and worry; worry about protecting ourselves from anticipating threatening experiences. Anxiety actually manifests on a continuum from worry to fear to extreme fear. So that means all anxiety stems from worry – even in its lowest form. Worry is a thought, it is a manifestation of the brain, a thinking process. Therefore, theoretically, if we could control our thoughts, we could control our worries, our fears and our anxiety. Do we control our thoughts strictly with our thoughts? That is how Western medicine would have you understanding it. Treatment of anxiety using thinking techniques is used in Western psychology through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This form of controlling anxiety is very effective, but it can be exhausting and we still remain in a purely thinking state. What Western medicine and thinking does, is it divides everything into categories. The mind is separate from the body and all disease and symptoms are treated individually. There is very little belief or trust in the notion that everything in the mind is linked to the body and visa versa. Very few people believe they can cure themselves using a mind – body approach. Most will first go to a doctor and take a pill without looking for alternatives. How often do mental ailments manifest physically? Well if I asked you to talk about your anxiety, pretty soon you would be feeling physical manifestations of your anxiety. Your pulse would quicken, you might feel a tightness in your chest, or pain in your back, stomach, neck or any other part of your body. This proves that your thinking, creates body sensations and demonstrate inter-connectedness of the mind and body. But even more so… the physical response to stress change your hormones in your body; over production of Cortisol and adrenaline can wreak havoc on your physical well-being resulting in insomnia, high blood pressure and even a quickened heart rate. So then it goes without saying, that if you turned it the other way around, and focussed on removing those bodily responses to stress, in turn, you could change a mental disorder.

Focussing on the body and methods to relax the physical body can help alleviate many of the symptoms related to anxiety and panic. Judi Wolder, MA Psych, Life Coach and Hypnotherapist has many solutions and says that there is no need to have to live with anxiety. She uses a non-drug method and helps clients learn how to regulate emotions through reversing and interception emotional energy patterns and through hypnosis. “It’s simple when you know how”, says Judi. Judi also helps with finding the root cause to why we have pervasive behaviors and emotional triggers. For more information contact Judi at cedarlightcoach@gmail.com. Or call (949)735-5502

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