On Anxiety, Again

On Anxiety, Again

Anxiety by ~Jar[]
Anxiety by ~Jar[]

Anxiety is considered normal in modern western culture. And yet, it’s your body telling you that something is wrong.

What is anxiety? Anxiety is an activated state of the nervous system created by a feeling of hazard. It’s defined as uneasiness and apprehension about the future. Our fight/flight/freeze/fawn response gets triggered but there’s no outlet for the energy. The body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a lion and a felt sense of threat to the identity. When threats to our sense of self are ongoing, we end up in a nearly constant state of anxiety. This lays in trauma.

Stress is a major trigger of anxiety.

Some foods we consume to soothe can actually make it worse, like caffeinated beverages and sugar.

And if we’re sensitive, collective anxiety can trigger it in us.

I found an effortless meditation to be an excellent salve for anxiety. It relaxes and soothes the nervous system and aids in resolving the vasanas or charges that make us more reactive and susceptible to anxiety. Basic energy healing can further aid us.

But if we’re not in the body enough, this won’t help as much with the samskaras or impressions there. Those require a more somatic approach. This also helps us embody better.

And where do those charges and impressions come from? As I mentioned, from apparent threats to our sense of self. In this video, Ben talks about repressed anger being behind anxiety. I’ve also observed fear behind anxiety. And sometimes, anger is a reaction to fear.

Many of us go through an angry period as teens, even if it shows up more as anxiety. We’re seeking greater autonomy but feel thwarted by the constraints of school and/or family. If we don’t learn to recognize how we actually feel (vs how we’re conditioned to), and how to express those feelings in healthy ways, this will continue into adulthood.

As our sense of who we are is being thwarted, it feels like a threat to the identity. We feel unable to control our situation, even unconsciously. This can trigger both fear and anger.

When we’re young, anger is often considered inappropriate from children. We’re taught, sometimes harshly, to suppress it to be accepted by our caregivers. Then later, we get frustrated when our parents insist we take science rather than art classes. As we’re no longer able to express anger, we become frustrated and anxious instead. Perhaps we take it out on those around us.

Even worse, when our parents insist on putting us in actual hazardous situations, like in groups with kids prone to violence, themselves having anger issues.

Throw in raging hormones and the confusion of puberty and you get quite the concoction.

That unresolved fear and anger, however unconscious, will continue to burble away in the background, causing restlessness and anxiety.

As long as that remains unaddressed, the anxiety will continue into adulthood. It can then be amplified by work and family circumstances.

Finding ways to soothe the body and release the energy can be deeply healing. Exploring healthy ways to express our emotions can help make them safe again. As we begin to flow within, life around us responds accordingly. The world shifts from being scary and frustrating to being supportive and nourishing. It’s all in our state and perspective.
Davidya

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10 Comments

  1. Lynette

    What do you mean by “But if we’re not in the body enough”? I have a body and it’s with me all the time. Or do you have another meaning for body? Great article .

    1. Hi Lynette
      A lot of people live in their heads, not in their body. They have a body but mostly ignore it and don’t pick up the signals when somethings off. Another version of this is spiritual bypassing, where we live in the upper chakras. This is called a lollipop energetically.

      A properly grounded life is one lived in all the chakras.

        1. Yes, this is very common in the west. Our culture runs that way.
          As you heal, you’ll expand into more. But it’s good to be conscious of this.

          I spent awhile in the ethers and have gradually been moving back in. 🙂

  2. scott

    Hi David,

    From my experience I feel that the opposite is true ; an activated or a greater-than-usual stimulation of the nervous system creates a feeling of hazard.
    I’m not saying that it always works that way but I think it often does.
    The tendency though is to interpret it the other way around.

    We are continually filtering reality, creating a certain spectrum or bandwidth of experience – and that bandwidth has an energetic component to it (call it shakti or just the energy of life). Our egoic identity is involved in the process of filtering and controlling a subjective range of experience with its attendant energies that we are familiar with and therefore comfortable with. When those habitual controls are abated like during an accident or a traumatic experience or moments of stress or physical depletion ( due to sleep, diet etc.) our ego’s stronghold is compromised, the “fortress” develops cracks, allowing in a greater spectrum of energy than we are used to, leaving the ego scrambling to try and control the new influx. This losing battle of the ego trying to manage this unfamiliar energy is what I call anxiety. To me anxiety is a destabilizing of our habitual subjective configurations of reality. I don’t think it’s the body telling us something is wrong. It is the mind which is overlaying a problem onto a physical/energetic experience.

    🙂

    1. Hi Scott
      Interesting. Actually, it feeds on itself. A perceived hazard (often unconscious) triggers the stress response and the stress response triggers a heightened sense of hazard. And this, even if the hazard is a bogey man.

      The hazard trigger is in the biology and has been heavily studied, including around how the different aspects of the vagus nerve are being stimulated.

      But yes, our unconscious processes heavily filter our incoming perceptions so our conscious mind just gets what’s important. Our past learning and unresolved trauma can have a significant impact on that filtering. And there are various cognitive biases in play as well.

      I wouldn’t say the ego (the way I define it) is involved in the filtering, but certainly our identity overlay structure is. The ego likes to claim control it doesn’t really have.

      And yes, I agree on the familiar and comfortable. For some, we filter out whats not to feel smooth. Others who are more in fear may amplify the unknown as a confirmation of “reality”. And yes, you describe that well. A similar thing can happen when we get a taste of awakening. The ego can freak out, working hard to regain its appearance of control.

      I’d not considered that, but you’re right, if this process is extended, there can be anxiety about awakening. I can recall the ego here doing a dance of distraction shortly before. If there was the start of a process, it would jump in with anything it could to distract the attention. In my case, the witness was long established so there wasn’t anxiety about it, but I had no idea how I was going to overcome that trickster. Of course, it had nothing to do with anything an I might do.

      I wouldn’t describe that as the only source of anxiety though. And anxiety is a physiological response. I quoted the definition in the 2nd paragraph. Mind can trigger it though in rejecting an experience.

      Here, change in reality became the order of that day in Unity. It came to be seen as beneficial, so that source fell away. But anxiety can still be triggered by life circumstances, like almost stepping in front of a truck. Not held, the nervous system processes and calms quickly.

  3. Peter Goodman

    David, as always, you connect with very deep, and profound issues to those of us awakening. This is the first time I have seen the term “fight/flight/freeze/fawn response”. Obviously not the part fight/flight but the addition of freeze/fawn it’s the first addition. I do not quite understand fawn. But the inclusion expands that body reaction to our environment before the conscious mind engages.
    I am very interested to when the trainings you are going through becomes incorporated into what you offer as a Coach.
    The articles you write, express what we have had no access to understand and keeps brewing deep inside.
    David, what you do is very important to me and I am sure many others.

    Peter Goodman

    1. Thanks, Peter
      fight/flight was the original understanding of the vagus nerve stress response. Over time, they added the freeze response (deer in the headlights or baby goats, for example) and most recently, fawn. This is essentially submission, like you see one dog express submission to another. Humans display all of these. When we suppress fight and flight due to social norms and conditioning, our stress response can go to “freeze and appease”

      They’re all different ways the vagus responds. When it’s deactivated, we go to calm.

      I have no idea when this will be incorporated or how. I’ve completed the theory on one course and am now studying the process. But it will take practice and testing to qualify. In the other larger course, I spent awhile back-tracking as they added 14 hours of new content. After I finish the theory, I’ll then go through the practical process for it. I’ll probably take the second level as well, as I’ve seen tastes of that content, like on using witnessing in the healing process.

      We’ll see what unfolds.

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