"Anxiety is nothing more than sensation in the body that we cannot manage, contain, and resolve, and release." (Irene Lyon, Somatic Experiencing practitioner)
We tend to think of anxiety as a mental issue -- having repetitive negative thoughts, constant worrying, etc. -- but anxiety can also show up as physical symptoms such as:
Part 1: Your Body, the Survivor
These are all signs that your body's in a survival state. At times like that, our nervous systems can feel really disregulated. And no wonder! We are currently in a situation where life and death is on the line; many of us don't know how we're going to cover the cost of living; our lives have been turned upside down. It's a hugely uncertain time.
At the same time, all these symptoms are actually part of an amazing survival strategy that your body has kicked into gear to protect you, through fight, flight or freeze (or a combination). The problem is that this nervous system response is only meant to last as long as a brief threat -- say, an attack by a cougar -- and then get dissipated in various ways.
But when the stress is ongoing, we have no way of discharging these energies and returning to a more regulated state. That's where working with our bodies can help.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be introducing a series of actions you can take to downshift your feelings of anxiety. You'll help your nervous system to take a break and hopefully experience some moments of calm!
Exercise: Feet, Seat, Breath Body Scan
For the first few times, try it sitting or lying down. Then you can adapt it for standing (say, for instance, standing in line).