by Alison Chan, Craniosacral Therapist
"Anxiety is nothing more than sensation in the body that we cannot manage, contain, and resolve, and release." (Irene Lyon, Somatic Experiencing practitioner)
Today's post is the first of a series on understanding anxiety and addressing it through your body. Each time, I'll include one or two simple things you can do to help yourself feel calmer and more grounded.
Part 1: Your Body, the Survivor
So maybe you're working from home now but it's hard to sit still because you feel antsy. You might be having trouble focusing on tasks -- even sometimes literally, if your vision feels blurry. Or you know you have several things you could be doing right now but you feel kind of stuck and can't settle on one to tackle.
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
You'll feel a difference immediately, and the more you do it, the more it helps to keep you grounded and keep your nervous system regulated.
For the first few times, try it sitting or lying down. Then you can adapt it for standing (say, for instance, standing in line).
That’s it! Stay tuned for the next post on using movement to help with anxiety.
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