Anxiety of varying degrees effects just about everyone at some stage. Anxiety can occur as low grade nervousness, anxiousness, overwhelm or worrying, that would not be medically diagnosed as an “anxiety disorder” that effects most of us at some stage, through to more severe forms of anxiety that can effect one’s ability to function where treatment is often required.
Some common symptoms of anxiety include:
hot and cold flushes
racing heart, trembling, clammy hands
find it hard to stop worrying
tightening of the chest and stiff uptight body
Inability to sleep well
Tired but wired feeling – overactive nervous system
felt restless, racey or on edge
tire easily and low stress tollerance
had difficulty concentrating
- felt irritable
Physically anxiety is the result of an imbalance in brain chemistry. It can be caused by an overstimulated nervous system as a result of an excess of excitatory neurotransmitters (glutamate, epinephrine, norepinephrine, PEA) or a lack of inhibitory ones (GABA, glycine) with low GABA being the most common. This can be caused by several factors such as hormonal imbalances as several hormones regulate neurotransmitter production. Anxiety in women can be caused by a progesterone defiency as it helps regulate GABA production. Early stage adrenal fatigue caused by stress with high cortisol levels can also cause anxiety due to its ability to up regulate monoamine oxidase and therefore increase the metabolism of neurotransitters and thus reduce their neurotransmission. Low thyroid function can also cause anxiety as thyroid hormones also influcnce neurotransmitter production. A lack of GABA, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system, may also be due to glutamine, vitamin B1, B6, zinc, manganese & iron deficiencies, mercury and lead exposure, alcohol withdrawal or caffeine excess, to name a few.
Pyroluria and over methylation, two other biochemical conditions, may also contribute towards the underlying cause of anxiety. Therefore it a good idea to have a series of laboratory tests to eliminate the possibility of these conditions being present and if found to be present treat it accordingly which will then eliminate the underlying cause of anxiety and not just the symptoms which is all medications will do.
Tests for Anxiety
(1) Pyrrole Test – Measure KPU/HPU and/or HPL in urine.
(2) Methylation – There is no simple direct test for methylation however histamine levels less than greater than 0.35umol/L is a reliable diagnostic marker for diagnosing over methylation.
(3) Adrenal Hormones – DHEA and cortisol are two major adrenal hormones implicated in anxiety.
(4) Thyroid Hormones – T3, T4 and reverse T3 are required for a complete assessment of your thyroid function
(5) Sex Hormones – Low progesterone in women should also be tested for as these can also cause anxiety.
In order to treat the whole being and not just the physical aspect it would be wise to consider that the real underlying cause of anxiety may be due to the ingrained belief that you are not enough to handle any situation. You feel your not equipped or some how inadequate, you may lack confidence, so when a situation arrises that you feel you cannot cope with, it creates a tension inside you that ultimately leads to anxiety.
In order to truly heal your anxiety you need to consider why is this so?
Why do you feel your not enough? Could it be you have self worth issues? If so why do you not love yourself in full? These inner hurts should be addressed and healed in order to truly overcome anxiety rather than taking a pill which only bury these hurts deeper inside never to be resolved, which effects your behaviours and life in many other areas which you may not even be aware of.
The first step to overcome anxiety is to develop true confidence. Here we refer to true confidence where you are connected with yourself, know and love yourself in full and seek no recognition outside of yourself. It is not a false confidence some may use as a form of protection to hide their hurts and vulnerability underneath the seemingly confident exterior, or to control and manipulate situations so that their hurts are never exposed.
True confidence is developed with conscious presence. Conscious presence is the ability to stay connected and present with yourself in everything you do without your mind checking out, numbing out or wondering off and day dreaming about the past or the future, or anything else that takes its fancy. It is the ability to keeps ones awareness and focused mind present with your body in everything you do – your mind and body act as one. This is vastly different from how most people operate with their mind wondering off everywhere and anywhere while their body is operating in auto pilot. While functioning like this when a stressful situation arises your not present or connected with yourself to know how to deal with it so it creates a tension and anxiety. If you were present with yourself you would be more aware how to handle it.
To clarify further conscious presence is not only remaining present but also being aware of the quality your hold yourself in. You will eventually begin to identify areas in your body where you hold tension that were not felt before and thus can be healed and released. You will also become aware of any hardness stored in your body, in addition to how you use it to do things and will notice when you bang doors, stomp when you walk, speak abruptly, etc, etc. We use this hardness as a form of protection and to avoid feeling our hurts or the emptiness within. A part of conscious presence involves being aware of this hardness and truly feel how it affects you and gradually over time consciously chosing to become more gentle and tender with yourself and how you live. This helps develop more love in your body which helps you not only heal any self worth issues but it also heal the emptiness within that many people chose not to feel by checking out or using distractions in order to avoid feeling. This long momentum of checking out is why conscious presence is so difficult to achieve for many.
If you remain present and gentle, as best you can without any perfection, you begin to deepen your connection with yourself and your awareness will expand creating a true confidence, not to mention many other benefits such as self love, self nurturing, letting go of your guards and protection creating better relationships, more joyful and playful.
Simply start by keeping the focus of your mind on what you are doing and any time you find your mind wonder off gently bring it back to your body. Over time it gets easier and you will be able to remain with yourself for longer periods before your mind tries to wonder off. While present with yourself remain aware of any hardness in your body or the hardness in which you do things and chose to do them more gently. Practice and feel the difference it makes!
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