Updated: Jan 16, 2021
I want to talk about anxiety because it is a topic that comes up so often in my work. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point. It's perfectly normal. Many people, though, have chronic and persistent anxiety that affects the quality of their lives. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines this as an anxiety disorder. As of September 2020, the APA reported that “19% of Americans over the age of 18 had an anxiety disorder in the past year, and 31% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetimes.” (Source)The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. and that few sufferers receive treatment. (Source) Clearly it’s a common issue that isn’t being dealt with well.
The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines anxiety as “uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill.” Essentially you are responding to something that will happen or might happen (which also implies that it might not even happen). The Free Dictionary’s Medical Dictionary states, “As far as we know, anxiety is a uniquely human experience. Other animals clearly know fear, but human anxiety involves an ability, to use memory and imagination to move backward and forward in time, that animals do not appear to have.” So, lucky us! We don’t just respond to things that are actually scary or harmful (as in a stress response) but we also respond to things we think might be scary or that we remember being scary in the past. What amazing abilities we have!
Anxiety is excessive amounts of fear, nervousness, unease, worry, agitation, or apprehension that can manifest in a huge range of symptoms. At its most extreme, it can include panic attacks, inability to make decisions, social phobias, separation anxiety, and many other life-altering behaviors. Medical groups such as the Mayo Clinic say that the primary treatments for anxiety are psychotherapy and medication. (Source) The ADAA is more encouraging, stating that, “anxiety disorders are highly treatable,” and list practices such as yoga and acupuncture under their heading of “Complementary and alternative treatment.” (Source)
I’d like to propose the idea that anxiety is essentially an energetic problem. Just as with stress, our bodies are physiologically created to have emotional and physical reactions to possible life-threatening occurrences. Once the possibility of the threat is over, we should release the energy of that response and return to a resting state. What can happen, though, is that our body is unable to release the physiological symptoms and remains in that hyperaroused state. That energy, rather than dissipating, stays in the body, causing blocks that disrupt its normal functioning. In addition, the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is in charge of altering us to threats. The limbic system (parts of the ANS) may encode the original threat experience too generally, creating a trigger response to a wide range of real or imagined future threats. The body gets stuck in this loop of trigger and response from which it can't find release because it can’t discharge the energy. The longer this loop turns, the more physical, emotional, and mental layers get added to it, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of anxiety that grows more complex as time goes on.
Great theory, you may say, but I thought that anxiety disorders are created by chemical imbalances of the brain. Isn’t that why medication works? Yes, some anxiety can be helped (not cured) by medication because of a chemical imbalance. But the question is, why is that imbalance there in the first place? Our bodies are designed to be in balance and heal. The only reason they don’t is if there is an energy block in the system. Removing that energy block allows the body to naturally come back into balance. So medication can help correct the chemical imbalance, but it can’t deal with the root of the issue. Energy work goes to the cause of the problem, removes it, and rebalances the system from the inside out. Medication tries to deal with symptoms from the outside in but can never touch the root issue.
So the question is, what if you didn’t have to deal with chronic anxiety? What if you could actually go in and find the root energy blocks and remove them? Would you be willing to do it? Here’s the challenge you need to know about: There is no one-size-fits-all solution to any energy condition. For some, dealing with chronic anxiety may be as easy as finding the original problem and pulling the plug in order to bring everything back into balance. For others, that self-perpetuating anxiety loop may have pulled a whole lot of other energy problems into the matrix, which will make the whole thing more complicated to untangle. Before you begin the journey, you may not know exactly what will be needed to get to your root issue. That’s where a little faith comes in. Are you willing to believe that there is a real solution to your anxiety? Are you willing to pursue it no matter how far it goes? I believe there is a way through chronic anxiety if you are patient and willing to take the necessary steps.
As I mentioned, anxiety can be complicated and it may also pull into its orbit a mix of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual problems that can confuse things even more. There is no one way to cure anxiety or any one way to start the journey. Below I have put together my top list of ways to begin. Read through it and see if anything jumps out at you. I start the list with simple energy practices that I think will benefit everyone with anxiety and then move on to other things you may want to explore.
Faith- Whether it is religious faith or simply faith in yourself, the first step to any energy work is the belief that you can and will find the way through your problem. That belief is the energy you put out into the world that will draw in what you need to heal. So you could simply say, “I believe there is a solution to my problem and I will find it.” You could plaster your house with positive statements or mantras that remind you every moment that what you need to heal is out there. You can talk about it with everyone you know. The key is to have faith that you can heal and expect that what you need will be made known. You can add to that the belief that your body knows what it needs to heal if you take the time to stop and listen.
Fear- Anxiety is essentially fear about things that have happened or may happen in the future. It’s the misplaced fear about where dangers are coming from. We all have fears about all kinds of things, but highly anxious people are no longer able to control those fears and can’t distinguish real threat from imaginary threat. The best place to start is with the simple prayer, “Please heal my fear-based thoughts.” For more on the why and how of this prayer, read this blog post: Fear Based Thinking. If you don’t have time for that, just start by saying the prayer every single time you feel your anxiety or a specific fear come up in your mind. That may mean repeating it a thousand times a day at first. That is OK. Just do it. It’s simple but powerful energy work that involves both faith and letting go.
Break the Cycle- Part of the problem with anxiety is that it plays its fears over and over in your brain on a continual loop that eventually can manifest physically as panic attacks, tension, and more. You may start your day feeling ok, but eventually something triggers that loop and away you go again, caught up in the cycle of fear and physical response. You can reset your body with a simple practice called thymus tapping. Your thymus gland lies just behind your sternum (right around where your third rib meets). It is in charge of a number of functions, one of which is resetting your nervous system. So, when you feel that loop spinning in your head and your body responding, just take your fist and thump the center of your chest in a gentle, 1-2-3 pattern. That resets your nervous system, breaking the cycle of fear and physical response. At first, the loop may just restart again the moment you stop, but be persistent. Even a tiny break in that cycle will make it lose some energy which is the beginning of your energy work.
Your Past- Emotions, experiences, memories, events, traumas. All these pieces of your past are encoded in your body, specifically your ANS (mentioned above). Anxiety is when your ANS (specifically the limbic system) sees normal everyday parts of life as life-threatening situations. Fortunately, there is a way to reprogram the ANS and remove the coding that categorizes a trip to the grocery store as an anxiety-inducing event. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) was designed to go into the ANS and remove the maladaptive pattern completely. I wrote a whole blog post on the limbic system and how EFT works. You can read it here and get the free PDF downloads that describe how to do EFT on your own. Take the time to learn this technique and use it as much as you can. This can help everyone with anxiety disorders and is worth the work. If learning this on your own feels overwhelming, I provide one-on-one coaching (via video conference) to help you learn and effectively use EFT for your specific anxiety. You can learn more about it here on my website.
Your Chakras- Anxiety is, at its most basic, an inability to feel safe in the world, which is an imbalance of your first Chakra, or your inability to feel safe with other people, which is a second Chakra issue. Working on anxiety through the lens of your Chakras can be transformative for some people. There is a library full of information I could share on this subject, which we don’t have space for here. If you want to know more, here are a few places to begin. Check out this blog post I wrote on the Chakras as an introduction and includes a free downloadable meditation. Search for meditations that work on clearing and balancing your first or second chakras. Overall chakra balancing and clearing is also helpful. I offer this as a stand-alone energy session. Yoga is another free way to work on releasing energy stuck in your Chakras. There are so many ways to go at this, that it is hard to give you specifics. If this appeals to you, start to explore it and you will find more than enough options to keep you busy!
Your Family- Sometimes your anxiety isn’t actually yours. We all hold energy from our family, either the ones we grew up with or our biological ancestors. You can actually be carrying energy from family members who live many generations ago. This energy shows up as mental and health issues in your own life. Healing this can be complicated as the connections aren’t always direct, but unless you let it go, your problem will never truly heal. You can read more about this on my blog post Inheriting Family Trauma. It provides a few resources to get you started. I also work with this in energy sessions I provide.
Reiki and Integrated Energy Therapy® (IET®)- Even though these are some of the most powerful ways to remove energy causing anxiety, I put them last simply because you will need to find a practitioner who can work with you to experience these modalities. The energies of Reiki and IET® are both fundamentally designed to clear energy blocks and bring the body back into balance. They can blast through many layers of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual issues caught up in the web of anxiety. Simply the experience of a session with these energies can give you a feel for what it would be like to live without anxiety, as the most common reactions are feelings of peace and relaxation. There are many IET® and Reiki practitioners out there. Find someone and give it a try. If you don’t feel completely changed after your first experience, don’t feel anxious! Depending on how many layers you have built up, it might take some time.
Combining Energy Work and Coaching- I combine Reiki and IET® along with a lot of other techniques I have learned (including working with family energy, mentioned above) to go really deep really fast. My completely remote energy sessions can be sent to you anywhere you are (so if leaving your house makes you feel anxious right now, this is perfect!). If you want to Contact Me, we can set up a session for you that includes personalized coaching to give you exactly what you need to work through all the layers of your anxiety and find balance again. Check out my services to see all that I offer.
I also just want to mention that if you have been living with anxiety for a long time, or if you belong to a support group or community that deals with anxiety, there can be hidden drawbacks associated with this. Living with any chronic condition can actually perpetuate that condition in a state called Woundology. Read more about that here. This isn’t intended to give you more anxiety (oh no, now I’m stuck in Woundology too!) but to make it clear that living with something and choosing to live THROUGH something and into healing are two different things. You can heal from anxiety. It doesn’t not have to be something you “manage” for the rest of your life.
There is a lot here to work with! If you’ve been living with anxiety, it’s time to stand up and start your journey toward healing! Start with the easy steps above and then keep working on it. Get up every single day and take the next step that will break you free. This blog has a lot of other excellent ideas for energy work and getting unstuck, so don’t be afraid to explore things I haven’t mentioned in this post. The answers are out there. You can move through this and come out the other side a more confident, more whole person then you have ever been before!