How to be free of Anxiety & PTSD forever? [6 minute read]
From the outside it easy to see that someone has it all figured out. We make so many judgements based on what we see within a few seconds on meeting someone, that we never really see them at all. It is assumed if we can not see it, it’s not really there. We assume if we are not physically hurt, bleeding, breathing so fast, or your arm is in a cast, then it does not exist. But this pain that we can not see, is for some people the most painful experience of them all.
So that’s when the mask comes in. The mask to cover over the pain that we feel on the inside. On the outside it appears we have it all, but that smile and contagious personality is the mask, the cover, the lid to contain it all. As for many it’s difficult to talk about the tough stuff, without feeling like you’re not enough, you’ve failed and you are just not at all perfect. Well yeah, I never used to like talking about the tough stuff either, I would just grim and bear it.
I had Anxiety and PTSD! Anxiety to drive a car, to see someone hurt, fainting, and then I would worry about when I would faint again, blood, even if someone just talked about an injury or something medical, to watch or talk about gory movie or event, to fear death, to drive in the country, to drive past an accident, to hear/see an ambulance, to drive around a sharp bend, to meet new or old friends, being alone, being bullied, being not liked by anyone, talking when in a group of people and not knowing what to say, worrying about life and just lots and lots of worry. The list goes on!
Some days used to be better than others, some days were worst. The most intense time for my anxiety was after my near death experience when I was 15. I believe this was a massive trigger for the rest of my anxiety and how I feared for my life and the lives of my loved ones. Gradually over the years I learnt very well how to put this anxiety or PTSD in a box, it had a lid shut so tight, that no one would get in and nothing would get out. I learnt to be a very good avoider of situations and circumstances that would trigger me. However, I could not control everything at all times I would still get triggered. I recall watching a short traditional Easter movie when I was teaching, and out of no where the movie showed nails being hammered into someone’s hands, immediately the rush of feeling faint, hit me. I panicked! I felt sick! I felt dizzy! My heart raced, I perspired and felt so out of control. The thoughts running through my head, about how I can’t faint in here. I can’t faint in front of all these students and teachers. I could not focus on the movie or hear anything at all. But I somehow managed that intense episode.
Every single day we take in outside events or things around us through our 5 senses. Depending on our experiences in life and our family life, will determine on how we continue to deal with everyday events and our future. Our brains are built to protect us and keep us safe from all the scary things in life. A part of it’s job is to constantly scan the environment for any threats to our well-being. It then compares cues from the environment we are in right now with the banks of previous unpleasant experiences stored in our memory. When it finds a match, it alerts us to a potential problem. For example: If your bully had light blue eyes and blonde hair, you might feel uneasy in the presence of people with similar colourings, without knowing why, as the brain goes on high alert when the possibility of a threat comes within the range of your perception. Which is why sometimes you don’t even know why you feel anxious or experience a panic attack.
It is an inbuilt mechanism in our brain from when our ancestors were chasing tigers in the jungle. But it is now a problem in our modern world, as we are no longer running from tigers. Our bodies are perceiving these events as a tiger, by responding to our fears, worries, anxieties, resentments, projections and imaginings in the same way. When you think of an imaginary tiger in your room, your body responds with a fight-flight response, much as though there were a real tiger in the room. Or how we respond to watching a supense movie.
The amygdala is the part of our brain that sets off this fight, flight or freeze alarm response. Our bloodstream is then flooded with stress hormones, heart rate rises, blood pressure goes through the roof and that loss of control feeling is felt (flight = fear) or that anger like feeling is noticed (fight) or there is an inability to take action (freeze).
So all the events and experiences from such a young age and the way our brain is made up, alot of the time sends us into a state of fear. We have trained our brain to react in certain ways to certain situations. In a way our brains are saying she/he has survived this event before by reacting the this way, so I’ll do it again. Our brain/body is trying to keep us safe, even though it does not feel like than when the panic attack, anxious feeling or stress sets in. The neutral networks in our brains learn very quickly and through repetition. So the more you keep responding that way, the stronger the connections become. The good news is, because our brain learns quickly and responds through repetition, we can train it to respond in another way.
The first step in changing this behaviour or pattern, is to interrupt the pattern, and practice with repetition. Practice! Practice! Practice!
- Deep stomach breathing – a lot of anxious people only breathe from their chest, which means there is not enough oxygen getting into your body. The balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide is out of order, which makes you feel even worse. When you breathe in expand your stomach first like a balloon, then as you breathe out the stomach comes down. You should lift your stomach up first as you breathe in, then chest moves later. If you need help place 1 hand on your stomach and 1 on your chest, while you are lying down. If you have been breathing from your chest for a long time, it will take some practice to train your muscles to automatically respond with the stomach rising first.
- Expanding your focus – this helps to shift your brain from focussing on that feeling and spread it around you. Start by focussing on a spot on the wall in front of you (eye level or higher). Slowly begin to expand your peripheral vision to include the spot and the area to the sides of you. Then gradually keep shifting your vision to the ceiling and floor, still including the spot and the sides. Eventually move your awareness to the space behind you. So you imagine that space and see everything behind you. Repeat as often as needed.
- EFT Tapping – EFT tapping is like acupuncture without the needles. It is a stress and anxiety reduction technique, that you can use any where at any time. There are certain acupuncture points on our body that we press with our fingertips, which tells the amygdala to relax, and the body is safe. There are many videos on You tube which you can follow along. Once you understand the points and the process, use your own words to explain how you feel at that moment. Keep tapping until the anxiety disspates.
- Bi-Lateral Stimulation – this technique involves stimulating both sides of your brain. It causes the brain to mix up the signals and messages about anxiety. Find a ball, water bottle, car keys or an object you can safely throw. Throw the object in front of your body from one hand to the other. Repeat for 1 minute. Stop and take a deep belly breathe. Continue until the anxiety dissipates.
- Not everyone will respond to every technique in the same way, so it’s important to have a few different ones to draw from when you feel anxious. Here are 5 more techniques you can use to combat anxiety. You can download the document here.
A little bit of anxiety and stress is good for us, but its not what I’m talking about here. To be free of anxiety forever, so those continuous feelings of fear, worry and concern just go away, you need to find the root cause of why it keeps being triggered in your life. You were not born this way, and you did not have anxiety when you were a small baby. It has been programmed in you from an incident or several incidents during your life.
Resource therapy, EFT Tapping, Hypnosis or Time Line Therapy are the techniques that will discover the reasons why it keeps happening in your life and it will get to the heart of the issue. If you are tired of dealing with these emotions and feelings, the quickest and easiest way is using these techniques.
I use mainly Resource Therapy in my sessions as it is incredibly powerful. Why?
- It is an easy process to follow.
- It has a direct treatment plan for anxiety to be followed.
- Individually tailoured treatment plan, as everyone experiences anxiety differently.
- It will directly locate that part of you that feels anxious and make it feel empowered and supported.
- You do not have to tell your whole story of about your anxiety, just a part and the feeling.
- It will finally clear up the issue instead of putting a band aid over the wound and covering the symptoms.
If you would like any extra support to understand the self-help techniques, let me know by booking an online free discovery call. Or if you would like to find out more about how to free you from Anxiety or PTSD forever. Book an appointment online here.
Remember: “Each time you stop and interrupt the pattern of anxiety. You are rewiring and training your brain to take a different path.”