Mindfulness: A New, Ancient Anxiety Treatment

Mindfulness is a natural remedy for anxiety, stress,and worry. Mindfulness helps increase happiness, peace, and joy.   Sound good?

What is Mindfulness?

womanonhardwoodfloorA simple definition is very difficult… experiencing it is easier than describing it.   Mindfulness is a way of being…being mindful. It involves focus and attention on only what is happening in the here and now. It’s about noticing the present moment.

You’d be surprised how many moments of your day go by WITHOUT your conscious attention to the here and now.

Ever had a time when you were driving and suddenly realized you missed or almost missed a turn, or that you were further along the road than you realized because you were driving on auto-pilot? At times like that, the body and the mind are doing two different things.

Integrating Mind and Body

Mindfulness means keeping the mind and the body together in the present moment. Unless you have a magic time machine, your body’s only choice is to be in the present moment. But your mind has the amazing ability to go to other places.

Your mind can go to the future, worrying or anticipating what may or may not happen. It can also go to the past, rehashing what already happened, wondering if you did the right thing, guessing what other people thought, reliving a positive or negative experience.

Stress and anxiety often result when the mind goes somewhere else. This is why I incorporate mindfulness into my anxiety treatment work with clients.  Zen Buddhists have known this for centuries.  Western medicine is just now realizing the value of mindfulness for anxiety disorders.

How to Enjoy Your Tea

Thich Nhat Hanh, famous Zen Buddhist Master, said: “You need the practice of mindfulness to bring your mind back to the body and establish yourself in the moment…Suppose you are drinking a cup of tea. When you hold your cup, you may like to breathe in, to bring your mind back to your body, and you become fully present…You are not lost in the past, in the future, in your projects, in your worries…you enjoy your tea.”

Mindfulness often begins with slowing down and consciously focusing your attention on what you can notice in the here and now with your senses: seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching.

You can notice how your tea cup feels in your hand, smell the aroma, feel the heat, taste the different flavors on your tongue. As you simply notice, you become the “observer.”

Notice and Accept

The mindful “observer” can simply notice physical sensations, and then begin to observe thoughts and feelings as well, all without judging or analyzing.

Observing your thoughts and emotions in a non-judgmental and accepting way helps you approach stressful situations more clearly and in a mindful (i.e. not mindless) way. Rather than have an automatic anxiety reaction to a distressing event, you will be better able to mindfully choose a more objective response.

Practicing Mindfulness for Anxiety Relief

There are many different ways to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can involve a formal practice, and it can also be integrated into many of your usual daily activities.

Woman practicing yoga.A formal practice might mean setting aside time for a sitting meditation or mindful movement practices like walking meditation or yoga. However, this is not necessary.

Mindfulness transforms stress and anxiety when it becomes a way of life… a way of being where you are truly present in the moments of your life. You must be present to love. You must be present to experience peace or contentment. You must be present to feel pure joy.

Moment-to-moment mindfulness involves a relaxed state of awareness, noticing your inner and outer worlds without judging or trying to control anything. This state of being requires commitment and lots of practice.

Simple Day-toDay Mindfulness

You can be mindful as you focus your attention on your feet planted firmly on the ground. You can practice mindfulness while eating, walking, sitting with your pet, brushing your teeth, walking in the forest…when doing just about anything.   According to John Teasdale, a leading mindfulness researcher, “Mindfulness is a habit, it’s something the more one does, the more likely one is to be in that mode with less and less effort…it’s a skill that can be learned… Mindfulness isn’t difficult. What’s difficult is to remember to be mindful.”

Emotional Eating: The Mind-Body Connection

Ever eat when you’re stressed?  Eat when you’re not really hungry?

Join the club!

Wired to Eat Under Stress

Looking in the RefrigeratorWe’re actually hard-wired to eat when we’re under stress or anxiety. This comes from the brain’s evolutionary process, from a time when fight-or-flight was a necessary daily survival skill (think Cave People). The energy gained from the extra food calories could help the body react and survive.

Our brains still have that old wiring that unconsciously tells us to eat when we feel stress. And every time you go for that candy or chips (or fill-in-the-blank with your stress-food of choice), you reinforce that wiring.

So is it food you are really craving?

Answering YES to more than one of the following questions is a clue that your eating patterns may be driven by emotions rather than hunger:

Are You an Emotional Eater?

 

  • Do you often eat when you’re not physically hungry?
  • Does your hunger come on suddenly?
  • Do you crave specific foods (often times, carbs or sugar)?
  • Do you want to eat when you’re upset, lonely, sad, worried, bored, or irritable?
  • Do you sometimes feel a sense of regret or guilt after eating?
  • Do you find yourself eating unconsciously (and suddenly surprised at what or how much you just ate)?
  • Have you been on lots of diets and put lots of energy into losing the same weight again and again?
  • Do you feel like even though you just ate, you still want more?

 

No matter what you weigh, if you often eat when you aren’t hungry and any of the above questions ring true for you, you are using food to fill other needs.

The Heart of the Problem

There is never enough food to make upsetting situations or feelings disappear. There will never be enough sweets to make sadness or boredom go away…never enough snacks to make anger or stress go away.  Therefore, emotional eating never satisfies.

Problem #1: Using food as a means to feel better about a situation or about yourself.  This is comfort eating.  If you do this, then comfort is what you really crave!

Problem #2: There’s a good chance you’re not even aware of why or how you use food for comfort. It’s a subconscious and automatic behavior pattern. You may not know which emotional states cause you to reach for food.

The Heart of the Solution

Bathroom Scale iStock_000001667800XSmall

==> Resolve the underlying issues that cause you to use food for anything other than physical hunger.

This is the real solution to ending emotional eating, ending battles with your weight gain, and ending yo-yo dieting.

 

Find out what you REALLY crave

We make about 200 choices a day about food and we’re only aware of about 25, according to Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating. You’ve got to get real with yourself by increasing your awareness of what you’re eating and why.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to get connected to your own body and understand more about both your physical needs and your emotional needs. Then you can consciously choose healthy and supportive ways to fill the real “craving” of the moment.

If you’re reaching for food to help you handle upsetting situations or feelings, you will never be satisfied. To quote song lyrics, it’s like “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

Maybe you’re going for chocolate when what you really crave is to feel respected. Maybe you’re eating too much ice cream when what you really crave is to have a friend to be there for you. Maybe you’re finishing off the bag of chips when what you really crave is to feel like you’re not a failure.

Start transforming your relationship with food, and with yourselfwoman-on-scale-istock_000011472381xsmall

  • Know the difference between physical hunger and emotional hungers.
  • Keep a food log: what, when, where, why are you eating?  What is your emotional state when you eat?
  • Ask for help. Emotional eating is automatic and subconscious, so it’s often hard to identify the emotional component of your own eating patterns without a little help.
  • Interrupt emotional eating and ask yourself:  why am I eating now and what am I really craving?
  • Learn new tools for dealing with stress and emotional upsets in healthier ways.

Have the courage to get real with yourself and you can transform your relationship with food (and with yourself) forever!

 

Why Meditate?

This is a question near and dear to me right now, having recently returned from a 10 day meditation course. I learned Vipassana meditation, a technique taught by Buddha 25 centuries ago as part of his path to enlightenment.

Meditating - Di Philippi, Holistic Anxiety Therapist, Wellness Counseling Milwaukee

For 10 solid days, I meditated for more than 10 hours a day. WOW! I was taught a very specific technique to calm the mind by disciplining it to focus on the body. In this way, meditation is mind-body technique, a mindfulness technique.  

I find this particular technique of Vipassana meditation very deeply calming for my mind, allowing the space for inner peace. I also had a huge healing of a physical issue in my body, but that’s a topic for another day.

 Calming and quieting the mind is such a challenge! Our amazing minds are constantly thinking, thinking, thinking. Going, going, going. It’s no wonder that anxiety starts in the mind.

There are many types of meditation. I took a 3-day Neuroscience training course on dozens of different techniques and research now shows which types of meditation cause specific changes in brain chemistry. Way cool.

But the bottom line is that all types of meditation have the effect of calming the mind. This makes meditation a perfect tool for relief from stress and anxiety.

 Benefits: Body, Mind, Spirit, Emotions, Energy

My clients who meditate (meditators call it “sitting”) consistently boast these benefits:

  • less anxiety
  • more peaceful –  more peace of mind
  • feeling more grounded and centered
  • calmer mind and more focus to better deal with life stressors
  • relaxation and clearer thinking make problems become smaller
  • less overwhelm
  • more happiness (from all of the above!)

Physical benefits of meditation (backed by research) include:

  • decreased blood pressure
  • lower cholesterol level
  • improved sleep
  • decreased pain and tension including tension headaches
  • less ulcers
  • less muscle and joint problems
  • increased serotonin production that improves mood
  • improved immune system
  • increased energy level

Making a New Habit

Like every other technique to reduce stress and anxiety, meditation benefits only come when you actually do it consistently. Like brushing your teeth only helps keep plaque away if you do it regularly.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for AnxietyMeditating regularly literally changes the way your brain works. It’s about changing the habitual way that your mind operates that causes stress and anxiety.

Meditation literally changes your brain waves. The goal is to slow down the brain waves. The more time there is between thoughts, the more peaceful you feel and the more opportunity you have to consciously choose your thoughts and actions (rather than respond out of stress or habitual old patterns).

The time invested in regular meditation practice will actually make you more effective and decisive and more productive with the rest of your time. Not to mention happier!  What a great investment.

Why You Can’t “Just Meditate” Without Learning How

Because the brain is so used to being busy and going 100 miles an hour in all different directions, it’s very difficult to just sit down and say “I’ll just meditate now” without learning a specific meditation technique. If you just decide one day to sit quietly and “do nothing,” you will find that your mind wanders nearly every second, and you’ll get easily frustrated and discouraged. So learn a meditation technique and practice that technique.

No multi-tasking is allowed when meditating (that defeats the purpose!). With practice, your mind will eventually slow down. Be patient and know it is normal for the mind to wander. The goal is to slow it down, not turn it off – that’s not realistic.

I teach clients many different mindfulness and meditation techniques, some of which can be done in as little as 30 seconds at a time. Others take 5 or 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Here’s an easy 3 minute meditation. Or you can try 3 guided meditations on my Less Stress Now CD. Just find a technique you like and stick with it. Yes, it’ hard for all of us to start a new habit, but talk to anyone who meditates and you’ll find out that the investment is well worth it.

Easy 3 Minute Metta Meditation for Stress & Anxiety

Metta meditation comes from Buddhist traditions. This loving-kindness meditation consists primarily of connecting to the intention of wishing ourselves and others happiness and peace. 

Here is a quick and easy way to start. Sit in a quiet space and close your eyes. Start with three deep and cleansing breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth) and then just breathe normally. Repeat the phrases below silently to yourself as you imagine love and compassion flowing generously from your heart.

With every phrase, allow yourself to relax into the intentions they express, as you pause and take 2 slow and deep breaths…

May I be well.Di Philippi, Wellness Counseling Milwaukee, Work Hard-Rest Hard for less anxiety
May I be happy.
May I be peaceful.

May all my friends and family be well.
May all my friends and family be happy.
May all my friends and family be peaceful.

May all beings be well.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be peaceful.

May all beings know love, compassion, peace and harmony.

*********************************************************

Ahhhh… It’s hard NOT to feel more peaceful and less anxiety when you do this quick and easy meditation regularly.

The Anxiety of Indecision

success_failure-signs-istock_000003986459xsmallHaving trouble making decisions?    Does decision-making cause anxiety?

Actually, indecision itself causes MORE anxiety than making a decision. 

It’s the indecision that causes What Ifs, worry, second-guessing, and bad feelings that come along with feeling stuck. 

Step 1:  Make a Decision

In most cases, it doesn’t really matter so much what you decide.  Remind yourself there is never a “perfect” answer and rarely a “right” answer.  In the big picture, there are many options that would serve you well.  And ALL of them have both pros and cons.  All or any one of them is usually better than no decision.  

As life unfolds, it will present you with many opportunities to decide again or make another choice.  On the other hand, analysis paralysis is pretty much guaranteed to keep you going nowhere.  It limits the capacity for life to unfold and bring you new possibilities and new joys.

Step 2:  Make it Right

As soon as you make a decision, start complimenting yourself on the decision you’ve made.  Be proud of yourself and tell yourself you’ve made the right decision. 

Thinking and feeling it is right is what makes it right. 

Fear of The Dreaded Unknown

fearofunknownDo you dread change?  Worry about the future?  Fear the unfamiliar? 

Why do we fear The Unknown? 

Remember, fear is a natural human instinct.  Your brain is wired to seek safety.  Your brain isn’t sure whether new things or The Unknown things will be safe, so it goes on high alert…hence, FEAR and ANXIETY.

Fear of The Unknown prevents us from taking charge, stops us from joyfully living life on our terms, and keeps us stuck in a rut (aka our comfort zone)…simply because it is the familiar thing to do.

Uncertainty = Discomfort

We don’t like the discomfort that comes with uncertainty. 

Did you ever try to control things to avoid that uncertainty? If only we could control everything, then there would be no uncomfortable uncertainty, right?  The problem is that since it’s humanly impossible to control everything, trying to do so inevitably creates more anxiety! 

Ironically, the key to feeling more comfortable with uncertainty is to become more comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

The key to overcoming fear of The Unknown is to increase your tolerance for uncertainty.

Where to start?

  1. Take an objective look at which aspects of the issue are IN or OUT of your control. 
     
  2. Take action on things that are IN your control.  There is always something you can take some positive action on right now.  You can’t take action on things that are not in the NOW.  So stay in the present moment and brainstorm your options for those things that you do have some control over. Having taken some positive actions will feel more in control, more centered, more comfortable.  It will be easier to deal with the things that are out of your control when you can see that some things are actually in your control.
     
  3. For those things that are OUT of your control, see if you can increase your tolerance for uncertainty.  We all need to build this skill because the truth is that many things in life are uncertain.  If you dwell on them, they will control you.  Learning to accept the inherent uncertainty and lack of control of certain aspects of life is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety. 

Thoughts Create Feelings

Thinking concept in word tag cloud on white backgroung

Learning to increase your tolerance for uncertainty is a way of feeling more comfortable facing The Unknown. 

It all starts with taking charge of your thoughts because thoughts come first and create feelings.  

Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings.  Better thoughts lead to better feelings. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is about retraining your brain how to think differently so you can feel better.

Here’s some techniques to try:

  1. Stop dwelling on only the possible negative outcomes (what good could come from this situation?)
  2. Stop catastrophizing about the worst case scenario (it’s 99% more likely something better than that will happen)
  3. Replace fear of The Unknown with curiosity about the positive possibilities
  4. Remind yourself that life is supposed to be uncertain (otherwise it would be completely boring and unchanging)
  5. Remind yourself of past times when things felt uncomfortable but worked out OK
  6. If you have belief in a Higher Power, have faith that there’s a bigger plan than you can know, and that you are never alone

Anxiety from Facebook?

Everybody loves Facebook, right?

Then I wonder why a Google search for “want to quit using Facebook” gets 281 million search results. Compare that to “want to quit smoking” which gets a mere 30 million hits.

Facebook and social media have changed the way people interact and have relationships with one another – no doubt about it.

We all know the benefits of Facebook for keeping in touch, feeling connected to others, sharing information.

facebooklike  However, my clients also tell me about lots of stress with Facebook:

→ Feeling not good enough, compared to the Facebook Faces that others put on

→ Feeling everyone else has more fun, has no problems, has more friends, etc.

→ Relationship conflicts/misunderstandings over Facebook posts

→ Trust issues arising about a partner’s use of Facebook or selection of Friends

→ Feeling even more time pressured, because Facebook chews up a lot of time

→ Feeling uncomfortable or anxious if they’re NOT able to check Facebook throughout the day (a symptom of addiction)

→ Staying up late on Facebook instead of getting needed sleep (another symptom)

What Does the Research say?

Mixed results:  Some studies show Facebook helps people feel connected to other people and can increase a sense of well-being.

Studies also show Facebook can affect your mood – in either direction!  Researchers found that for every negative post, there was an extra 1.29 negative posts than normal in that person’s social network. Every upbeat post caused an extra 1.75 positive posts in the social network.

Holistic Anxiety therapy with Di Philippi, MA, LPC

I was surprised to find plenty of research showing that Facebook can increase stress, increase anxiety and negatively affect a person’s sense of self…

1.  Over half of the respondents of one study felt uneasy when they were unable to access their social media, feeling a constant impulse to check for updates, increasing stress and anxiety.

2.  Additionally, two-thirds had difficulty sleeping due to anxiety and other negative emotions after they had used social media sites.

3.  The constant updating of Facebook led many respondents to frequently compare themselves to others, leading to feelings of inadequacy and increasing anxiety.

4.  Another study showed Facebook can increase social anxiety when a person is faced with actual in-person meetings.

5.  Researchers studied 82 young, frequent Facebook users and found that when the participants increased their Facebook use, their state of well-being declined. Those who increased the amount of time they spent with people face-to-face had an increased sense of well-being.

This is just a sampling of studies on negative effects of social media sites on users. On the flip side, other studies have shown Facebook to have positive effects. See this New Yorker article for more.

What is Right for You?

You are not alone if you have found Facebook to cause stress, anxiety, or take up too much time.

Are you feeling pressure from Facebook, or feeling over-connected to constant checking? You may want to check out the 99 Days of Freedom from Facebook online study on how life without Facebook impacts user happiness.  This is a study you can participate in.

I think that (as with most things in life!) finding the right balance is key. Being aware of the positive and negative effects of social media helps you make very conscious choices about what’s right for you.

Busy and Productive are Not the Same Thing

Di Philippi, Wellness Counseling Milwaukee; Busy creates overwhelm and anxiety
Are you so busy that it causes you stress or anxiety? 

You try so hard to get it all done. 
You’re going non-stop. 
You multi-task, trying to maximize every minute. 


Always More To Do

There’s just more and more to do these days.  Most of my clients complain that they are so busy “DOING” that there is no time to rest or play.  There is no such thing as “Me Time.” 

Too much “DOING” and BUSY-NESS eventually wears you down with fatigue, low energy, sleep problems, illness, anxiety, irritability, and dissatisfaction. 

If you wake up the next day and go right back to push, push, push…the quality and productivity of your work goes down.  In the end, you actually get less done.

High Intensity Interval Training

Di Philippi, Wellness Counseling Milwaukee; Work Hard-Rest Hard to reduce anxietyWork smarter not harder with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  This is a concept used in fitness and athletics.  Interval training means alternating intense periods of exercise coupled with adequate recovery/rest time. 

  1. Work hard – really give it your 100% effort and focus for a short interval
  2. Rest!
  3. Repeat Steps 1 & 2

In the fitness world, this ultimately maximizes productivity of time spent working out because it makes most efficient/productive use of your energy and muscles.  Athletes don’t lift weights while trying to simultaneously trying to do two other things.

Busy and Productive are Not the Same Thing

You can apply this High Intensity Interval Training to your life and to your To Do Lists.  You cannot do everything at your 100% all the time without some recovery time.  It’s not humanly possible.

Busy and productivity are not the same thing.  Busy all the time leads to feeling anxiety and overwhelm, which makes it harder to get things done.  Productivity means alternating “DOING” with recovery time, which reduces overwhelm and anxiety and ultimately makes it easier to get things done.  You’ll feel better about yourself too.

To use HIIT in day-to-day life:

  • Don’t multi-task – either work hard or rest hard
  • Take a 5 min recovery period for every hour of work
  • Don’t multi-task during your recovery period
  • Value your recovery time as much as your “DOING” time

No Multi-tasking during Recovery Time

Holistic Anxiety Treatment with Di Philippi, Milwaukee, BrookfieldThe old thoughts that told you to keep pushing more and more will tempt you to do something while you’re resting in order to “make productive use of that time.”   You will have to remind yourself that the reverse is actually true!

Even neuroscience research is now showing that multi-tasking is really a misnomer.  In the brain it is considered “switch-tasking”, with the brain constantly switching back and forth so fast it appears to us to be simultaneous.  Switch-tasking actually uses more brain energy than doing one thing at a time.

Recovery time is downtime — no “doing” but instead resting.  Many people have told me they are so used to running around like a chicken with their head cut off that they forgot how to rest and relax.   So here are a few reminders: 

  • Sit (and do nothing else!)
  • Do Mindful Belly Breathing
  • Take a nap
  • Do a quick meditation
  • Sit or play with your pet
  • Mindful eating (Note to Self: eating while on your computer or phone is not recovery)
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Go for short walk
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Listen to Happy music
  • Stretch
  • Read a book for fun
  • Call a friend

Apply HIIT Interval Style to Your Overall Week

Schedule in recovery time into your overall week or it won’t happen.  There may be a day that requires you to push at your 100% all day with long hours.  This is life.  But please don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do that every day and still be at your 100%

Sprinters give it their all.  But they couldn’t do this if they continued jogging for the rest of the day.  Running yourself ragged is not the answer!


“Clap Along”

greatideaThe #1 goal most of my clients have when they come to see me for counseling:  Get rid of Anxiety and Be Happy.

Check out this music video of the song “Happy” by Pharrell Willams from the movie Despicable Me 2. 
(YouTube video click here)

There are over 325,000,000 views of this video!

Happy is also currently the #1 music download on Amazon
(Click here to purchase – $1.29).   I listen to it over and over when I need a mood booster.

Music therapy has been shown to be very helpful in shifting and improving your mood, and reducing anxiety.  I find this simple and playful song is an inexpensive method of music therapy that has worked for both me and my clients.

Let yourself really sit and focus on listening to the words and music.  Singing along outloud helps too.  If you are really focusing, I bet you can’t listen to this song without a subconscious tapping along with the music…and perhaps feeling a little less anxiety and a little more happy.

Anxiety FAQ

This is the most Frequently Asked Question I get asked about anxiety…

FAQ - Di Philippi, Holistic Anxiety Counselor, Milwaukee, BrookfieldMy biggest question is how can anxiety/stress create such scary physical symptoms?  I’ve been to the doctor and they can’t find anything wrong, but I still get chest tightness, heart palpitations, dizziness, etc.   Also, how do these symptoms persist even though I do not feel anxious or stressed?

My Answer….

Anxiety Starts in Your Mind

Di Philippi, MA, LPC, Holistic Anxiety Therapist, MilwaukeeIt’s important to understand that anxiety is a mind-body condition…

Your thoughts and automatic reactions to situations trigger a part of your brain called the amygdala, a critical part of your “fight or flight response.”  In medicine and psychology, we refer to this as the “stress response.”

This automatic stress response triggers real physiological responses in your body by increasing production of certain chemicals in the brain/body/bloodstream.  These chemicals are your stress hormones:  cortisol, adrenaline, DHEA and a few others.

Anxiety Moves into Your Body

We all need a certain amount of stress hormones to function normally.  However, with extreme or chronic stress and anxiety, your body becomes overloaded with stress chemicals and an imbalance is created.  At some point your body cannot keep up with the processing of all these excess stress chemicals, so it cannot continue functioning “business as usual.”   Thus, eventually physical symptoms of anxiety appear.

Anxiety can create some pretty scary symptoms, such as:

  • Chest tightnesscropped-wcmheader-2_nophone.jpg
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness or light-headedness or “out of body” feeling
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes or perspiration
  • Numbing or tingling in legs, arms or head
  • Nausea
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Choking sensation

Anxiety or a panic attack can come up immediately in response to given situation (such as when you’re giving a presentation, or late for an important meeting, or stuck in an elevator, or faced with your fear of flying).  In such cases, you’re aware that physical anxiety symptoms are a direct response to a stressor or anxiety going on right in that moment.

“But I Don’t Even FEEL Anxious”

However, physical anxiety symptoms don’t always appear like that, right in the moment.  They can pop up even at seemingly random times, even when you don’t feel stressed or anxious in that particular moment.  It can happen while you are sitting watching TV or even while you are sleeping.

This seems random but it’s not.  It can happen for two different reasons:

anxiety-magnifying-glass-istock_000013887814xsmall1.  There is an accumulation of stress chemicals over time.  When you experience continued stress or anxiety-provoking thoughts or situations repeatedly, the excess stress chemicals build up over time.  You may not experience the physical symptoms until later when your body simply can’t handle the overload of chemicals any longer.  It’s like a delayed or cumulative response.

2.  Often times, anxiety occurs in the sub-conscious part of your mind. This is tricky because the word “sub-conscious” literally means “below your consciousness.”  In other words, you’re not always aware of what’s causing the anxiety, and you may not be feeling anxious in a particular moment, yet the physical symptoms are your sign that chronic stress or anxiety is there under the surface (in your sub-conscious mind).

Get to the Root Cause of the Problem

Regardless of how or when physical anxiety symptoms may show up for you, what we know is this:  anxiety symptoms are triggered by thoughts and processes going on in your mind.

Therefore, the key to getting rid of anxiety is retraining your thoughts and your amygdala so they don’t produce so many excess stress chemicals in the first place.  This is done with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), along with holistic mind-body techniques so you can learn how to take control of your physical symptoms and stop them in their tracks. [See more about my Holistic Treatment for Anxiety HERE.]