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I work with adults and children who suffer with Anxiety, and guess what? The first thing we talk about before we get to work is breathing. When I lead a #MiniMeYoga 2 Hour Workshop for Grownups, we talk a lot about breathing.
Children and adults who have suffered a traumatic event, or events (the root cause or causes of Anxiety), all have breathing issues. I’m not talking about Asthma, but I am talking about breathing.
When you live in “Survival Mode” where your brain is functioning as Survival Brain, your breathing is very shallow. You live in a state of “High Alert” think “Danger Will Robinson”. Your brain is asking your body to stay prepared at all times for danger and trouble. That is no way to live-literally.
You need deep breathing for both relaxation and brain activity. according to an article in The Guardian:
“The rhythm of breathing co-ordinates electrical activity across a network of brain regions associated with smell, memory, and emotions, and can enhance their functioning, according to a new study by researchers at Northwestern University. The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that breathing does not merely supply oxygen to the brain and body, but may also organise the activity of populations of cells within multiple brain regions to help orchestrate complex behaviours.”
In other words, you don’t do your most complex problem-solving when you’re freaked out. If you suffer from Anxiety, you tend to be freaked out a lot.
One of the most important things we can teach young children is diaphragmatic breathing, or deep-belly breathing. By teaching them this alone, we are giving them a way to regulate their emotions. We tend to calm down much faster and sooner when we are taking slow deep breaths.
For more information about the Mini Me Yoga 2 Hour Workshop for Grownups:
The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/science/neurophilosophy/2016/dec/23/breathing-modulates-brain-activity-and-mental-function
As a culture we give all the appearances of a race of people addicted to the negative and talking about the negative. Notice how easy it is to get into a conversation with someone about a topic that is dark, or about a third person.
The same can be said about the Healing Process. We can become so addicted to talking about our “story” or “issues”, that they become our identity and rob us of the ability to heal because we are stuck sitting and spinning, around and around about the same topic related to an event in the past where we were harmed in some way. Our emotions are engaged, our egos are entangled in the emotions, making it seem impossible to stop because everything feels relevant and necessary and important.
I want to be clear, I have done it too. If you look in the “About” section of my website, you’ll see how much Work I’ve done, some of which did involve some sitting and spinning, so please don’t think I’m excluding myself from this conversation at all- I’m not.
Therapy-the kind where we sit and talk to someone about the thing or things that happened- can be very constructive if it leads you to a greater sense of empathy and understanding of yourself and the people involved in whatever your specific wounding is or was.
However, if what you want is true healing of the anxiety you’re facing, what you need is energy and brain work- not talk. You need to be able to safely release the negative emotions you’ve been carrying, and also change your brain patterns so you can move on with your life. The best way to do this is through meditation and energy work. Meditation changes your brain patterns by creating new neuro-pathways. You end up using more of your brain and it actually makes you smarter. Energy work such a Jikiden Reiki, heals emotional energy trapped in the body.
Talk is cheap because it robs you of forward movement. When I work with my clients, we don’t talk, we work. We dig in and we move energy. Healing is work worth engaging in.
Stress is the known, the conscious thing you are dreading or concerned about. Anxiety, however is unconscious. It’s the panic attack that hits you “out of nowhere”. It’s the fight with your partner over laundry that gets completely out of control and the next thing you know, you are having a screaming match over socks. It’s the recurring nightmares-all of it.
I deal with the realm of psycho-spiritual Healing and the Unconscious. I’ve been on this Path since I was 19 years old and learned about the Work of Carl Jung. I work with Archetypes in the Meditations I do with my clients to help them Heal from Trauma and Anxiety. The Energy Work I do releases Trauma held in the mind and body so the client can experience Peace.
The reason there are so many wounded Souls out there wounding other Souls, is that The Great Work-the Process of truly Knowing yourself-is not for the faint of Heart! It’s bloody hard work! The Process of reclaiming your True Self and learning to live in the Present Moment is a deep exploring of your wounds: facing your demons and having the strength to let them go.
Anyone who has suffered Trauma will prefer the darkness they know to the Light they don’t know. Of course this doesn’t make sense to you. You didn’t have your brain wired for danger and drama because of an event, or ongoing events in childhood or young adulthood, or adulthood. We are the ones who duck when we hear a loud noise or have strange personal rituals around bathing, food or sleeping. Thankfully my junk only comes up occasionally now-because I did and continue to do a lot of work to keep it that way. I’m a Healer so it’s a Job Requirement. I stay clean so that when I work with you, our work is clean. my ego isn’t a part of the equation.
It’s so important to remember that we all need a variety of tools. Medication is an important stabilizer, but it is truly naive to believe for a moment that meds will make everything all better-that’s honestly not what they’re for. They keep you stable while you are working on your issues. If you’ve been frustrated that more isn’t happening in your life now that you’re taking the correct medication, or you feel you’ve hit a roadblock, it’s because you need more.
Therapy can be essential, but it can also be a distraction. If you are learning about yourself and growing as a person, great! If you are sitting and spinning and avoiding, and complaining and crying endlessly over the same events over and over again, then you’re wasting your own valuable time and money. Energy work will assist you in moving deeply into what is hurting you and it will also assist you in releasing it all.
When I do Energy Work with clients, I work with #JikidenReiki and #LIfeActivation and #CrystalHealing. Reiki is now recognized as a very useful Healing Tool for everything from Cancer to smoking cessation. Energy Work is essential because it can bypass the ego’s protective mechanisms and provided needed pain relief-both emotional and physical. The Life Activation is used to charge the body with Light and Hope. Again-this is an Energy Healing that bypasses logic and ego and provides deep healing.
Meditation is essential for brain re-patterning. When you are in Depression, Anxiety and Trauma, your brain gets stuck in “fight or flight” as a response to the event or events that occurred in the past. Your brain kept you alive. Now, your job is to help your brain heal by changing those defence mechanisms. The war is over, but your brain doesn’t know it yet. Max Meditation TM is a system that uses the five known forms of Meditation, so it creates 5 new neuropathways every time we use it-this is productive brain development. With children I use the #MiniMeYoga Meditation System TM which was developed from the Max Meditation System. It is effective and fun for the children while assisting them in learning valuable relaxation techniques. When I teach adults the Mini Me Yoga 2 Hour Workshop, I show adults how to playfully and gently assist young children in learning essential self-regulation strategies.
I also use my own system called the Castle Meditation System TM, in which I assist you in reclaiming your sense of personal sovereignty, and we work with the Chakras. Each one of those energy centres in your body has medicine to share with you and assists you in living more fully in your body. Most people think Meditation is about getting out of your body. The systems I use were designed to help you go deeper in and find stability and peace.
“Adults who suffer from developmental trauma may go on to develop Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or “cPTSD,” which is characterized by difficulties in emotional regulation, consciousness and memory, self-perception, distorted perceptions of perpetrators of abuse, difficulties in relationships with other people, and negative effects on the meaningfulness of life.” –Grant Hilary Brenner M.D.
In other words, if, like me, you suffered from abuse or some other form of trauma as a child, it doesn’t go away. It affects every aspect of your life. It will keep you from everything that you really wanted and needed because it’s still asking you to deal with it.
Are you still having flashbacks? Are you having panic attacks? Are you still single because you’re afraid of being in a relationship, or have you noticed your “picker” is broken ( you choose partners who are not emotionally available, or are selfish and abusive)?
The flashbacks and the panic attacks are your Soul’s way of getting your attention. You aren’t meant to live in fear anymore.
It’s so hard when you’re in it because what you think of as normal isn’t . It’s simply what you’re used to-the lack of sleep, all of it.
Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Get real and get honest- if any of what I’ve said is you, go and talk to a Professional.
- Don’t let shame keep you from getting the help you need. What happened “to you” all those years ago was NOT your creation. You didn’t cause it, you couldn’t control it and you could not cure it
- It is usual for a child or an adult child to feel tremendous guilt for either surviving the experience or being unable to have stopped it. I felt like this about my mother’s cancer. I felt incredible guilt that I couldn’t keep her alive- as if I even had the power to. Children have very different perspectives than adults as their brains are still developing.
- When you’re the survivor of an event or ongoing abuse or trauma of some kind, you live in a state of stress, anxiety and “fight or flight”. Your “emotional brain” shut down at whatever age the trauma occurred. This means you could be an adult who is 45, but emotionally you could be 3.
- Chances are, if you’ve survived developmental trauma and you haven’t sought treatment, you’ve moved around a lot. In the past ten years, how often have you moved for whatever reason?
- How many different job have you held over the past five years? Depending on your brain, you may have either been at the same job for years afraid to move, or may have changed jobs once a year or more often
You deserve stability and security. You do. Take a baby step. Look in the mirror and tell yourself the Truth. There is help to be had if you want Peace. Love yourself enough to get help.
This one is a toughy even for famous people. It’s a really good idea to prepare well in advance of the event so you are able to feel confident.
- Do your research and be very thorough
- Organize your notes and thoughts and go over them so that you feel comfortable with the topic.
- Give yourself a LOT of prep time
- If you are given a last-minute assignment, be as organized as possible- this will substantially calm your nerves.
- Make a list of absolutely everything you need for that event and that day down to the smallest detail including the mints in your purse or favourite underwear. You will find this a very grounding and calming exercise as it gives you something real to focus on.
- If you can, go to the space where you will be speaking. Check and be sure you have everything you need. ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
- Go for a walk, a run, meditate, or do some form of exercise before your presentation
At the Time of the Event
- Breathe. In through your nose and out through your mouth
- Stay in the present moment and stay out of your head and in your Heart
- Regardless of what your ego tells you- you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be Good.
- Before you start, take a breath and allow your body to relax into the moment.
- Focus on your topic- not how you feel. Look for someone you know and smile at them and talk to them. If you have other friends or acquaintances in the group or crowd, look at them.
- Breathe. In through your nose and out through your mouth
- If you make an error, relax and correct it. Focus on the information
For further Study
- Take a Theatre Class
- Take an improvisation Class
- Work with a Coach
- Trust yourself
- Practice meditation
According to Olivia Remes PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge..
“women are almost twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men. People with anxiety are more likely to miss days from work and are less productive. Young people with anxiety are also less likely to enter school and complete it….”
“Women faced with life stressors are more likely to ruminate about them, which can increase their anxiety, while men engage more in active, problem-focused coping. Other studies suggest that women are more likely to experience physical and mental abuse than men, and abuse has been linked to the development of anxiety disorders. Child abuse has been associated with changes in brain chemistry and structure, and according to previous research, women who have experienced sexual abuse may have abnormal blood flow in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in emotion processing.”
That’s a lot to process, isn’t it? So much of it is historical cultural conditioning. It’s quite similar with ADHD and Depression also. Women get overwhelmed and distracted and tend to suffer in silence.
So now the question is, what do we do? What do we as women do to deal with anxiety?
Here are my suggestions:
- Start with being really lovingly and gently honest with yourself about whether or not you need help managing your Anxiety.
- Recognize that if there is a problem, there is also a solution.
- Love yourself enough to get help—break it down. What do you really need?
- Anxiety is an emotional issue that affects every aspect of your life. It is about feelings, not logic and rationale. Be aware that trying to “talk yourself out of it” is a shame-based idea that simply doesn’t work.
- If you suffered trauma as a child, it is completely natural that you would be anxious as an adult. Stop beating yourself up.
- Look into ways of grounding yourself in your body and getting out of your head. Walking, Yoga and Tai Chi, are some examples of gently connecting with your body. Running will actually continue to engage your “fight or flight” responses because you are running and your heart rate is increased. I have first-hand experience with this with kids. We make sure our little guy stops when he’s had enough because physical activity can actually wind him up rather than calm him down. (Our son is recovering from childhood trauma , pre-adoption.)
- Meditation is essential for changing brain patterns caused by trauma and anxiety.
We, as women, no matter how tough and strong we are, need to recognize when we are in trouble— whether it’s a small thing or a big thing—and not feel guilty for needing help.