So many clients that I work with have a low to high level of stress and anxiety and I work with them to help calm the nervous system in order for them to be able to be more in the moment then reacting to their environment. As I have worked with more and more clients that have this base line anxiety I looked deeper into the phenomenon and came to some surprising and yet straight forward reasons. This lead me to investigate the history of fear.
There was a time when human beings walked the earth and had to fend off predators. At this time fear was a blessing as it protected us. When fear came up it was usually a life or death situation and how we reacted in the moment would determine wether we lived or died. Adrenaline and other chemicals course through the blood and our bodies reacted quickly to preserve us, it is instinctual. We used our fight, flight or freeze reaction in those moments.
Over time we developed tools, weapons, shelter, fire, agriculture, technology and many other miraculous things that protected us. This took many hundreds and thousands of years and our bodies and nervous systems did not need to react as often to real threats. This is more prominent in first world countries as we settled the land and made it safer. Once in a while something might happen and we had to react and that flight, fight or freeze reaction will come out but most of us did not often have to fear for our lives.
Over the last 30 years something has changed, we walk out the door and there are cars speeding by; we might lose our job any day due to downsizing; there are terrorists out there somewhere; we fear our neighbours that we don’t know; there are many homeless on the streets to worry about; what if our boss does not like our work; what if I don’t get any likes on a post I put up… there are so many things that run through our heads that our bodies perceive as threats, some real and some made up by our subconscious. A lot of us are in this constant state of worry to one degree or another and the nervous system reacts to those perceived threats.
When the minds is in constant worry our bodies react by firing the flight, fight or freeze mechanism and dumping hormones into the blood constantly which throws the body out of alignment. This stresses the whole system as we brace for something bad to happen at any moment 24/7. Our body does not understand that this is not an immediate threat that it needs to deal with and continues to be ready to react. When we are in this state, it can be subtle or really obvious, we breathe more shallow, our body constricts and our minds tries to figure out what the threat is and becomes more and more reactive. Our sleep suffers, we become more moody and we react more aggressively to stimulus.
Over time we get used to being in this state and it becomes normalized but that stress takes a toll. It hurts our health, relationships and our lives.
Our world is very different then it was just 30 years ago and with all of the stimulus we experience the stress can pile up. Meditation, float tanks, massage and other modalities can help with relieving some of these symptoms but a change in how we look at stress, fear and anxiety can be as much of a help in aiding our body and mind relax. Some people go to medication and that can be helpful but if we do not look at the root of that stress it will still be there.
As I continue with this blog I will continue to add more tools to help with identifying stress and to help overcome it. There are many things that can help, however we first need to identify that there is a level of stress in our bodies that we want to release.
My work stimulates the nervous system to help it let go of the fear response while also relaxing the mind so that the whole system can relax. I also offer some tools so that clients can look at things a little differently and help their body and mind trust that they are safe. This has a more lasting effect then other modalities and doing 3-6 sessions as well as implementing some shifts in the way you view your world can have long lasting results.