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Anxiety (and Depression!) Wreak Havoc On Our Lives!
Anybody that has ever experienced anxiety and its sidekick depression to any degree knows, firsthand, how crippling and life-disrupting they can be!
Anxiety disorders (such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder/agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and others) are the most prevalent mental health disorders of our time. They are associated with a high burden of numerous other chronic health challenges and are also widely under-recognized and under-treated in primary care. (1)
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge in the U.S today., afflicting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Per reports, only 36.9% of sufferers receive intervention for it (2).
I presume these numbers to be much higher considering the stigma around mental health challenges often leads people to be too ashamed to admit they struggle and/or prevents them from reaching out for help. Furthermore, based on my personal observations and those of the clients I now work with, the mental health system within our current medical paradigm falls miserably short when it comes to providing truly effective support and intervention around mental health challenges.
Psychosomatic Versus Somatopsychological
Breaking the cycle of anxiety is absolutely essential for optimal health and wellness as the cells of our bodies cannot withstand being continually bathed in the stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline.
A continual slow (or fast drip!) of these stress hormones wears the body down, triggers a cascade of inflammatory responses, and will exacerbate already existing health conditions.
Anxiety and other mental health challenges can absolutely lead to a wide array of physical symptoms including but not limited to aching muscles and joints, headaches, digestive disturbances, cardiac irregularities, and chronic fatigue.
Unresolved anxiety and other mental health challenges that trigger or fuel physical health complaints, gives rise to the term “psychosomatic"; which is commonly used when it is believed that the mind is causing physical illness. This term is commonly tossed around within the world of invisible chronic illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Lyme & Company, and many more!
While I can totally appreciate how triggering this term is to those that suffer from chronic health challenges (it surely was to me amidst my long journey with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), I now fully understand and embrace how destructive, subconscious thinking and behavioral patterns can absolutely trigger and fuel physical illness.
I am also a BIG proponent of the importance of neural rewiring and thought work techniques within a comprehensive approach to heal from chronic illness.
All this said, however, in most if not all cases where chronic illness coincides with mental health challenges (which is a common!), I feel a more appropriate term to describe the issue is “somatopsychological". This is when imbalances within the physiology and biochemistry of the body cause the mind to go haywire!
When there is dysfunction and broken biochemistry in the body, of course a person is going to be prone to destructive thinking and behavioral patterns, anxiety, and depression. And, until imbalances in the body are correctly addressed along side of neural rewiring and other cognitive behavioral interventions, the viscous stress-pain-illness cycle will continue! And, as this cycle continues, the dysfunction within the body becomes more deeply entrenched. It certainly did for me as I spent upwards of 15 years in this cycle!
The Issues In Our Tissues That Lead To Issues In The Mind!
The way I see it, there are 7 main factors that contribute to imbalances in the body and they are:
Reduced Cellular Energy! For optimal health, we need the mitochondria of our cells to be in tip top shape and thus be able to produce ample amounts of energy in the form of ATP. When our mitochondria get bogged down and damaged from various stressors, the body and brain will suffer!
Chronic Infections! The human microbiome is comprised of trillions of microbes including bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, and even parasites! Optimal health depends on these bugs playing nicely with one another and the cells of our body. Some microbes are beneficial, some are considered commensal (which means neutral) and can become non-beneficial under the right conditions, and others can be downright disruptive and should not be there at all! When the body’s immune defenses are down, we run the risk of the latter two instances occurring and thus triggering widespread inflammation.
Structural Misalignments! Chronic muscle tension can often cause bones to be pulled out of misalignment. Misalignments can then put stress on organ systems. Organ system stress leads to body and brain stress!
Gut Dysbiosis and Leaky Gut! The brain and gut are intricately connected! It is common knowledge now that gut inflammation and imbalances within the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract have deleterious effects on brain health and play a large role in mental health challenges. (3)
Toxic Overload! I’m sure that everyone can agree that toxins in general are bad and can cause harm in varying degrees. Truth of the matter, we are all exposed to thousands of toxic compounds each day via the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breath, the personal care and makeup products we put on our bodies, the household products we use to clean, and the buildings we live and work in. If we take in more toxins than our bodies can get rid of, which is becoming increasingly common, the cells of our body will suffer!
Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction! The autonomic nervous system is what runs behind the scenes in our body and is in control of life-giving functions that keep us alive such as heart rate, breathing, digestion, muscle contraction, sexual function, elimination, and more! If this system gets out of whack (which is becoming increasingly common), then we will surely experience body and brain challenges.
Impaired Circuitry! Think energetic meridians and bio-field here! This type of imbalance is also a HUGE silent contributor to autonomic nervous system dysfunction. At the most fundamental level everything in the Universe is made of energy. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; it can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. Humans and all living creatures are energetic beings on a physical journey here on earth.
Our bodies generate an electromagnetic field known as the human bio-field; which radiates outside of our bodies and interacts with the bio-fields of others. We have energetic highways running throughout our bodies; more commonly known as meridians where energy is transferred at the speed of light between cells and organ systems.
The energetic bio-field, because of how rapid information is transferred within it, from a quantum physics point of view, can be considered to be a governing force over biochemistry and physiology.
Just as energy in nature can become trapped in various locations within the earth such as within a volcano or geyser, the energy from painful emotional states & an unresolved traumatic experiences can become trapped within our bodies.
Trapped emotional energy within the body can cause distortions within the bio-field; thus, causing disruptions within the body’s biochemistry and physiology.
Trapped emotional energy within the body emits a vibrational frequency that can knock the body out of homeostasis by placing continual stress on the autonomic nervous system, affect surrounding tissues, radiate outside the body, and because of resonance can attract people and experiences that emit the same or similar frequency.
The field of pyscho-neuro-immunology has long proven that the muscle memory of trauma (which I like to refer to as issues in the tissues) can most definitely contribute to setting the stage for and keeping people stuck within chronic states of physical & mental health issues as well as many other life challenges.(4)
So What Can Be Done!? Where Do I Start!?
Of course, all of these issues are MAJOR players in causing the mind to go bonkers and need to be adequately addressed but the factor that I see cause the MOST imbalance and ongoing damage, is impaired circuitry from unresolved trauma and trapped energy from negative and/or painful emotional states.
The reason for this is because trapped emotion and the muscle memory of trauma can’t be seen or quantified by lab testing or other diagnostic tools that our analytical brains can wrap their head around. For this reason, this factor goes largely unrecognized and unaddressed. As a result, many people stay super sick despite HUGE efforts on the bio-chemical front such as with diet, supplements, functional lab testing, and more!
For this reason, I weave bio-energetic assessments, neural rewiring coaching, and many other mind-body techniques into my work with clients within my functional health consulting practice. I recently became certified and added Emotion Code sessions to the list of services I offer. You can read more about Emotion Code here. Or you can watch the video below:
To get started on addressing, “issues in your tissues” that can undoubtedly fuel anxiety and depression and keep you stuck in the stress-pain-illness cycle, here are 3 practical, powerful, and FREE strategies you can begin implementing on your own. These will help to release the trapped energy of emotion and trauma from your body without needing to work with a practitioner like myself:
TRE, which stands for Tremor (or Trauma) Release Exercises! This is a technique developed by Dr. David Berceli Ph.D of which initiates tremors within the body aimed at literally “shaking out” layers of tension patterns within the psoas and surrounding muscles that are the result of layers of unresolved trauma and trapped emotions. This technique was HUGELY helpful in my own recovery! You can read more here and here is a great YouTube demonstration of it. I have plans to do a podcast and video demonstration myself in the near future! :)
Pay Attention To Your Breathing! Holding one’s breath and shallow, chest breathing are common behaviors that many engage in to varying degrees without being aware. Habitual poor breathing patterns deprive the cells of necessary oxygen to function optimally and can trigger a fight or flight response. To begin interrupting this habit, check in with how you are breathing on a regular basis. If need be, set an alarm on your phone! It will also be helpful to schedule short periods of slow, deep, diaphragmatic breathing (in through the nose and out through the mouth) a few times per day!
Make stretching a part of your daily routine! Movement is essential for energy production, moving energy and toxins out of the body, and optimal physical and mental health! We are ALL guilty of sitting, improper posture, and being overly sedentary to varying degrees! With this comes stagnation and stagnation creates poor health states. If you don’t have time or are unable to exercise in a day for whatever reason, then at the very least incorporate some kind of stretching routine into your day!
If any of this resonates and you are interested in exploring a comprehensive approach to helping you unravel issues in your body that may be creating chaos in your mind, then let’s chat! You can book an initial FREE Exploration Session using the button below!
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573566/: Treatment of anxiety disorders
https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics: Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Facts and Statistics
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641835/: Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2742420/: Psychoneuroimmunology Psychology's Gateway to the Biomedical Future