More Than Meds: A Whole Body Approach to Anxiety!
If you suffer from anxiety, you know what you’re feeling is an all-out assault…on all of you.
You’re emotionally on edge.
Your thoughts are illogical.
Your body is tense.
You feel out of control.
You want relief.
It stands to reason that the peace you crave will need to address all of you too.
So how do we do that?
Through counseling that looks at your mind-body connections, biological orientation, personal history, and lifestyle choices. The whole person.
Dr. Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of Emotional Intelligence, notes “… if you rely solely on medication to manage depression or anxiety, for example, you have done nothing to train the mind, so that when you come off the medication, you are just as vulnerable to a relapse as though you had never taken the medication.”
He’s right. It is extremely important to get beyond solely medicating anxiety, though meds have their time and place. When we look at the whole person, we can determine how fear and worry may be weaving its way through your entire life, and can be managed holistically.
Exploring the connection between mind and body increases awareness of how you physically manifest your mental anxiety. What physical sensations occur when fear sets in? How aware are you of your actions and environment when worry takes over? Do you get sucked into catastrophizing or panicking when stress mounts?
Treatment takes into account the link between your thinking patterns and your bodily response, looking for ways to help you cope, and become more mindful and in charge of those responses. There is evidence to show that non-medication therapies, like prayer, meditation, spiritual disciplines, and deep-breathing exercises, can help even out bodily distress effectively.
Body Chemistry Considerations
Anxiety studies indicate that anxiety has a definite biological component. Some forms of anxiety are connected to chemical imbalances in the body. Conversely, chronic anxiety keeps the system bathed in stress hormones that take a physical toll over time.
Medication can address low levels of dopamine or serotonin (feel-good chemicals) and help restore some calm internally. But they are only a partial solution. You aren’t experiencing a need for pharmaceuticals. You need to resolve the internal imbalances, deficiencies and anxiety-inducing health conditions that exacerbate anxiety. This can be addressed through dietary programs, vitamin supplementation, and exercise training.
Personal Experience Exploration
Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” can help uncover the relationship issues, personal struggles, or traumas that are contributing to anxiety. Unresolved conflict, and painful lessons learned in life, can lead to unrealistic fear and unproductive stress management that puts a person at risk for high anxiety.
How your parents handled stress, did or did not show approval and affection, or even instances of abuse or bullying, can play into current anxiety issues too.
Environmental and Lifestyle Examination
Beyond past issues, our everyday lives are often primary contributors to out-of-control stress response. Everything is multi-tasking and rushing about. Coping with everyday stress can be too much. As anxiety levels rise, people often compensate with ineffectual solutions, like substance abuse or withdrawal. Or succumb to a detrimental work or home environment, full of conflict or troubled relationships.
Treatment includes concerted efforts to identify behavioral choices and responses to anxiety. Through positive reinforcement and goal setting, therapy helps make changes that alleviate the perpetual sense of being on edge.
Our life experiences, minds, and bodies are interrelated and interdependent. For the best long-term results, it simply makes sense that treatment of anxiety, other emotional problems and mood disorders would look closely at how those connections impact you physically, mentally, and spiritually.
If you would like a free 20 minute phone consultation to learn more about how counseling can help you effectively manage your anxiety then call Crossroads Counseling at 623-680-3486 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also learn more about anxiety counseling at Crossroads by clicking here.