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Anxiety, what is it and how is it created?

Anxiety really is a buzzword right now with more and more people recognising they experience it but, do they actually know where it comes from?

In essence Anxiety itself is part of everyday life and necessary for our survival and motivation, it is an instinctive part of us that is designed to be helpful by giving us physical signals – sensations that we need to take some form of action. The problem lies when Anxiety gets out of control and the signals keep happening even when there is no danger.

Think of a smoke alarm in your kitchen, it doesn’t know the difference between you burning toast and the house on fire, it just knows there is smoke and it makes the same sound for both. When Anxiety takes over it is our internal smoke alarm constantly going off, often when there isn’t even any smoke at all because its wiring is messed up.

How does this happen?

We come into the world and we grow through life continually having experiences and learning new things that create neural pathways in our brains that form memories, behaviours, and reactions.

If there is an incident where we feel unsafe or fearful in any way and there is nobody there to help us make sense of it or resolve it with us, it becomes a trauma. Our smoke alarm is activated.

When we experience traumas helper parts inside us are created that attempt to protect us and keep us safe (our smoke alarm), the trouble is, often these parts are created at a younger and less developed stage in our lives and they may be helpful at that time, however, these parts remain at the same age as when they were created, they do not age and develop with you. Hence why some people behave like children and their smoke alarm is always ringing

What does this mean?

Well, if you have a part created at two years old when you got frightened by a relative screaming and running away from a fly, that part will now try to protect you by creating anxiety around flies causing you to scream and run away from flies; probably for the rest of your life until you are fed up with it and do something to change it.

Imagine, you are a four-year-old whose mum has always been there and done everything for you, they are overly attentive then, when you go to school and something adverse happens and mum isn't there it creates panic, this then manifests into you feeling like every time mum is not there something bad will happen and you become anxious when mum isn't around; often this anxiety will last for a long term unless it is dealt with.

It may be that you’ve been in a car crash or had a debilitating illness (or even witnessed someone else experiencing one) this also creates protective parts, because you feel helpless and fearful.

So what happens?

Just think of the person with health anxiety or who catastrophizes over everything – essentially that fearful part is trying to warn them by sending signals and physical sensations (again the smoke alarm is sounding)

There are many more examples but you begin to see how it works.

Often our habits and behaviours, thought processes, emotions, and coping mechanisms created from these parts are a lot more subtle so that they just seem part of us and how we are. Even if they are less subtle we just accept them because we don’t know any difference and we’ve had them for a long time.

This is how Anxiety parts are created; commonly it may begin showing as just a bit of nervousness or tummy aches or sleep issues that are accepted by those around you but all that's needed is one more incident that takes it to a whole new level and the Anxiety gets out of control and becomes habitual.

By this time everyone is confused, how did this happen?

Nobody can pinpoint the activating incident because things have been bubbling under the surface for a long time and go unnoticed.

It’s like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Now you are experiencing Anxiety when there is nothing to be anxious about, your body is reacting out of habit and not because of danger.

Traumas are also constantly being created for example domestic abuse, bullying, people around you regularly arguing and fighting, money issues, teachers/bosses shouting and shaming, long-term illness, etc.

These may seem a more obvious reason for Anxiety to develop although there are many adults that haven’t made the connection between their childhood/adult experiences and long-term Anxiety.

So, what is the solution?

Do we have to just struggle or is there a solution?

Earlier, I mentioned neural pathways (created from our experiences and the things we learn) and once upon a time not so long ago it was thought that once these neural pathways were created they were permanent, this, however, is not true, and we can absolutely re-wire our brains to create new, more effective and helpful pathways.

This means we can resolve the trauma that led to Anxiety traits and habits and we can experience manageable Anxiety so that we may live a life with more peace and ease.

How you may ask!

On a conscious level using mindfulness and behaviour correction practices, you can over time create new neural pathways however this is not always easy, especially for children. It means you have to be dedicated and very aware of the first signs of anxiety and catch them before they peak and get out of control, this is tricky and takes time, meanwhile, you are still experiencing anxiety.

Because our habitual behaviours and emotional reactions live in the unconscious part of our mind – constant Anxiety is kind of like a virus on a computer that we don’t know is there but runs in the background causing chaos with our everyday tasks – it helps to have someone to guide us to find and eradicate these viruses so the computer runs effectively.

Luckily when we work with the mind it is not quite as dramatic as that, there’s no eradication!

What I use for this in my practice is Mind Body Mastery with The MAP Method this gets to the root of the issue and resolves it quickly.

Based on neuroscience, this is the biggest breakthrough since Hypnosis, Tapping, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a quick, gentle, discreet, and long-lasting method that guides your brain to re-wire itself on command.

What we do very simply is, we teach our subconscious mind to go in and find the ‘viruses’ causing the issues and we train it to neutralise them so we can experience more peace, and control over our emotions and, form new healthy habits.

This is not saying we totally get rid of Anxiety because we need the right amount to help us function effectively, it just means the parts that were created thinking they were helping us (which they did at the time) are informed that they can take a step back and let us be in control of our safety now, with these parts pacified, anxiety is alleviated.

What’s more, after experiencing a series of sessions with me you are taught to use the method on yourself meaning you are the gatekeeper for any viruses and your smoke alarm will be more effective and only alert you to real actual danger and not false alarms

If you or anyone you know is struggling with anxiety please know there is help available, check out my other blogs on anxiety and see my website above for more info

Much Peace, Love & Light x

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