After having such a clear vision, (was is 20/20 vision you ask???) of what the NEW YEAR blog post should be about, I’m having difficulty deciding which topic would be best for the second week of January. Should I delve deeper into each of the 5 areas of goal setting snafu’s and make each it’s own stand alone blog topic? To be real, I’m currently sitting in a hotel room in Boston awaiting the moment that my 12 year old dances her little heart out to be judged in her FIRST DANCE COMPETITION!! So what better topic to discuss while watching these hard-core, fake eyelash wearing, spray tanned young women getting all excited, nervous, and stressed about their routines, but ANXIETY!!
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults in America suffer from anxiety. It is the most common mental illness and is also the most treatable. However, only about 37% of people suffering from anxiety ever seek help.
But having conversations about the fact that people have anxiety isn’t what I want to focus on. I want to focus these blogs on what coaching can do to help. So, what can coaching do for people experiencing anxiety? Coaching can help you to discover the reasons why anxiety pops up in your life, how it manifests in your body and then what to do when you start feeling that nervous energy before it turns into anxiety or worse, a panic attack.
Trauma and stress are HUGE factors in how much and how often chemicals, called neurotransmitters are released from the brain. I learned so much of this from my own experiences with my husband Kevin, (my LEO of 13 years.) He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2015 and after some basic therapy and a round of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) had found tremendous success in processing his trauma. But it wasn’t enough. Fast forward to two years later, two years of responding to call after call after call. Two more years of two or three doubles each week due to under-staffing so common across the US. Two more years of his brain sending out the fight or flight chemicals at rates his body couldn’t sustain. Two more years of suffering debilitating anxiety, depression, GERD, nightmares, and insomnia. The trauma he and his brain sustained his last two years on the force caused so much damage, he needed to be hospitalized. Both his body and brain were wracked with so many traumatic experiences that they both literally shut down and he became physically, emotionally, and mentally incapable of processing anymore.
While we, everyday humans are not necessarily exposed to such horrific displays of humanity each day, we all have experiences that shape us and can worry us in ways every day. And sometimes just through the course of our lives, events happen, like the death of a family member or close friend, the loss of a friendship, the stresses of a job or a career, gender identity, sexual preference or in raising our children...we still have so many stressors every single day!! So no matter who you are, you experience stress which can cause anxiety!
Your body reacts to stimuli much faster than your brain does. Instincts...we’ve all experienced the fight or flight reaction in our bodies. Some of the symptoms include heavy breathing, sweaty palms, a tightness in the chest, irritability, back, jaw, or shoulders. The chemicals the brain releases when our instincts kick in are called neurotransmitters. They are emitted from the hypothalamus and without getting too technical, these neurotransmitters are what effect mood, sexual functions, appetite and body temperature. The same chemicals are released, but how it affects people is distinct and individual. How does your body react to highly stressful moments?
But what’s cool is that it’s the SAME chemicals that are surging through your body when you feel excited as when you feel nervous. It’s up to us to trick ourselves into recognizing what our bodies are doing in order to combat the nervousness and anxiety and turn it into excitement and enthusiasm. Aaaand if we can identify how YOU and YOUR BODY process those chemicals I can coach you through what to do when you start feeling anxiety creep up.
Some ways to combat anxiety are yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, exercise, eating a healthier diet which will give you energy and endurance, hobbies, and HUGGING!! No really….here’s an article from Healthline (with sources and additional links!) about all the AMAZING benefits of hugging!!
So after all the practice she could get in, breathing and some serious hugging, Grace got on stage to be judged by the top professionals in the dancing world! She did AMAZINGLY!! And I couldn’t be more proud of her combating her fears and anxiety. As for Kevin, he still struggles with being anxious due to a number of reasons, such as his PTSD being triggered, being in large crowds, and if his back isn’t to a wall. Anxiety doesn’t need to be debilitating. It can be controlled. Coaching can help. Click HERE to send me a message to get started taking control of your anxiety today so you live your best life!!
Thanks for your support!