Having trouble sleeping, feeling nervous, or tense? You are probably anxious. Not in that acute, coming and going sort of way, but in that chronic, under-the-radar-but-always-there kind of way. You might not even know what it feels like to NOT be anxious.
There’s a whole lot of pop-psychology about how to manage anxiety — it’s a problem of pandemic proportions these days — but good luck in finding anything that can help you heal it once and for all.
What drives anxiety are a whole lot of potential factors, like a family history of blame and shame, not being seen and heard as a child, trauma, and singular experiences that became implicit memory and hastily buried.
I think it worth saying that in my experience trying to find cause for anxiety in neuroscience or hormone imbalances is utterly unhelpful.
I often hear people say their anxiety comes from the body; they look for somatic practices to help deal with it in the hopes that this will help their brain and overwrought nervous system to calm down.
The body merely follows the soul, not the other way around.
Your body reflects the anxiety that was already within you before the body became the mirror, expressing symptomatically the results of anxiety — like hypertension, fight-or-flight triggers, insomnia, and other expressions.
What I’ve found instead is the healing of anxiety requires you to come to terms with your chronically unmet needs that fester unacknowledged (needs to be seen, to be heard, to be safe, to be supported, for fun, levity, purpose…).. All your feelings, your entire nervous system, all your coping mechanisms — they are driven by these unconscious needs.
If you want to get to the source, then look to your unmet needs. The first step is to acknowledge them. Only then can you find a creative way to get them met.
In conclusion, anxiety is a very real, very reasonable response to a life that feels intolerable. Let’s not try and explain it away with believing the body is the cause; this can be dis-empowering and robs us of the possibility of being the agent of our own healing. We can reclaim our agency and power to heal by looking in the right places for the source, thus finding the path.
What are you tolerating? What do you need, really and truly?