Holistic Approach to Anxiety
I want to welcome you to my first blog! I’ve started this blog to provide information on anxiety and conventional approach but mainly focusing on a variety of holistic approaches to anxiety. Anxiety can be a normal reaction in response to many circumstances that we experience in life.
However, in the current life altering pandemic of the past two years most individuals will experience higher levels of anxiety and anxiety symptoms as we have gone through periods of isolation from our community, physical distance and separation from family, friends, neighbors, workplace, to close quarters with our immediate family members, virtual online schooling, mask wearing, to ongoing CDC changing guidelines, vaccination decisions and unvaccinated family and friends and passing of loved ones.
With ongoing fears of the virus and grief for those we have lost to this pandemic it has certainly challenged our mindset, our coping capacity, inner and outer resources! If you believe you have developed an anxiety disorder and you have never been diagnosed with anxiety disorder the symptoms are much more intense than just stress. The symptoms and fears can last longer than the actual challenge or situation and in this case the pandemic has been longer and continues to affect our lives as we move throughout our daily lives for the next couple of years with continued long-term effects that can leave some people with an anxiety disorder and for others developing a phobia over time impacting normal daily routines. Symptoms of anxiety depend on the type of anxiety disorder however, most common symptoms are physical symptoms such as; shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, and trembling/shaking, abdominal distress, and dizziness among others.
Typical symptoms of fear can range and vary from fear of dying, going crazy or losing control to fears of crowded places. Fears can also show up as fears of being embarrassed, taking exams, public speaking, fear of animals, heights, planes, and fear of contracting or dying of a disease such as heart attack or cancer. This is not an extensive detailed examination of the types and symptoms however, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms above or you think you might have an anxiety disorder seeing therapist or psychologist will help to diagnose and evaluate for best treatment for your symptoms.
As a licensed professional counselor, I want to tell you that there are good treatments available that are considered the gold standard for anxiety. Beginning with stepping into your own therapy is always a good step forward as well as medication options for those who suffer with severe symptoms. However, I have found that many of my clients have also sought to find a mind-body-spirit approach to healing and transforming anxiety indirectly by focusing on the whole person rather the specific panic attack or phobia which I believe therapy and for those with severe symptoms medication can be best suited for.
Many clients who have come in for therapy in my practice for themselves, their children or adolescent were wanting to learn how to meditate, calm their bodies, understand themselves better, and finding more creative ways to transform their anxiety such as, incorporating art. I have also found that many of my clients also do not want to be on medication and become dependent on a medication over time and seek herbal remedies, acupuncture and hypnotherapy. Many of my clients have also reported dissatisfaction with the current treatments available having already tried them and not experiencing its effectiveness in the long term.
In any case, holistic approaches tend to support the mind-body-spirit looking seeking out how one can feel better and live a healthier lifestyle caring for the body, the mind and the spirit which can lead to a decrease of the anxiety symptoms and less likely to be vulnerable to anxiety but also depression. So, areas I am looking forward to share this year from a holistic approach to heal anxiety will focus on: education on anxiety but also focusing on holistic topics such as; healing through love, creating a vision of the life you are wanting, spirituality, meditation, life purpose, and energy healing, as well as other topics to heal anxiety by transforming it through a mind-body spirit approach.
4 Suggestions on Approaching Anxiety in Today’s Environment
Here are 4 suggestions of how to approach anxiety in the current environment of the pandemic that incorporates both conventional and holistic approach as we move through the current life altering changes:
- If you think you may have an anxiety disorder always begin with seeking therapy first to help evaluate for an anxiety disorder but also having someone to talk to is extremely helpful to get your thoughts and feelings out in the open rather than keeping it to yourself. There is currently many therapist who are working virtually if you don’t feel safe in person just yet. Psychologytoday.com is a great website to find a therapist.
- Find an online group that you find interesting, a hobby, or a topic you want to learn more about. For example, bird watching, tree lovers, or history buffs! You can try learning new art techniques (try learning about pouring paint), whitneyfreya.com has great virtual classes step by step at your own pace, try finding a spiritual tribe/group that fits your views whether it is a Christian perspective, Buddhist, Taoist, or Humanistic there are many groups available on Facebook that can be supportive.
- Step into a meditation or yoga group/classes to support calming the mind and releasing suppressed emotional energy in the body for more balance. Start a new exercise routine indoor biking, rowing, or Zumba dance classes!
- Change your mindset on change. If you are afraid of change as many people are experiencing at this time begin to read up on change and find quotes that support the movement through change especially not staying in anxiety. Here is a quote I found to be supportive, “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” N.R. Narayana Murthy
Anxiety keeps you from feeling joy, loving yourself and all that you are capable of because it keeps you stuck where you don’t belong and your highest purpose out of reach. Freedom from anxiety is where you belong especially when change arrives! There are many good books on change one of which I recommend Mindset by Dr. Carol S. Dweck, The Art of Happiness by the 14th Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, Marianne Williamson, The Gift of Change. Also, find quotes that inspire you and make a list of them and read them each day, journal your thoughts about change, draw them out, paint them, or make a collage board of quotes about change.
Finally, I would like to share in another one of my posts about why I personally have addressed anxiety from a holistic approach. So, stay tuned for my next post!