Do you or someone you know suffer from anxiety? With the number of cases recognized on the increase reaching as high as 10% in USA, UK, NZ & Australia, anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health issue for women under 35.
Below are 3 insights into the causes of anxiety.
NOTE: A deeper understanding of this issue can help you make informed decisions on how to overcome it.
#1 Anxiety is caused by past events
Anxiety is a ‘fear of the future’ or an underlying dread of possible bad outcomes that may occur. So where does this often irrational and debilitating fear come from?
Firstly you need to understand how the brain works.
Your mind functions in two ways;
Conscious brain: these are the thoughts and practical thinking that make up our day to day
Subconscious brain: This is the programming and habits that make up a whopping 95% of your behaviours and habits and the things we do daily that we are unaware of.
The best way to describe conscious and subconscious is to think about learning to drive a car. Remember how conscious (aware) you were of everything you were doing, until it became so second nature so that now you can do it without having to ‘think’ about it. This is the shift from conscious brain to subconscious, driving is habitual as too are most of your behaviours. It is because of this structure of the brain that anxiety is actually not part of our conscious mind, but rather our subconscious. The subconscious brain acts based on past experiences so if you have had significant past emotional events that may have left you feeling scared, isolated, vulnerable or unsafe (based on your unique perception of events) your brain remembers these events, tucks them away for future reference and then goes into protection mode in case these events occur again, and this is what anxiety is.
So how do you stop the subconscious undertaking anxious behavior and habits?
By rewriting the habitual programs your subconscious brain is running. This is done through healing approaches that access past memories and events in the subconscious part of the brain. Such examples of therapies that do this are: ‘Matrix Reimprinting’ which specifically targets early life events, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Tapping) to reduce anxious feelings and others.
#2 Anxiety can be transferred from mother to child
All of our beliefs, thoughts, ideas and perceptions are created from 0-7 years of age, this includes when we are in the womb during pregnancy. This is known as the ‘illogical’ phase of brain development. One of the understandings for practitioners of Mind Body Medicine techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique is that if a mother is prone to anxious thoughts, generalized anxiety or significant life events, traumas or ongoing negative emotional events during pregnancy, the birth process and/or a child’s early life, can be sensed by the fetus and the developing child and taken on as beliefs about the world around them.
A child is literally a sponge to the world around it and picks up on the ‘vibes’ and energy it is exposed to. Children observe the actions and behaviours of peers, teachers and parents and mimic or make decisions based on what they do and say as well as what they make it mean. If you had an anxious mother, you are more likely to have anxiety yourself. If we witness or experience something significantly emotional to us, because of our subjective experience, we may create beliefs such as “Bad things can happen”, “Life is dangerous”, “It’s not safe” and these beliefs become imprinted in our subconscious brains and trigger anxiety in later life. That’s not to say all beliefs will do this, but significant ones can affect us later in life.
A recent study of babies who were ‘in utero’ during the 2011 Earthquakes in Christchurch NZ has discovered that these children, who are now school age are showing significant signs of anxiety even though they were not born during the time of the earthquakes. This is because they have taken on the emotions of the mother’s experience at that time.
If you have a child with anxiety and you do too, it is important to overcome your own anxiety to bring faster healing for your child. Otherwise the child will be retriggered by your own ongoing reaction to events.
NOTE: You are not at fault for your child’s anxiety, you’re a human and a mother (or father) so think of seeking help as a growing and self-help exercise that will benefit you and your little one.
#3 Anxiety is not just in the mind
Anyone who has ever experienced anxiety will tell you it’s not always the thoughts that get to them, but rather the feelings of dread, the panic attacks, the butterflies, the nausea and the churning stomach. This is because EVERY significant life event not only leaves an imprint in our mind, as already mentioned, but also in our body. Your body feels and remembers as much as your mind does, sometimes even more. The incredible work of Dr Bruce Lipton is the science that revealed this concept.
ANXIETY IS NOT JUST YOUR THOUGHTS IT IS YOUR FEELINGS TOO!
Understanding thIS mind and body connection explains why we have feelings in the physical body when we have anxious thoughts. Most often we resort to traditional talk therapies or medications to overcome anxiety, yet these approaches DO NOT address the root causes of anxiety, they only focus on treating symptoms. This approach assumes it’s ‘all in our head’ when really our body is experiencing the anxiety too. Hence why approaches that integrated the mind and body in addressing root causes of anxiety are the most effective.
The tool most effective and accessible is Emotional Freedom Technique. It addresses the limiting and negative thoughts and beliefs that cause anxiety, as well as releases the negative anxious feelings in the body. Best thing is, EFT can be self-taught and self-administered and bring relief from anxiety in a matter of minutes.
Think of EFT as ‘first aid for the emotions’. It works on the same pretense as acupuncture to shift blocked negative energy. Instead of using needles we use our finger tips. There are countless resources on You Tube that demonstrate how to use this process, however we recommended you work with a skilled practitioner.
So now you know a little more about causes of anxiety, it is important to know and understand that it is not something that you just have to live with. This is simply not the case anymore. Permanent healing is possible. Whatever the case, always seek to use holistic and integrated techniques that access the mind/emotions as well as the physical symptoms and feelings. It is your birthright to live a joyful, happy and anxiety free life. Anything is possible!