Anxiety is a common feeling we all experience at times. While it might seem like a negative emotion, therapies like Somatic Therapy, Internal Family Systems (IFS), and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) show us that anxiety can be helpful information from our body. These therapies help people cope with stress, trauma, and emotional challenges.
Anxiety as Helpful Info
Anxiety is like a message from our body, telling us that something might be difficult or dangerous. This info helps us make decisions to stay safe. What if you could accept that anxiety is a normal part of life and not always bad?
The Nervous System and Anxiety
Our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is important in how we feel anxiety. It controls body functions like heart rate and breathing. The ANS has two parts: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) that gets our body ready for action during stress, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that helps us relax.
When we sense danger, the SNS starts working and releases stress hormones. This is called the fight, flight, or freeze response. When the danger is gone, the PNS helps our body calm down.
Anxiety and the Fight, Flight, or Freeze Response
Anxiety happens when our fight, flight, or freeze response is triggered, but we can't do what we need to fix the situation. This can happen for different reasons, like when we can't get away from danger or when we can't express our feelings.
When our body can't finish the fight, flight, or freeze response, the energy gets stuck, leading to anxiety. This stuck energy shows up as symptoms like racing thoughts and fast heartbeat.
Working with Anxiety
Using a Somatic approach helps us deal with anxiety by focusing on how our body feels, not just our thoughts. The goal is to help us reconnect with our body and finish the fight, flight, or freeze response that got interrupted.
Working with Anxiety: Somatic, Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Emotionally Focussed Therapy (EFT)
Grounding (Somatic): Simple exercises, like feeling your feet on the ground, can help you connect with your body and lower anxiety. Focusing on the present moment and your body's feelings can break the cycle of anxious thoughts.
Parts Work (IFS): Identify the different "parts" or aspects of yourself that are involved in your anxiety. By acknowledging and understanding these parts, you can address their concerns and help them feel heard, which can lead to reduced anxiety.
Emotional Connection (EFT): Emotionally Focused Therapy emphasizes the importance of building strong emotional connections with others, especially in close relationships. By developing a secure attachment with someone you trust, you can better cope with anxiety and feel more supported.
Tracking Sensations (Somatic): Notice how your body feels when you're anxious. Paying attention to these feelings can help you understand what's causing your anxiety.
Resourcing (Somatic & IFS): Find activities, places, or people that make you feel calm and safe. Doing these activities or spending time with these people can help you feel better and lower your anxiety.
Professional Help: Working with a therapist trained in Somatic Therapy, IFS, or EFT can guide and support you as you work through anxiety and its causes. They can help you build a stronger connection with your body, understand your internal parts, and develop emotional connections with others.
Interested in working on your Anxiety with a Somatic/IFS/EFT therapist?