Nearly everyone has problems with anxiety at least occasionally, and some people suffer from anxiety much of the time. Anxiety is a natural response to stress and, ideally, it mobilizes our physical and mental resources to protect us from danger, and help us meet challenges and solve problems. But anxiety responses can become problematic when they occur too frequently or persist long after the challenge or danger has passed. Frequent or chronic states of anxiety can diminish our enjoyment of life and lead to many long-term health problems, including cardio-vascular issues, poor memory, digestive problems, inflammation, and immune disorders.
In dealing with anxiety, knowledge can be power! Being able to recognize our unique anxiety symptoms and knowing our individual triggers for anxiety can help us avoid anxiety-producing situations or enable us to see the response more quickly and nip it in the bud. Understanding what actually happens in the body and mind—physiological responses and changes in thoughts and feelings—can provide the keys to intervention.
The primary conventional approaches to decreasing anxiety are medications and psychotherapy. However, natural, body-oriented approaches to health and well-being offer many effective alternatives for both preventing anxiety episodes and alleviating symptoms once they occur. The relaxation and breathing techniques of Hatha Yoga are effective at both creating a mind-body system able to maintain balance and to alleviate anxiety symptoms when they are present. Specific nutritional supplements and herbs can be useful to strengthen and balance the nervous system, improving resilience of body and mind, thus reducing episodes and alleviating anxiety symptoms when they occur. With Process Work, anxiety can be viewed as a potential ally rather than a problem to be eliminated, thus becoming a source of wisdom and providing creative approaches to life’s challenges.