Anxiety – could Connection with our Body be the Key?

We have all experienced anxiety at some point in life, some more than others. It can be a debilitating condition that creates stress and affects us in many ways; in our ability to relate, to work effectively and to be in the world in a confident and calm way. I know the times in the past when I have experienced anxiety I have felt overwhelmed and powerless, unable to feel clear or be at ease with myself.

I recall experiencing panic attacks and anxiety so badly at times that I felt I would be unable to leave home for fear of not being able to handle the situations or people that I would run into. I felt totally immobilised and would start to get hot sweats, feeling like I couldn’t function properly if I saw anyone I knew, and if I did speak with them my face would go bright red making me feel even more anxious, compounding the stress I was already feeling.

Up until this point I had only experienced mild panic attacks that were short-lived but my desire to do something thrilling for my birthday ended up triggering panic attacks and anxiety that would go on for months. I had decided to do a tandem skydive for my birthday. When it came time to jump from 14,000 feet I was incredibly scared but was encouraged to jump with my skydiver, and suddenly this didn’t feel like fun at all. I finally made it to the ground and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I now had my feet firmly planted and was still alive.

The experience was one I would never do again, as I didn’t enjoy it one bit and nearly fainted whilst in free-fall. It probably only lasted a minute or two but felt like much longer because of the distress and discomfort I was feeling in my body.

What happened in my life for the next few months was possibly harder for me to deal with than the skydive itself. I suddenly developed frequent panic attacks and the thought of leaving the house and doing my grocery shopping etc. seemed all too hard. There was a sense of hopelessness and I would fear being embarrassed whilst I was out in public. I am naturally a warm, friendly and open person so this was quite noticeably different from my usual behaviour and initially I felt totally incapable of dealing with it as I had lost any confidence in myself and was always fearing the worst.

I became a hermit for a short while, only venturing out when I needed to, as I felt ill-equipped to deal with what may happen unexpectedly to me. I created a wall of protection for myself so that I didn’t feel hurt in any way, but this wall ended up feeling more exhausting and didn’t help me to face what was truly going on. I still needed to go to work, which was probably a good thing as it got me out of the house and I noticed when I was committed to my work the anxiety didn’t seem to exist as much because my focus was on others rather than on myself. While getting ready for work I would convince myself that I would be fine, that there was a part of me that could trust myself and know I would be ok as I had lived without this anxiety ruling me for many years, therefore this anxiety wasn’t who I was and it didn’t need to control me and my life.

What supported me greatly was to take the time to check in with my body and to notice if there were any pictures or ideals about how my day should play out – as this was adding to the anxious thoughts. By focussing on my breath I was able to stay more connected to my body and to stop any stories that started circulating around in my head, for if I disconnected from my body the anxious thoughts were able to flood in.

Over time I could feel how staying with my breath supported me to feel a steadiness in my body; I was now beginning to trust myself more and felt a growing confidence within, which gave me a better understanding and acceptance of myself rather than being hard and beating myself up if I felt anxious in front of others. No matter what happened I would have my back and not give up and if I did not apply this then the anxiety would further increase.

Slowly I was beginning to unravel this anxiety that I felt used to own me and now I was taking back control of my life; I had learnt to be more loving with myself and to talk to myself in a more tender and respectful way, as I would to a young child. This has been valuable in building a relationship with myself and my body.

From this experience I can understand how anxiety and panic attacks can take a hold when we begin to perceive that this is who we think we are. I have come to a better understanding of how key it is to stay connected with our body so we are aware of any anxious feelings, not letting them take us away from this connection and not allowing the mind to take over with any crazy thoughts.

I now experience only mild anxiety at times, and it is with learning to stay more present with myself that I have built this inner confidence that has allowed me to feel I can handle these anxious thoughts and not let them take me over anymore. Learning to become more consistent and steady in my life has given me a solid foundation that has supported me throughout very challenging and difficult times. This has been a gradual process, assisted by learning about some very simple and powerful techniques through attending Universal Medicine presentations where I was introduced to the powerful Gentle Breath Meditation™, a practical and simple meditation that has supported me to feel more steady and present in my body – especially during the times when I feel anxious or stressed in any way.

By Anna Douglass, International Flight Attendant, Mother, dedicated student of the Ageless Wisdom, Australia

Related Reading:
Anxious Much?
Psychotherapist Jean Gamble speaks about Anxiety
Anxiety and expression . . . are they related?

509 thoughts on “Anxiety – could Connection with our Body be the Key?

  1. The Gentle Breath Meditation has for me been the greatest tool shared by Serge Benhayon. I use it for a few minutes at different points throughout the day, as it brings me back into connection with my body and the warmth within my heart without fail.

  2. The loving self talk comment really got me in this. I love speaking to and connecting with children and can see in ‘adult life’ how easy it is to dismiss this forever aspect of ourselves.. our innocence and light heartedness.

  3. The gentle breath conscious presence and body connection come hand in hand to support us to trust what we feel come into our body and the knowingness and expansion from there is remarkable and something I am finding more and more with the support it offers in the state of anxiousness at any time.

  4. The key to anxiety is how we move – do we let the emotion influence or dictate how we move, how we breathe, how we think, how we react or do we minimise this force until it is simply gone and the causes of the anxiety are known?

  5. By the time anxiety builds to a panic attack we have had many moments of not being present and feeling like we can’t cope. And whilst panic attacks can appear to have no trigger in the moment, our lack of presence is always at its origin.

  6. In a lot of cases I have found that becoming anxious is about me having an investment in an outcome. The more I want things to look a certain way, the more they are not so. And this brings on a brewing tension in my body.

  7. I have been experiencing a deeper connection with my body and I have to say it is a revelation. I have been very anxious for much of my life, but in this connection it is apparent that anxiety cannot gain any traction. It is only when I become disconnected and ‘go back into my head’ that anxiousness rears up again. In the connection with the body there is much less thinking and much more feeling and sensing. All I can say is, it works for me.

  8. Indeed conscious presence is the key. When the mind is with the body in whatever it is doing we can be with the present moment. Otherwise we immediately are taken back to the past or imagining the future.

  9. This is really helpful and makes me realise that if I am feeling anxious then I am not present in my body; ‘if I disconnected from my body the anxious thoughts were able to flood in.’

  10. Living in such uncertain times, most people nowadays have some level of anxiety. Tools such as The Gentle Breath Meditation are super important, to bring us back into connection with our body and develop confidence in what we feel.

    1. Yes this too The Gentle Breath Meditation I found so supportive, to get me to come back to my body and not be too racy. It supported me with clarity as well.

  11. As soon as I feel flighty, out of sorts and/or stuck in my head ‘away with the fairies’, I know I am out and am very glad that, having come to the work of Universal Medicine, I have the resources of the gentle breath mediation and the awareness that it is in my body that I settle and return to the simplicity and clarity of life.

  12. Sometimes we experience something that could be anxiety but is actually an expansion of our awareness and there is nothing that needs doing but to come along for the ride.

  13. Anna its an extraordinary thing that you have moved from having very severe panic attacks and anxiety to rare if at all anxiety through the way that you move and care for yourself through life paying attention to your breath. This is another one of many examples of the difference The Livingness makes to our lives.

  14. I am finding that anxiousness is becoming a very distinct clue for me as to whether I am in my body or not, that is, in my body the anxiousness is not there.

  15. It feels a great learning to realise that our thoughts can fuel a feeling of anxiety which can make everything escalate, or to know that there is no need to allow any anxiousness at all when we are connected to the body.

  16. ‘There was a sense of hopelessness and I would fear being embarrassed whilst I was out in public.’ – We are carrying so much worry about what others might think of us, imagine being free of this worry and the difference it would make, not only for our own state of being but the impact it would have on the over all choices we make.

  17. Learning to live with anxiety and not get caught in its destructive web can be simple when we can bring a focus back to our bodies and there are many simple, practical tools and techniques that have been presented through the on line course by the College of Universal Medicine and as this course is so amazing as it explores so much plus it is open to us all, so for more go to;
    Understanding Anxiety in Men – ONLINE COURSE
    http://study.coum.org/enrol/index.php?id=14

    1. I was totally resigned to the idea that anxiety was something I was stuck with and was a normal feeling to experience and drinking alcohol or smoking pot was a good way for me to keep it at bay by not dealing with it.
      Knowing now that doing that wasn’t even a good bandaid for it only made matters worse in the long run and now I know that just because many people suffer from something doesn’t make it normal.

    2. Yes, and not to be identified with it in any way as being anxious is very involving and has its own identity – even though the identity is very negative.

  18. It makes me ponder why some children and adults delight in scary movies such as horror? Is there a part of us that wants to avoid absolute presence and steadiness?

  19. Imagine never having feelings of anxiety? It seems so rare now that this is even possible. Its so commonly experienced for people. We have almost lost the fact that this is not part of who we are.

    1. And there are so many strategies to deal with anxiety – from eating to distraction to drugs to psychological support. It does seem a common affliction and seems particularly present among graduate students, i.e. Masters and PhD students.

  20. Anxiety has a huge effect on our lives and prevents us from living the full lives that we deserve. We certainly can’t think our way out of anxiety, it simply doesn’t work. Focusing in on my body, my breath and/or the way that I am moving is the only thing that has worked for me when I feel this way.

  21. It makes sense that if we connect with our divine particles, which constitutes our body then we are going to feel less anxious about life in general.

  22. I agree with the point that anxiety affects our relationships, as it makes you so focussed on your own stress/insecurity that you are unable to actually connect with other people. You may be able to ‘interact’, but connection requires a connection with yourself first, then with others.

  23. Anxiety is so common in the world that we don’t fully open up or explore why and what’s behind it. There is such an opportunity to heal our relationship with anxiety and see this as something outside of ourselves.

  24. If we’re not in our bodies, as in allowing ourselves to be with whatever we’re feeling, we’re in our heads, ideas, pictures. Allowing ourselves to be with whatever is there to be felt, however uncomfortable, is what supports us to feel it and move through it. When we avoid our feelings, we’re avoiding dealing with an issue that is coming up for us to look at and let go of – and so avoiding the potential healing on offer.

  25. Our bodies have a great way of letting us know that something is not right, we seem to have a habit of ignoring the signs or symptoms, or we may explain them away… it’s my genes! So we tend to ignore the body, relieve our symptoms rather than find the root cause.

    1. Relying on genes is a great way of comfort. You can stay in victimhood and have an outer reason of a situation or disease instead of claiming that all my choices led to the illness.

  26. Learning to be more loving and tender with ourselves and the way we hold and move our body is key to building a steady and solid foundation that supports us in our daily living. I have found the Gentle Breath Meditation to be an amazing, practical tool in establishing a true connection and awareness of my body from which to honour and express the truth of what I am feeling.

  27. Sometimes, when I know I have to get up early to do something or go somewhere, I don’t sleep well because I’m already in the expectation of the anxiety of getting up early. When we put too much focus on what’s coming rather than where we currently are, it leaves a huge gap in which we can feel unsettled and unprepared.

  28. It’s amazing how the body supports the mind. The mind can get so out of control and lead the whole body to race and feel anxious and stressed, but by being with the whole body and focusing on our breath we can bring the mind back in line with the harmony of the body.

  29. Sometimes, I get this underlying feeling of anxiety for no seeming reason, I will be at work and suddenly realise I’m feeling anxious. I have found it is often because I have let my work start to overwhelm me, or thoughts about the past of future, whatever it is, I’m not with me in what I’m doing.

  30. The best antidote for anxiety? Presence in the body. As the body is equipped to handle any situation that we are confronted with.

    1. Well said. Presence is the key. I keep hearing about research that shows that people having an attention span shorter than a goldfish (its something less than 10 seconds) it is no wonder that anxiety is now the most common mental health condition.

      1. Everything in this world is created to reduce our attention span, as it seduces us to not stay focussed with one thing at a time. Without presence in our body you can then become a champion in multitasking, which you get rewarded for in this society. But how do you feel and how is the quality of all the products you are producing? All the technical devices that constantly draws attention to the outside. It really needs a set rhythm in ones life to stay focussed with what you are doing at a time without getting distracted with anything else.

  31. I always wondered why you do thinks like skydiving. It does not make sense to me, to put my body and my nervous system under such a stress. How far away of feeling our body are we, that we need these extremes?

    1. I noticed the same thing with movies, if the movie was tense like a thriller, or scary, my body would experience all the adrenaline as if I was living what I was watching. It’s actually a lot of stress on the body but I wasn’t really aware of this until my health became fragile and these things were magnified to me. In many ways we put our bodies under a lot of stress and often in the name of ‘fun’.

      1. It is like this big relief from taking away the edge of life. May it be through alcohol, skydiving, getting totally drawn into movies or doing excessive sports. It is always a relief. A relief from the tension we are creating through not living us in full and needing to handle and avoid feeling the gap that results from that.

  32. Being present (aka connected to our bodies) keeps us in the moment, untroubled by the past or future, and from here there is a simplicity and clarity to life that makes sense. And the quality of this moment informs the next, so the future is taken care of.

  33. I love how you connected to the fact that you knew your symptoms of anxiety were not ‘you’. It is not easy to remember that when there is so much that could feed the belief that your anxiety will define you for the rest of your life.

  34. I find it so interesting how I can recreate the physical symptoms of anxiety when I remember particular events. The memories are in my body and until I address this my physical responses become less and less logical.

  35. I used to hate the feeling of anxiousness so much that I would push myself to do things and this would make me more anxious. So I then tried another tactic, which was to avoid anything that would make me anxious. This meant I avoided anything new or that would support me to grow, and develop and so my life began to stagnate and retreat and I was no longer participating in life so I can relate to what you write Anna, anxiousness is very depleting and exhausting to live with

  36. Anxiety – thinking that life is bigger than we are; a very human phenomenon when in disconnection to the multidimensionality we come from, belong to and are imbued by.

    1. When you choose anxiousness you actually think you have to do it on your own and deny the greatest support you can ever have. Heaven.

      1. When you look at the bigger picture, anxiousness is indeed a reaction to the thought you have to do it on your own. Whilst the invitation is there to realize we are held by a greater support. That is worth a deep in and out breath!

  37. Anxiety can so quickly enter our body if we become caught up with thoughts and pictures in our mind and forget that the body is where we will feel the true wisdom that is all around us. We no longer need to be tantalised by something outside of ourselves when within we can connect to a source that comes straight from heaven.

  38. Someone was talking recently to me about the anxiety they remembered having to read out aloud at school, and I recalled the same feeling too, and hadn’t released how much these things can stay with us and play out repeatedly in other similar scenarios. It doesn’t work to attempt to override it with thinking positive thoughts, but we can return to our bodies and know the anxiety to be untrue.

    1. I remember us each having to give a talk to the whole class when I was 12 and I barely ate or slept for days beforehand! I certainly wasn’t in my body and it would have helped if someone had helped us to understand that we all know something about something within our bodies to talk about.

    2. Agree Gill, I can remember huge anxiety as an 11 year old, being tasked with the job of correctly balancing the school banking every Wednesday before the school bus left, whilst all the other kids were already on the bus waiting for me to complete this. Even the slightest pressure of time or the expectations of others sent me into an anxious spin for many years after.
      It is only since learning to reconnect to my body instead of scrabbling away from it at similar moments, to feel what is going on, realise that what I am feeling is not true, is what has given me the grace to turn it around and heal.

  39. Anxiety can feel overwhelming, like there is nothing we can do to control it but the more we observe our breath and remain present in our bodies the more the anxiety disipates.

  40. Sometimes we try hard to get rid of something and thereby miss that what we want to let go of only exists as long as we feed it instead of feeding (giving to ourselves) what we are missing in the first place. In the case of anxiety we miss presence with our body, i.e. mind and body as one, hence to overcome anxiety we need to re-develop conscious presence for anxiety to not be fed anymore.

  41. Being with my body and letting go of thoughts and expectations really helps me to just be, feel, and let my life flow and unfold one step at a time.

    1. Yes Shirley-Ann, I know this too. We gain much strength and inner confidence in allowing that connection with the body, and when it happens there is a beautiful organic flow to life that otherwise would be interrupted by the mind with interfering and anxious thoughts.

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