Sunday, 2 December 2018

Feeling Your Emotions- Fear and Anxiety (Part 2)



This is the next post in the Feeling Your Emotions series. You can read the introductory post here: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2017/11/feeling-your-emotions-introduction.html

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, so if you're having mental/physical issues please seek medical help in addition to reading this. :)

Update 23/9/21: Several of the links have now gone or changed but I've updated where I can. :)

I've previously covered Anger, Sadness and Depression and Fear and Anxiety. As I did with the other posts, fear and anxiety is divided into two parts. Part 1 which I wrote in October, looked at fear and anxiety themselves, the differences and similarities between them. Part 2 will look at feeling better, managing fear (like with sadness it's a normal human emotion, so we won't be able to get rid of it completely) and healing/coping with anxiety. You can read Part 1 here: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/10/feeling-your-emotions-fear-and-anxiety.html

Now here is Part 2. While in the middle of writing this I ended up going through an anxious time. I intended to post it last month but never mind.

I'm going to look at fear and anxiety separately but sometimes things written in either section will overlap with the other. As well as looking at it from a psychological viewpoint, I'm also going to look at it from a spiritual perspective. :)


Worry

First I'll take a quick look at worry. So what's the difference between fear and worry? In Part 1 I mentioned how fear is more about a specific threat and anxiety is more of a vague unease. Fear has been defined as an "unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain and harm", "an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger" and "a vital response to physical and emotional danger". Worry is when you think (or are afraid) that something bad is going to happen and you keep thinking about it, dwelling on it. Read more here: http://www.differencebetween.net/language/words-language/difference-between-the-words-fear-and-worry/


The article makes a good point about the way we use the terms "afraid" and "worry". E.g. if someone rings your phone number by accident, and you say, "I'm afraid you have the wrong number", you probably mean, "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number", not "I'm afraid because you have the wrong number". Unless of course you have social anxiety and don't like talking to strangers, in that case you might be frightened. I don't like talking to strangers myself, but I'm more likely to say, "Sorry, I think you have the wrong number". It's interesting to think about how we use these words in everyday life. Especially if you look at it from a Law of Attraction (LOA) perspective, about our thoughts, words and vibration creating our reality.

Note: I will be talking a bit about LOA here, so if you're unfamiliar with it visit this post for a basic background: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2013/08/law-of-attraction.html

So what's the difference between anxiety and worry? On  the NHS site anxiety is defined as "a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe". So in that definition they're all caught up together. But some people do say they're different (as we've seen in Part 1 and the differences between fear and anxiety).  According to an article on Psychology Today about the 10 differences between worry and anxiety, worry is verbally focused (I think that means we think and talk more about our worries) and experienced more in our heads, whereas anxiety is felt in our bodies (No. 3 on the list).  Anxiety also includes mental imagery  which affects the body. This ties in with the "flight or fight system" and the physical changes we experience when anxious, as discussed in Part 1. No. 5 on the list is that worry creates mild emotional distress and anxiety can cause severe emotional distress. In my personal experience, I often worry about things. I tend to have worries in the background, and sometimes they "tip over" and I become really anxious and/or frightened. For example if I'm worrying about my health and I become really focused on a symptom and afraid it means there's something seriously wrong.

One more point (No.10) is that worry is considered a "normative psychological state" (much like stress I think, which I briefly covered in Part 1) and anxiety isn't. I suppose this is the reason anxiety is classed as a mental disorder, it's seen as a natural human thing to worry, but not to be really (or constantly) anxious. You can read the article here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201603/10-crucial-differences-between-worry-and-anxiety

The DifferenceBetween.net defines anxiety and worry like this:

1. Anxiety is a state of being uneasy wherein there’s constant apprehension. Worry can include mental images or thoughts that are of negative nature, which are avoided by the mental faculties of the individual as it is a perceived threat to the system.

2. Anxiety can be in the form of a noun or adjective (anxious) while worry can be a verb (worrying), an idiom (no need to worry) or a noun (what are your worries?).


This article describes anxiety as an "internal alarm that will influence your system to be on guard" and worry as a "a subject or noun often likened to mental images". The mental images can cause you to feel anxious and uneasy. So this sort of ties in with the Psychology Today article above about worry being more mental, and anxiety being more of a physical thing.

Now let's move onto some advice for dealing with worrying/worries. (I don't believe we can completely eradicate worry since it seems to be part of being human!). :)

In the first Fear and Anxiety post I linked to this article by Joy Holland from Facets of Joy about understanding the energy of worry and shifting. I'll share it here again: http://facetsofjoy.com/2015/04/understanding-the-energy-of-worry-and-8-steps-to-shift-from-a-reaction-of-worry-to-centered-empowerment/

I linked to this post from Kajal Pandey in my 2nd post on healing health anxiety: https://kajalpandey.com/blog/why-do-we-worry/

This post from Cherie Roe Dirksen has techniques to stop worrying: https://cherieroedirksen.com/2012/08/30/6-techniques-to-stop-worrying/

Update 8/6/19: The original link is gone but I think is the same article: https://cherieroedirksen.com/2019/01/30/6-techniques-to-stop-worrying/


Note: Cherie also writes about the Law of Attraction. From an anxious person's point of view, LOA can be scary if you think you may manifest your worries. (I know that bothers me!) But I believe that you're not going to automatically manifest what you worry about. There are times when things I haven't wanted to happen, have happened, but there have also been times when they haven't, and things have even turned out better than I expected.

I came across this post about obsessively worrying and LOA a couple of years ago and have found it helpful: http://alifeofperfectdays.blogspot.com/2012/02/for-all-crazy-obsessive-worriers-free.html

It's a guest post by Denise Duffield Thomas, and she suggests imagining what you don't want to happen, and then asking yourself what you can do differently to avoid it happening, and what you can learn from it. I find the idea of imagining what you're afraid of quite scary, but then it may be useful if you can use it as a learning experience. For me just thinking about it in this alternative way makes me feel me less scared.

Here are a few more posts on fears and manifesting:

https://www.amandalinettemeder.com/blog/how-to-stop-a-negative-thought-from-manifesting (Also linked to this in the HA post)


Note: Amanda is a psychic medium and she mentions premonitions in this post, so if you think it might trigger a worry for you about those type of subjects then please read with caution. :)


https://sarahprout.com/how-to-release-your-fears-before-they-manifest

https://www.juliettekristine.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-fear-and-negative-thoughts-when-manifesting

https://amybscher.com/universal-law-of-attraction-fear-factor/*

And two more posts on dealing with worries:

https://unchainyourserenity.com/2018/08/30/how-to-control-your-worries-so-they-dont-control-you/ (Antivirus warning since I think site is now gone)

https://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.com/2018/11/lifestyle-you-worry-too-much-here-are.html

Plus a video: https://amy-b-scher.mykajabi.com/p/free-from-worry


Coping with and shifting fear

In the book How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can by Amy B. Scher, she says that every fear probably comes down to a core worry that you'll end up unsafe (Chap. 10, Pg. 225). I think that is very true. I myself do not like uncertainty and feeling unsafe, but both of those things are part of being alive! I've felt unsafe due to being bullied at school, and in later years my fears focused on health and my body.

I recommend Amy's book for techniques to help you shift fear. She believes that emotions directly affect the physical body and she healed herself from physical illnesses including Lyme disease and autoimmune conditions, as well as anxiety, Some of the techniques she uses are EFT, muscle testing and The Sweep (her own technique). . You can find out more about all the methods on her website and also download a free emotional healing cheatsheet. And if you visit this link you can download a PDF which describes The Sweep: https://amybscher.com/clearing-harmful-beliefs-healing-happiness/

Update 11/4/19: I can no longer find the download page, but you can read about The Sweep here: https://amybscher.com/energy-therapy-techniques/

And read how to do it here: http://heatherdane.com/how-to-stop-taking-things-personally/

Amy also has a good post about calming your nervous system: https://amybscher.com/instantly-calm-your-nervous-system/


Here are a few posts on dealing with fear:


https://www.thediaryofanempath.com/recentposts/2016/10/31/how-to-overcome-fear

https://lightloveandspirit.com/5-ways-release-fear/

http://kajalpandey.com/blog/fearisaliar/

https://kriscarr.com/blog/kris-carr-fears/

http://latishacotto.com/yogitishblog/secret-to-overcoming-fear


I especially like the suggestions in the Light Love and Spirit post 5 Ways to Release Fear! (2nd link). I think that No. 1. Acknowledge, feel and embrace your fear, is very important. Just getting it out in the open might help to release its power (or the power you feel it is has over you). In recent months I've done an exercise of writing down what I'm afraid of and then ripping it up. You could also burn your paper or throw it in water. I have done some rituals where I've burnt paper as well, to release what I want to let go of. It can feel good to watch the paper burn up. Note: please be careful when burning anything! You could also try No. 2, writing a letter to yourself releasing all fear.

In No. 3 Ashley (the blog owner) says to remind yourself that fear is a false emotion. I'm not sure how effective this will be for everyone because as I mentioned in Part 1, it doesn't always help me, and it don't think it works for everyone either. But if it helps you then of course that's a good thing! :)


Update 5/12/18: Just thought I'd also include this post about fear as a form of self love, because it's a different way to look at it that you may find helpful: http://bohemiancrossroads.com/blog-1/fear-as-love


Healing anxiety

As I said in the Sadness and Depression Part 2 post, the most important thing is to be getting some kind of help from a professional- doctor (GP, psychologist, psychiatrist), other kind of therapist etc. I have seen therapists in the past and this year I've participated in several groups at a local mental health resource centre. I'm also currently taking antidepressants. I'm not qualified to help anyone, so as I said in the disclaimer, please seek help from a medical professional. :)


If you also have health anxiety here are my posts focusing specifically on health anxiety (HA):

https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2016/10/healing-health-anxiety-part-1.html

https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2016/11/healing-health-anxiety-part-2.html

In the second post I talked about understanding your thoughts and dealing with negative thoughts, as well as worry and fear themselves, and looking at the patterns of how you experience anxiety.  Some of the links I'll share below are also included in those posts, since I think they also apply to anxiety in general.

First of all you can read more about patterns in these posts:

http://personalexcellence.co/blog/patterns/

https://viendamaria.com/its-puzzle-its-pattern-its-enigma-its-destroying-your-life-how-end-destructive-patterns-5-steps


I have done the Personal Excellence patterns exercise to see what messages my HA patterns are giving to me.

Once you've looked at your patterns you may feel ready to release them. There are some good techniques here: http://jianiteo.com/how-to-release-what-no-longer-serves-you/


This is an article linked to from the No More Panic article I referenced in Part 1: https://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/articles/glovesoff/

It's about depression as well as anxiety. I like the perspective that you're not your symptom, you are you.

Hilary Jacobs Hendel describes anxiety as an "inhibitory" emotion. You can read more about her take on it here: https://www.hilaryjacobshendel.com/post/2018/09/06/11-signs-youre-out-of-touch-with-emotions

These sites have some suggestions for coping with anxiety:

http://www.pennilesspagan.com/2017/05/the-truth-about-anxiety.html

https://www.thirteenthoughts.com/living-with-anxiety/

http://spirituallyempowered.co.uk/no-more-anxiety/

Tips for easing chronic (ongoing) anxiety: https://strongsensitivesouls.com/easing-chronic-anxiety/ 

A variety of spiritual and practical tools to help deal with anxiety (found this post really helpful!):
https://gabbybernstein.com/deal-with-anxiety-spiritual-practical-tools/ 

Update 23/9/21: The above post (Gabby Bernstein) redirects to a mental health post. I can't seem to find it again, but here is a similar one about dealing with coronavirus anxiety: https://gabbybernstein.com/coronavirus-anxiety/

 

https://kelseyaida.com/theinspirationalblog/whats-in-my-anxiety-toolkit-the-best-crystals-teas-and-more

http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/anxiety.asp

Video: https://amy-b-scher.mykajabi.com/p/deal-with-anxiety

A book that is often recommended to people with anxiety is Self-Help For Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes (Hope and Help for Your Nerves in the US). Claire explains how the nervous system works and provides methods for treating "nervous illness" as she call it. The book was originally published in 1962 and the edition I have is from 1977, so some things are a but outdated now. In particular I don't think continuous sedation is used much anymore for mental/nervous illness. However I think you can still find the book helpful. I found it helps me sometimes.

Claire's main method consists of these steps:

Facing
Accepting
Floating
Letting time pass

So that's facing your fears, accepting the sensations/symptoms and thoughts that are caused by your anxiety, "floating" past them and letting time pass. You can read a bit more on the floating part here: https://www.anxietycoach.com/claire-weekes.html


Melody Fletcher who wrote the book Deliberate Receiving about the Law of Attraction, has a post on releasing anxiety:  https://melodyfletcher.com/2014/08/14/how-to-release-anxiety/

She mentions how the way current society is contributes to anxiety because we live in a fearful environment, and also we're willing to put up with feeling uneasy and anxious because we don't want to offend anyone, or miss out on an experience. I do think this is true because I do worry about upsetting people, and sometimes may be anxious about doing something but I'd like to do it anyway, so I go ahead. (E.g. going to a Meetup event).

Melody has suggestions for releasing anxiety in the cases of feeling anxious because you feel trapped in a situations or being afraid of the future. Good tips are acknowledging what you're afraid of, and visualising the outcome you want instead.


Tools for coping

I was originally planning to write more but this is turning out to be quite a long post, so for now I'm gong to give a brief summary on anxiety tools. I can go more in depth in a future post. :) Some helpful tools are:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is about changing the way you think by challenging negative thoughts and thinking patterns and replacing them with more positive ones, and new thinking styles. So it's similar to LOA in a way! It's used to help with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and OCD. Visit these links for more info:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/

https://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/articles/therapy/

http://www.bump-to-baby.com/2018/06/managing-anxiety-cbt-techniques-ive.html



EFT

EFT  also known as Tapping) is short for Emotional Freedom Techniques. It's a type of treatment based on energy healing and psychology techniques such as acupuncture and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). It was Gary Craig who really introduced EFT to the public in the 90s, although tapping itself was created by Dr. Roger Callahan as part of TFT (Thought Field Therapy). You can read more about the history of tapping here: https://goe.ac/history_of_tapping.htm

And here's more on EFT:

http://www.theenergytherapycentre.co.uk/eft-explained.htm

What you do is "tap" on the energy meridians in the body with your fingers while repeating certain statements. The idea is that you first speak about your negative thoughts while saying that you love and accept yourself even though you have this problem/negative pattern. You then follow it up with positive statements. So you would start with, "Even though I am really anxious/have anxiety/am an anxious person etc., "I deeply and completely love and accept myself". You say this 3 times while tapping on the "Karate Chop point". You then tap through the points while repeating the problem/issue (what Brad Yates calls "the Reminder Phase", related to whatever you're worried about. When you start to feel some relief you change your dialogue to a more optimistic/positive one, such as, "Yes, I'm an anxious person, but I'm doing my best to address it. I'm taking steps to heal and I'm starting to feel better day by day", or something like that. Once you get the hang of it you can create your own statements. (I've had a go but need more practise!). I'm not the best at explaining it, so please visit the below links for a more in depth explanation:

https://www.emofree.com/nl/eft-tutorial/tapping-basics/how-to-do-eft.html

http://www.bradyates.net/eft.html

There are different methods of doing it and some people use more points than others.

I've often heard about EFT over the years. I've tried it in the past just briefly and didn't find it that useful, but the past year or so I've been using it more and got on with it a bit better. I do find it hard to focus my mind sometimes, as with meditation.

Amy B. Scher has a good video about EFT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXF3SOF4Ghg

And Abiola Abrams has a video specifically for obsessive worrying , anxiety and feeling afraid. I used to do this fairly regularly but haven't for a while. Time to get back to it! I always enjoy Abiola's videos; they have an uplifting vibe for me. :) Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yBn0ZEew9M&t=3s

Brad Yates has one where he taps on anxiety as well that I've used before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6kq9N9Yp6E&t=2s


Affirmations/Mantras

Affirmations are positive statements you can use to improve your life. People use them for healing/feeling better in general and manifesting. For a quick background in using them to manifest visit this post: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2013/08/law-of-attraction.html

And for a whole post about affirmations check out this link: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2016/09/affirmations.html

Self help author Louise Hay worked a lot with them and taught affirmation work. I recommend her book You Can Heal Your Life  if you're interested in learning more.

Mantras are similar to affirmations but they are powerful words often in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. A couple of examples are "Om gum ganapataye namaha" which clears obstacles or "Sat nam" which translates as "truth identified" or "truth is your name". You can use mantras in meditation, yoga, for manifesting, or whenever you like. Mantras are more of a devotional/spiritual practice. I briefly covered them in my Spiritual Tools/Practices post. Martha Blessing of Soul Light Academy says that an affirmation changes a belief, while a mantra moves energy. Visit these links for more on the difference between them:

http://wholehearteryoga.com/blog/mantras-affirmations

https://www.integrativenutrition.com/blog/2016/08/mantras-vs-affirmations-what-s-the-difference


Check out these links for some affirmations and mantras

https://www.louisehay.com/101-best-louise-hay-positive-affirmations/

https://amybscher.com/5-positive-healing-affirmations-actually-work/

http://suzanneheyn.com/mantras-tools-to-calm-the-mind-and-release-anxiety/

https://www.malaprayer.com/blogs/news/6-meditation-mantras-to-alleviate-stress-and-anxiety



Meditation and mindfulness

I've often mentioned that I'm not that into meditation! lol. I even wrote a post about meditation alternatives. But I do sometimes do it. Visit this post for a few meditation links:

https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2017/01/spiritual-toolspractices.html

My Alternatives to Meditation post:  https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2015/02/alternatives-to-meditation.html

Tess Whitehurst meditation for anxiety relief: https://tesswhitehurst.com/5-minute-meditation-for-anxiety-relief/


Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, really paying attention to what's going on around you. By doing this it's supposed to help you feel less stressed and anxious. If you struggle with meditation you may get on better with mindfulness. I have explored it a bit but not much, so perhaps I can more in the future. Here is some more information about mindfulness:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/

https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/#.XAQ8SDGYQdU



Nutrition

At the beginning of the year I took a Food and Mood course, about how food affects our physical and mental health. It was interesting to learn about it and try some new foods. I have made a couple of changes, such as eating a different type of peanut butter and mostly using sea salt instead of table salt. I shared these links about food and mood in the Sadness and Depression Part 2 post and thought they would be useful to share again here:

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/food-and-mood/#.W4Lk7cInYdV

https://www.mindcharity.co.uk/wellbeing-article/food-and-mood/


I'll finish with a few more links:

NHS self help leaflets including one for anxiety and health anxiety: https://web.ntw.nhs.uk/selfhelp/

Post about using anxiety as a signal to increase emotional health: https://www.hilaryjacobshendel.com/post/2018/09/08/Using-Anxiety-as-a-Signal-for-Emotional-Health

Post on using anxiety as a tool for success: http://www.everydayloamagic.com/blog/anxiety-is-not-the-enemy-but-a-tool-for-success

Leeor Alexandra video of breathing techniques for anxiety (my fave is alternate nostril breathing):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3UwzFOlRvo&feature=youtu.be

Guest post on  Amy B. Scher's site about everyday healing tools and practices: https://amybscher.com/every-day-healing-tools-practices/

Melody Fletcher shares the 7-11 breathing technique: https://melodyfletcher.com/2012/05/29/overcome-anxiety-with-the-7-11-breathing-technique/

Self help and wellbeing: https://www.samh.org.uk/about-mental-health/self-help-and-wellbeing



My Pinterest boards:

Healing: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/moonsparkle84/healing/

Mental Health: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/moonsparkle84/mental-health/


Summing it up

I hope this post has been helpful. It turned into quite a long one, so thank you if you've read to the end! :) So many of us feel anxious these days. In the past year or so, people have been talking about mental health more and more openly which is good. Anxiety has really been a big issue for me (took over from the depression in recent years), but I have times of feeling better and I hope to move past it.

The next subject will probably be shame and then I'll move onto the more "positive" emotions.

You can find some helpful links under Mental Health in the Websites and Books section on the Resources page here, and under Healing and Mental Health on the Helpful Articles Library page here, or in the sidebar on the main page of the blog.

Read the rest of the posts in the Feeling Your Emotions series here:

Intro: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2017/11/feeling-your-emotions-introduction.html

Anger (Part 1): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/02/feeling-your-emotions-anger-part-1.html

Anger (Part 2): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/04/feeling-your-emotions-anger-part-2.html

Sadness and Depression (Part 1): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/07/feeling-your-emotions-sadness-and.html

Sadness and Depression (Part 2): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/08/feeling-your-emotions-sadness-and.html

Fear and Anxiety (Part 1): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/10/feeling-your-emotions-fear-and-anxiety.html


*11/4/19: Links now gone.

Photo: Moonsparkle 2018.

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