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Over Anxious - a worried mind in the modern world.

We're not supposed to have access to as much information as we find ourself having in the modern world.

In a time where so many of our systems are overstretched, complicated and our news harbours fear and unknown, beyond that which we have felt before.

We are facing an epidemic of over-consumption that has led us all to feeling fear.

Anxiety, by definition, is our mind's ( and body's) response to risk. So in a lot of ways, its not something bad or wrong with us. It can, in the right dose and context - just like stress- help our body to attune, focus and be motivated on a goal.

A biological and psychological response to manage our way through a scenario or situation.

You might say that as the chemicals shift in our mind and body - we do anxiety. Instead of having it.

When a threat is perceived this can trigger our stress response, raising the cortisol levels in our mind which trigger a fight or flight response.

In the past, in our cave man and woman years. We were anxious or stressed about potential threats like wooly mammoths, or if our fire would go out and we could cook food.

Our modern day wooly mammoths, as I like to call them. Are way more frequent. Emails, Life pressures, News stories, communicating with others, workload, money worries. Confidence.

They all take up space in our mind.

Because our mind and body is one interconnected system we experience a range of thoughts and feelings which can mean we have strategies and behaviours as part of our anxiety too:

Anxiety can affect both your body and mind. The Mental Health Foundation lists the following symptoms.

The effect on your mind can include:

  • a feeling of dread or fearing the worst

  • feeling on edge or panicky

  • difficulty concentrating

  • irritability

  • feeling detached from yourself or the world around you

Physical feelings can include:

  • restlessness

  • feeling dizzy or light-headed

  • wobbly legs or pins and needles in your hands and feet

  • shortness of breath or hyperventilating

  • heart palpitations (a noticeably strong, fast heartbeat)

  • nausea (feeling sick)

  • needing the toilet more or less often

  • sweating

  • sleep problems

  • panic attacks

Where stress might be isolated to an intense emotional and physical response to a particular situation. Anxiety is a little different. I often say, if anxiety were a person, it would be a clairvoyant. Spending all its time trying to predict the future. Running through worst case scenarios that create fear ( and anxiety) before we are even in a situation.

When it is not busy trying to worry us about what could happen. It might be pulling us back into analysis paralysis of a situation that has already happened. Scrutinising and concerning us with what we could have done differently. What people might think about us, how we might have been judged.

These past and future situations are both fictional of course, in many ways.

Yes, the experience is true to you. But the past is unchangeable and you'll probably find the future scenarios play out, more than often, in a seemingly simpler, calmer way.

Working in the third sector, and health care too, in my past career. I saw how many people were experiencing anxiety. It's exhausting, can contribute to low mood, lead you into saying yes to things you don't want or have time for and knock your confidence.

Coaching in Nature, means that when anxious people come to the session, the woods gives them an additional helping hand. With little conscious thought. Because we all know it is really hard to learn new things, or listen actively and deeply or make sense of stuff when you are stressed or anxious.

So Nature helps do the initial healing work.

Sometimes I will sit with someone in silence for the first part of the session. It might seem strange but this is an essential part of helping you regulate yout nervous system.

A theory called Attention Restoration Theory identified that between 5-20 minutes of nature connected time - simply being in a natural environment - can help mind and body to totally reset.

By this I mean - all that tension, the shallow or tight briefing you may or may not be conscious of, the busy head and mind clutter. All that dissipates when we've had a bit of time walking, wandering or simply sitting or lying in the woods.

My 'optimising' your inner biological and psychological state to a calmer, less tense and more relaxed space. Things already feel remarkably better.

In fact an employee on a team away day once said to me. 'I think we could just come and sit in the woods and do none of this other stuff {well-being + personal development} and we would still feel loads better".

They were right of course and they did.

Once your mind and attention are restored. You would be amazed how much easier it is to understand, comprehend or recall solutions to the challenges and situations that make you feel the anxiety.

Once calmer, you can learn to see yourself as an ecosystem of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that interact with other people, things and situations around you. Just like a natural ecosystem there will be things you can learn to do, or unlearn. That supports you to feel resilient, and create conditions that mean the anxiety triggers become more manageable. And you grow a deepened awareness of their meaning and your response. How to re-train and maintain ways that could help you feel much more in control.

Because we live in an ever changing world, there will be strategies, resources and responses that become more or less relevant to different issues and problems.

Having a calmer mind, in which to suss all this out. Goes a long way.

And with a clearer head you may find you can understand some core principles, that make anxiety's protective and reactive response, less relevant. As you resource yourself more confidently in the face of those situations that were causing you angst.

Because everyone's circumstances are different, so too will some of the strategies and approaches that help you feel safer and calmer instead of anxious and overwhelmed.

Its often a combination of things that will work best for each unique human. But nature can help because of its inter-connection with our own natural systems of mind and body and the way we respond.

If you want to begin to learn this stuff for yourself. Find a nature space and spend some time allowing yourself ( mind and body) to reset.

Where the Mind Grows:

If you would like some help with feelings and experiences of anxiety, be sure to check our the rest of the website for a range of coaching services that aim to help declutter and quiet the mind and bring confidence back to who you are in this chaotic world.

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