Anxiety is running rife in the world today – nearly 80% of all my clients have an anxiety complaint and what makes it so challenging to pin down and treat is because anxiety itself is the ultimate SHAPE SHIFTER.
Just when you think you have found it, brought it into the light and healed it, just like a slippery, little magical creature, it has the nasty habit of changing form and emerging somewhere else.
Anxiety may start in the mind, but it often manifests itself in the body through physical symptoms. It can appear as the embarrassing blush, the upset stomach, the irritated skin, the nervous tick, the aching neck or the pounding head. In fact, it can show up as any kind of physical manifestation you could possibly imagine, and as a practising therapist I’ve seen pretty much everything.
Anxiety often moves from one part of the body to the next. Perhaps starting off in one form in childhood (like teeth grinding or hair pulling) and moving to some other complaint or condition in adulthood (like eczema or irritable bowel). But all of these conditions can come to us at any time and even appear and disappear over the course of our life.
Of course, IBS (and the other aforementioned conditions) aren’t always anxiety related but the two often occur together and can make each other worse. The gut in particular is very sensitive to psychological stress and, vice versa, the physical and social discomfort of physical problems can make a person, by proxy, feel even more anxious.
If it were to feature in a Harry Potter movie ‘anxiety’ would probably be depicted as a troubled swirl of childlike energy that could shape shift into any ailment or body part at will. It definitely stems from a younger, part of us though because it’s often been there since childhood and likes to try and keep us small in some way.
It’s a troubled little thing, that is always hiding, and sometimes it does such a good job at concealing itself from the outside world that other people don’t even know it’s there at all. But when you feel that sinking sensation, that tightness or fear rising again, you know it hasn’t really gone far away – it’s just been hiding out somewhere else.
It’s sneaky and clever and always looking for new things to morph into but it’s not malevolent or unkind. In fact, it’s important to understand the childlike intentions behind your fears. In some respects, it is trying to do you a favour by giving you a very physical visual clue that there’s some unresolved anxiety issues still hanging around in the deeper layers of your subconscious that you might just want to take a deeper look at.
Of course, there are all sorts of tonics, and creams and lotions and potions and tablets and medications that we can take to try and ease the physical symptoms of anxiety but if we don’t address the internal cause of the issue – it is likely that we will simply be chasing the shape shifter continuously around the body for years to come
The roots of anxiety always run way deeper and are on the inside – so if we truly want to heal the shape shifter – we need to look at healing the root cause not just the external problem on the surface and to do this we need to look at what thoughts we are feeding it.
We need to look at what is going on inside our minds when the anxiety appears because one thing is certain, it can’t keep reappearing unless some fearful, repetitive thinking is happening internally and feeding the problem.
Often these thoughts have become so deeply ingrained at the unconscious level that we don’t even realise we are thinking them any longer – they have just become the norm and this is where we need to start making the change on the inside first.
So next time you notice some ailment flaring up on your body give yourself an internal health check too and notice if your anxiety levels internally are simply being mirrored by physical symptoms externally.