Anxiety disorder is one of the most commonly experienced mental health disorders among adults in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly 40 million adults in the United States are living with anxiety every single day. Anxiety is a mental health condition that affects the body as well. Tension, stress, and worry are energetic experiences felt from head to toe. Coping with anxiety focuses largely on attempting to convince the brain it isn’t anxious and that it doesn’t have to be anxious. A misfire of the fight-or-flight response, anxiety builds as ontop of itself as more anxious thoughts and fears continue to build.
Anytime that we feel unsafe, we trigger the fight or flight response in the body. The fight or flight response is part of our human evolution to help us fight against what we perceive as threats. Whether it is a feeling, a trigger, a sound, a sensation, a reminder, or a visual cue, whatever stimuli we receive, it makes us feel unsafe, which then makes us feel triggered. Our mind immediately spins. Thoughts go at a million miles per minute, creating fear out of fear, deepening the sense of being unsafe, and growing the severity of the threat.
Creating feelings of safety tricks the brain out of feeling unsafe. Even if the situation we are in is triggering, is somewhat threatening, and is making us feel unsafe, we can cool our brain into a state of calm. A discipline of therapy called Seeking Safety helps those who are recovering from trauma create a state of safety for themselves when they are experiencing the anxiety of their PTSD. The most instant way to create safety is to repeat a safety mantra like “I am safe”. Affirmations which use the “I am” statements change the wiring of the brain. Declarative in nature, we notice the things we say about ourselves. After declaring a state of safety and repeating that declaration, we can take other actions to feel safe.
Each person will experience safety differently. Cozy blankets, deep breathing, a favorite snack, receiving a hug from a loved one, hearing a familiar voice on the phone, taking a walk, listening to a song- safety can come from anywhere. Safety is what reduces your heart rate, halts the production of stress hormones, and takes that high energy experience back down to earth again.
New Vista Behavioral Health is committed to helping you on your road to long term recovery. Begin our partnership today by calling 888-316-3665.