I’ve been experiencing more fear and anxiety over the past few months, and I’m curious if you are too.
It seems odd because we’re opening up and coming back to a more normal life, for which I’m grateful.
However, I don’t think we’ll ever go back to where we were. At least that’s my experience of my grief life. It’s just different, and I was forever changed. It’s more a matter of reintegration vs. getting back to “normal.”
I recently put out a survey on my Instagram story asking if my followers were also experiencing more anxiety than normal. 78% said yes.
We seem to be living and operating with fear & anxiety at the helm whether you’re still afraid of Covid or afraid of the vaccination, or afraid of the people who aren’t vaccinated or afraid of the people who are, etc,. There is fear everywhere.
Here’s what I’m worried about:
- The pandemic
- Getting Covid
- Being around more than 20 people, heck even just being near some people. My personal bubble has gotten much larger than it used to be; I need more space to feel okay.
- Climate change and that the building that collapsed in Florida is just the beginning of much more destruction to come.
- I worry a lot about what the world will be like in 20 years. So I worry for the future of anyone under the age of 25 and all other plants, animals, water, etc.
I’m naming it because I think fear & anxiety act a bit like shame in that when we name it, it begins to dissipate.
So, if you’d like to share some of your worries with me, I’m all ears, ears that are rooted in my heart. (Ooh, I’d like to draw that.)
Here’s a bit about the difference between fear and anxiety:
Fear is a normal and natural response to an immediate dangerous situation such as an unseen world wide quickly spreading virus.
I noticed an exhale as I read that it’s a normal response. Did you notice anything?
Fear is our body’s alarm system and it prepares us to act accordingly to present danger.
Anxiety is more diffuse and is about the possibility of something awful happening, so it’s a mental process. It comes from your mind’s interpretations of a possible dangerous scenario.
Fear seems easier to work with as we need to respond to an immediate threat and our nervous system reacts automatically to it the best way it knows how.
Whereas anxiety is more tricky. (I”ll say more about this in future blogs).
What I wanted to give you today is one way to manage your anxiety.
And for me, it starts with the body…
A few weeks ago I noticed that my hips were extremely tight. When I tuned into them, it felt as if all the emotions from March 2020 and onward were stuck there. According to some yoga and somatic experts, the hips are the “junk drawer” of the body.
Noticing my tight hips reminded me of the benefits of doing a regular TRE practice.
TRE’s are Trauma/Tension Release Exercises.
I discovered these a few months after my partner crashed on his mountain bike and broke his neck, resulting in our world going upside down as we learned how to live with quadriplegia.
I was in a somatic therapy class at the time and we had just done some anger release work. We were seated on the floor in a circle and were processing what just happened. Suddenly I noticed that my legs were shaking, yet I wasn’t controlling it. They were doing tiny and fast movements. I didn’t stop it as I knew and trusted what my body was doing automatically.
The group paused and all eyes were on me and I simply said quietly, so as not to interrupt my nervous system or the class, “My body is shaking off the trauma of the accident.”
And I let it shake for about 3-4 minutes until it stopped.
That’s when I found David Berceli’s work, or rather it found me. He wrote a book called The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process that describes how to do the trauma/tension release exercises. I was hooked and took a TRE level one training class.
The premise is simple-all humans in the face of fear or a traumatic event will contract in their psoas muscle. The psoas muscle is deep in the pelvic area and connects the femur bone to the lumbar spine. It essentially connects the upper and lower halves of our body.
When threat is detected the psoas muscle contracts and we naturally go into a sort of fetal position to protect our vital organs.
It’s quite amazing that the body does this to protect itself.
Say a little prayer of gratitude to your tight hips right now, they’re simply doing their joy to protect you.
So I’ve been doing this practice a few times a week. The exercises help you to release the tension and stuck emotions stored in your hips!
I’ve included a video for you to see the process and try it yourself:
I’ve also included David Berceli’s website where you can learn more, find a group near you or on zoom and check out his book.
Stay tuned for more tips on dealing with fear and anxiety. I just picked up a new book to dive into called “We Are All in Shock” by Dr. Stephanice Mines.
In the meantime, if you’d like to attend my Ripples of Loss online event to process what the hell just happened since March 2020, then sign up here:
It could be another way to help you process your anxiety and other emotions and be witnessed, heard and seen in the process.
We’ve changed, and so has the world.
I promise my body to stay as regulated as possible so I may continue to serve, love, play, grow and rest.
May you as well.
And happy shaking!
Beth, your grief friend.