🔑 Key Takeaways
- Anxiety is a physiological response to past trauma, and treating the root cause is key to long-term relief. Activities like breathwork, meditation, and somatic therapy can help calm the body and ultimately quiet the mind.
- To break the cycle of chronic anxiety, separate the physical sensations of alarm from the anxious thoughts in your mind. Find where you feel the anxiety in your body and focus on managing those sensations.
- Getting into our bodies and identifying physical sensations can alleviate anxiety and worry. Breathing exercises like taking two sniffs in and a long exhale or expanding our chest can help.
- Practicing breathing exercises for five minutes a day can train the body to relax automatically and help detect stress signals, aiding in managing stress effectively.
- When in a state of alarm or anxiety, it is vital to soothe the body rather than just ruminate in the mind. Grounding the self in the body can help regain cognitive functions and find better solutions.
- Breathing techniques can regulate hormone secretion and improve access to higher brain functions. Excessive use of smartphones and lack of social engagement can lead to emotional responses and anxiety disorders, especially in children.
- Early childhood experiences, such as eye contact, touch, and verbal affection, have a significant impact on mental health in adulthood. Parents can empower themselves by showing their kids a lot of facial expressions, touch, and affection to nourish the social engagement system early on.
- Using eye contact and touch with kids can engage the somato sensory cortex and signal emotional connection. Sending positive messages like 'you are safe, loved and happy' can foster a sense of safety.
- Affectionate touches, eye contact, and changing communication methods can signal safety to children, reduce cortisol in the body, and positively impact future behavior. Parents can use this knowledge to create a better environment for their children to thrive.
- Self-soothing techniques that stimulate the vagus nerve, such as breathing exercises, humming or chewing, can help reduce anxiety and stress by sending positive feedback to the brain, making you feel more relaxed and grounded.
- Wind instruments can aid in breath control, stimulate vagus nerve to create calmness. Using body to calm mind is more effective to heal anxiety than cognitive therapy alone. Deal with root cause to heal anxiety, not just cope.
- Childhood experiences and their impact on anxiety levels. Experiences in childhood can greatly impact a person's anxiety levels, making it important to address childhood experiences when exploring and treating anxiety. Health anxiety can stem from having a parent who was sick or addicted, and managing symptoms of anxiety alone is not enough. Root causes must be addressed for effective treatment.
- Childhood attachments shape our perception of the world, with secure attachments teaching us about emotional connection, while the absence of it causes social anxiety, rooted in the rejection of love. To heal, we need to ground ourselves in our body and engage our social engagement system through resilience-building practices like breathing techniques and meditation.
- Healing anxiety requires accepting and embracing rejected parts of oneself that adapted to childhood environments. Recognize and use the ALARM acronym to break life-long cycles. Use the body to calm the mind for effective results.
- Embrace all parts of yourself, even the emotions you may not want to feel. Understand these parts are trying to help you and adapt to them. Make peace with them and recognize the mind-body connection.
- To effectively handle anxiety, one must locate and embrace it within their body, learn from childhood experiences, and find practical approaches instead of simply managing symptoms.
- Connect with physical sensations, acknowledge emotions, and show self-love to comfort our younger selves. Regularly soothe our 'alarm' to lessen stress and heal trauma.
- Redirecting focus from thoughts to the body helps ease worrying and identify real issues. Consistent practice frees up mental space, enabling better control of reactions and personal growth.
- Exercise such as yoga and Tai Chi can help integrate individuals from within. Running or endurance sports may soothe anxiety or depression symptoms, but exploring the root cause is necessary for true healing instead of just numbing symptoms.
- Addressing the root cause of anxiety requires a holistic approach that goes beyond medication and traditional therapy practices. Medical professionals should look beyond their schools of thought to provide effective treatment options for patients.
- Somatic therapy is an important element in resolving unresolved childhood trauma and can provide long-term healing when combined with cognitive therapy. Healthcare professionals should consider additional training in this area to better understand their patients.
- Anxiety may stem from childhood experiences and sensitive nervous system. Identifying root cause is important. Nutrition plays a crucial role in mental health. Simple activities like playing games can help regulate arousal levels.
- Childhood trauma can lead to physical and mental health issues such as anxiety, IBS, and fibromyalgia. Understanding the root cause and addressing childhood trauma is crucial for long-lasting physical and mental wellbeing.
- Examining life story, managing the nervous system, and breaking the cycle of worry can help treat the root cause of IBS symptoms triggered by emotional trauma. Childhood experiences play a significant role in adult anxiety.
- Early childhood experiences, particularly separation from parents, can have significant impacts on mental health later in life. Developing a secure attachment with attuned and attached parents can build resilience and aid in handling stress. However, sensitive nervous systems can make even small traumas like separation have a lasting impact on the amygdala, affecting mental health in the future.
- Building resilience is possible for those dealing with childhood trauma-induced anxiety. Going back to the past and showing love, care, and protection to your younger self can change the way the brain reacts to triggers, leading to a better quality of life. Recognizing the alarm and feeling it can also help reduce anxiety levels.
- Awareness of the root cause of anxiety and incorporating safe, controlled use of psychedelics can be beneficial in treatment, but it's crucial to acknowledge and work towards healing the source of anxiety, as other approaches may be limited.
- While psychedelics can provide relief for anxiety by shifting one's perspective, they should not be used recreationally. Anxiety has physical and emotional roots, and childhood experiences can shape our self-worth and perception. Parents can guide their children but cannot shield them from pain.
- Acknowledge both the pros and cons of life experiences to reframe negative emotions into positive ones. Recognize the alarm is not all of you and use awareness and positive memories to weaken negative feelings.
- Before arguing with a partner, pay attention to bodily sensations and use the ABC method to connect with your inner child. Avoid triggers and prevent relationship blowups.
- Taking the time to understand our emotional and physical states through the ABC process can positively impact our lives by helping us overcome phone addiction, prevent conflicts, and address harmful behaviors such as binge eating. Building trust within ourselves and seeking the right resources can lead to permanent anxiety healing and contribute to a better quality of life.
- When experiencing anxiety, focus on the present moment and affirm your safety. By viewing the source of fear as your younger self and using the sensation of safety, you can calm your mind and alleviate worry.
📝 Podcast Summary
Understanding the Physiological Root of Anxiety.
Anxiety is not a disorder of the mind, but a physiological pattern imprinted on the body from past traumatic events. Understanding the body's alarm system is key to treating anxiety for good. Most treatments for anxiety fail in the long term because they don't address the root cause which is the state of alarm in the body. A cycle of alarm and anxiety is created when worry is treated as the cause of anxiety. Understanding where the alarm is located in the body is the first step towards healing. Activities like breathwork, meditation, and yoga, and therapies such as Internal Family Systems and Somatic can help. It's more effective to calm the body to calm the mind than the other way around.
Separating Anxiety and Alarm for Better Management
Anxiety and alarm are two separate entities that we often conflate together. Separating them can help break the cycle of anxiety and gain control. Feeling anxious about something is a natural part of human existence, but if it starts to overtake your life, wakes you up every day, and becomes a constant factor, it's a sign of chronic anxiety. To break the cycle, we need to find the alarm in our body and treat it separately from the anxious thoughts in our minds. Going into our body and finding where we feel the anxiety is crucial in managing it, rather than staying in our heads, trying to solve an unsolvable riddle.
The Importance of Tapping into our Bodies to Alleviate Anxiety and Worry
When we stay in our minds and worry, we create stories that stack up and make things worse. It's important to tap into our bodies and identify the physical sensations associated with our worries. The insular cortex creates an emotional signature of our trauma, which shows up in our body and affects how we feel now. We may feel the same way we did when we were 10 years old. By getting into our bodies and identifying the physical sensations, we can begin to alleviate anxiety and worry. Breathing exercises can help, such as taking two sniffs in and a long exhale or expanding our chest and exhaling through our teeth.
Learning to Relax the Body and Detect Stress Signals
Breathing exercises can help relax the body in stressful situations. Practicing five minutes of breathing exercises every day can train the autonomic nervous system to relax automatically. This is similar to how meditation works by practicing detachment from stressful situations. Learning to feel the sensations of stress in the body, like an alarm in the upper right back, can serve as an early warning system for stress overload. Rather than immediately trying to fix the situation, it's better to sit with the discomfort and acclimatize to the sensations. This helps in not immediately going up into the head to fix the situation.
The importance of calming the body to regain cognitive functions
When we experience alarm or anxiety, we tend to go up into our head and ruminate to avoid feeling the pain that is stuck in our body, which leads to survival state and shuts off our prefrontal cortex. Dr. Russell Kennedy advocates for finding and soothing the alarm in our body first, which is our younger child, to regain our prefrontal cortex blood flow back and be able to think of a better solution rather than trying to use our brain in an alarm state. Grounding ourselves in our body can help us get past the compelling narrative in our mind and calm ourselves before finding a solution.
The Effects of Hormones and Technology on Anxiety
Excessive cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine secretion can make us lose access to our prefrontal cortex, leading to emotional responses and fear-based behavior. Regulating our body through breathing techniques helps to shut off these hormones, making our prefrontal cortex active again. Society's distraction-based and mind-led culture, dopamine-driven smartphones, and lack of social engagement with facial expressions, tone of voice and body language are playing a big role in rising anxiety rates. Children's excessive use of smartphones isn't maturing their social engagement system, making it difficult for them to soothe themselves and others. Overloading the brain with excess information can lead to anxiety disorders.
The Impact of Early Childhood Experiences on Mental Health in Adulthood
Early childhood experiences, such as eye contact, touch and verbal affection, have a significant impact on an individual's mental health in adulthood. While therapy can be helpful, individuals who have not developed social engagement systems in their brain are unlikely to respond well to it. With the increase in stress and disconnection in society, anxiety rates are likely to go up. Parents can empower themselves by showing their kids a lot of facial expressions, touch, and affection. The social engagement system is being eroded with more people being isolated and engrossed in their own world. Thus, it is important to nourish the social engagement system early on in childhood through eye contact, touch, and presence.
The Power of Being Present and Engaged with Kids
Being present and engaged with kids, using eye contact and touch to soothe them, can help build their social engagement system. The somato sensory cortex, which is devoted to our hands and face, can be engaged to bring us into the present moment. It's important to bridge the next connection with kids, signaling emotional resonance and connection. This is not just for kids but also for adults like partners, signaling the importance of the person in your life. It's beneficial to send positive messaging to kids, such as 'you are happy, you're safe, you're loved' to create a feeling of safety.
Building Trust in Children Through Touch and Communication
Sending signals of safety to children by providing affectionate touches, building eye contact, and changing the order of how we communicate could help them develop a feeling of safety, affecting their future behaviors and reducing the likelihood of problems. Touch is an important instrument to reduce cortisol in the body and manage anxiety. The vagus nerve plays a pivotal role in managing anxiety through its parasympathetic system and can be stimulated by activities like singing, chanting, and providing affectionate touches. Neuroscientific research demonstrates that CT Aron nerve fibers get stimulated by wanted touch, which instantly changes the brain and reduces the level of cortisol. This knowledge could help parents to provide a better environment for their children's future.
Understanding the Vagus Nerve and its relation to Calming Techniques
Calming techniques such as breathing exercises or vibrations in the throat and body stimulate the vagus nerve and send positive feedback to the brain, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. This is why practices like yoga, chanting mantras, and oral activities like chewing or humming can have a calming effect on the body. 80% of signals from the body go to the brain, which is important in understanding the alarm-anxiety cycle, where signals start in the body and then are interpreted by the brain. While the root cause of anxiety can vary from person to person, self-soothing techniques that stimulate the vagus nerve can help people feel more relaxed and grounded.
The Healing Power of Wind Instruments on Anxiety
Playing wind instruments is a great way to work on breath control and manage your diaphragm. It also stimulates the vagus nerve, creating a sense of calmness and sending a message to the brain that things are okay. Using the body to calm the mind is much more effective in dealing with anxiety than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy alone. Therapy helps you understand the root cause of your anxiety but it is not enough to heal it. Healing only begins when the alarm stored in your body is dealt with. Dealing with the root cause is the only way to heal anxiety and not just cope with it.
Childhood experiences and their impact on anxiety levels
Experiences in childhood, especially those related to feeling safe, secure, and loved, can greatly impact a person's anxiety levels. Health anxiety can often stem from having a parent who was sick or addicted, which can make a person feel like life isn't safe and illness could strike at any moment. Access to information via the internet can exacerbate health anxiety, causing a person to go straight to worst-case scenarios. Managing symptoms of anxiety alone is not enough; root causes must be addressed for effective treatment. Early years of life strongly influence anxiety levels, making it crucial to address childhood experiences when exploring and treating anxiety.
The Two Drives of Humans and the Impact of Childhood Attachments on Social Anxiety
Humans have two main drives, physical survival, and emotional connection. Growing up in secure attachments teaches that life is about connection, while the absence of it in childhood teaches that life is about survival. The software in our brains for connection gets shut off in survival mode, leading to social anxiety. Anxiety fundamentally is the rejection of love and separates oneself from themselves. To heal long term, we need to ground ourselves in our body and engage our social engagement system to connect and regulate. By practicing breathing techniques, meditation, and building resilience in our nervous system, we can go on a positive reinforcing snowball and push fear away in favor of love.
Understanding Anxiety: Reconnecting Mind, Body, and Self
Anxiety is a mind-body disconnect and a result of rejection of parts of oneself that had to adapt to the childhood environment. Accepting and embracing these rejected parts can help heal anxiety by reconnecting the mind, body, adult self with the child's self. The acronym 'ALARM' includes abuse, loss, abandonment, rejection, and mature too early, which can fuel anxious thoughts and keep you caught in a cycle for life. It's powerful to recognize that this defensive adaptation is not who you are, but who you had to be, and it worked at the time but no longer works now. Using the body to calm the mind is more effective than using the mind to calm the body.
The Importance of Accepting and Embracing All Parts of Yourself
It is important to accept and embrace all parts of yourself, including the emotions that you may not want to admit or feel guilty about. This involves understanding that these parts are trying to help you and making peace with them. It can be helpful to academically identify the different parts of yourself that you struggle with and find ways to adapt to them. Acceptance is more passive, while embracing involves gratitude for how these parts have shaped you and the qualities they have helped you develop. This holistic approach to health recognizes that you cannot separate mind and body, and you should talk to and make peace with the different parts of yourself that make up your rich emotional tapestry.
Embracing Anxiety by Locating it in the Body
An effective way of dealing with anxiety is to locate where it manifests in the body and embrace it. Most people can find it, but we have never been trained to look for it in our body. Going into our body helps us heal as the only way to feel better is to locate it and embrace it. Journaling could also help in understanding our history as it can provide a different picture of our past. Instead of getting too tied up in thoughts, we should also experience the body. Childhood experiences can also affect our adult life, we can reverse engineer and find them in our body. It is important to find a practical approach to deal with anxiety rather than just managing the symptoms.
The healing practice of identifying and soothing our buried emotions.
When we bury a part of ourselves deep down to survive, it can be hard to identify and address the associated emotions. Connecting with our physical sensations in moments of anxiety or stress, acknowledging them, and soothing ourselves can help us find and comfort our younger selves that are asking for our attention. Rather than distracting ourselves from uncomfortable emotions with coffee or other strategies, we can take a pause, breathe, and show ourselves love and protection. By practicing this regularly, we can identify our 'alarm' and work on soothing it before entering stressful situations. Finding and acknowledging our trauma can be emotional but also calming and healing.
Practicing Mind-Body Connection Can Help Address Root Cause of Problems
Practicing getting out of the mind and into the body can be an effective way to address the root cause of problems. By redirecting the train from thoughts into the body, one can stop worrying and pay attention to the part that's really hurting, like the child in you. The benefits are twofold: it gets you out of your head and you're better able to deal with the issue. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes to create that space and react differently in the moment. Just like learning to drive or taking self-defense training, training your conscious and unconscious mind to do something can give you more control. Yoga or other breath-movement practices can help bring the mind and body back into connection.
The Importance of Understanding the Root Cause of Pain for True Healing
Exercise, including movement in yoga and intentional movements like Tai Chi Chiang, can help integrate individuals from the inside as it allows the body and breath to match up. On the other hand, running or endurance sports may create endogenous opioids as a way to soothe the symptom of anxiety or depression without going to the root cause. This is similar to how antidepressants work, by dropping down anxiety or depression levels to a manageable point. However, this delays the willingness of individuals to address the underlying pain and, instead, numb the symptoms. Rather than treating addiction or anxiety like a symptom, individuals should explore and understand the root cause of their pain to experience true healing.
The Limitations of Traditional Approaches to Anxiety Treatment
Medical doctors are not trained in trauma, which leads to a reductionist approach of medicating symptoms. Medications are beneficial but relying only on them can cause more issues. In dealing with anxiety, finding the root cause rather than just medicating the symptoms is essential. It requires tackling both the mind and body, which traditional therapy practices may not address. While therapists and healthcare professionals are trying their best, they are often bound by what they have learned in their schools of thought, resulting in limitations. Therefore, to provide effective treatment and help patients, it is essential to take a holistic approach to treat the root cause rather than just the symptoms.
The Importance of Somatic Therapy in Long-Term Healing
Changing the mind alone is not enough to heal people, and therapy that only focuses on the mind may wear off over time. Somatic therapy may take longer to start working, but it is more long term. A combination of both cognitive and somatic therapy can be beneficial. It would be helpful for therapists to take a little side training in somatic therapy to better understand their patients. Understanding where someone feels pain in their body is crucial to identifying and resolving the root issues of unresolved childhood trauma that manifests in various behaviors such as anxiety, addiction, personality/eating disorders, and more. Doctors and healthcare professionals are doing their best with the tools and knowledge they have.
Addressing Anxiety Through Root Cause and Nutrition
Adverse childhood experience and a naturally sensitive nervous system can lead to anxiety that is stored in the body. Treating the symptoms with medication or therapy alone is not enough. Finding and addressing the root cause is important to truly overcome anxiety. Nutrition is also an important factor in mental health. While whole foods should be the ideal source of nutrition, it can be challenging in our busy lives. Additionally, activities that trigger the sympathetic nervous system, like playing games with loved ones, can be helpful in regulating our arousal levels.
The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Chronic Conditions
Trauma experienced in childhood can lead to co-activation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which results in conditions like anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Neuroplastic pain caused by emotional pain can get put into the body and result in chronic pain. Many seemingly different diseases can have the same root cause. It's essential to understand the root cause of chronic issues like IBS rather than merely treating symptoms. Trauma experienced in childhood may have a significant impact on health later in life. Therefore, understanding and addressing childhood trauma is crucial to achieve long-lasting physical and mental wellbeing.
The connection between emotional trauma and IBS symptoms.
Emotional trauma and perception can significantly impact our gut health and cause IBS symptoms. The nervous system needs to be managed and retrained, and a patient's life story and timeline should be examined to understand and treat the root cause. The amygdala records anything that may have hurt us, and we may feel like a child when triggered, causing helplessness and powerlessness. Interrupting the conditioned emotional signature body state can break the spell of the alarm and bring us into our bodies, breaking the automatic cycle of worry. Childhood experiences, even those not considered big T traumas, can significantly impact our experience of anxiety as adults.
The Lasting Impact of Childhood Separation on Mental Health
Childhood separation from parents, even if forgotten, can have an impact on mental health and cause anxiety. A child's brain development before the age of five plays a significant role in building resilience. If a child has attuned and attached parents who provide a secure attachment, they are more likely to be resilient to stress later in life. However, a sensitive nervous system can make even small traumas like separation have a lasting impact. Memories are recorded by the hippocampus, and emotional components are remembered by the amygdala. Even if the hippocampus hasn't developed, separation can still be stored in the amygdala and impact mental health in the future.
Building Social Engagement and Resilience to Overcome Childhood Trauma-Induced Anxiety
Building social engagement system and resilience can help teenagers and adults deal with anxiety caused by events in their childhood. Going back to the past and showing love, care, and protection to your younger self can help change the way the amygdala reacts to triggers. Recognizing the alarm and feeling it can also help reduce anxiety levels. Dr. Russell Kennedy's approach in helping people deal with these issues is unconventional but has yielded positive results. It's important to understand that resilience can be built and that going back to the past to commiserate with your younger self can help change the way the brain reacts to triggers, leading to a better quality of life.
The Role of Psychedelics in Healing from Anxiety
Awareness is one of the most powerful tools in healing from anxiety. The root cause of anxiety is not the thoughts of the mind but the alarm in the body causing those thoughts. Psychedelics can be helpful, but they must be done with great care, attention, and in controlled settings. It is important to acknowledge the risks and downsides associated with the use of psychedelics. Reputable institutions are conducting studies on psychedelics that have shown quality results. It is crucial to be aware of the source of anxiety and to work towards healing it. The mind-based approach or pharmaceutical approaches alone are limited and may not have effective results.
Psychedelics and Anxiety: A Complex Relationship
Psychedelics can provide relief to some people suffering from anxiety by paralyzing the ego and allowing them to see themselves beyond their mental constructs. However, they should not be used recreationally and are not a first-line treatment. Anxiety is not just in the mind; there is an alarm in the body that creates a story in the mind. Children who are abused, neglected, or abandoned may stop loving themselves, leading to self-judgment, abandonment, blame, and shame. Parents can shepherd their children but cannot protect them from pain, which may ultimately lead to fulfilling life experiences. Every child has their path, and every situation has multiple interpretations.
Reframing Negative Experiences for Positive Outcomes
Most things in life have both pros and cons, and learning to see that is powerful. A negative experience can lead to positive outcomes, like how managing anxiety led Dr. Kennedy to help himself, and in turn, help others. Reframing negative experiences into positive ones is possible through awareness of our alarm system and by remembering the positive emotions connected to a past event. When we experience the alarm, we can take a moment to think about the good times to help weaken the negative feelings. It's important to recognize that the alarm is not all of you, and as an adult, we have the power to change our perception of it.
Using Body Awareness to Avoid Fights in Relationships
Before getting into an argument with a partner, focus on where you feel sensations in your body. By being aware of your body's response, you can make a conscious decision and avoid a fight. Drilling down into the specifics of the alarm in your system can help you connect with your younger self and make healing strides towards anxiety. The key steps for this are awareness (A), body and breath (B), and compassionate connection to your younger self (C). By using this process, you can avoid being triggered by the amygdala which has no memory and ultimately prevent relationship blowups caused by reverting to your inner child.
Developing Emotional and Physical Awareness through the ABC Process
Developing awareness of emotional and physical states through the ABC process can help alleviate phone addiction, prevent arguments, and catch behaviors like binge eating. Dr. Russell Kennedy's self-published book, Anxiety RX, and online course, Your Mind Body Prescription, offer powerful tools for permanent anxiety healing. Learning how to trust safety and love for oneself is essential, especially for individuals who never felt safe while growing up. Anxiety does not have to last a lifetime and changing the way it's understood and treated is crucial. Building awareness through the ABC process and finding a model that works can help influence psychiatrists, CBT therapists, and all sorts of therapists, and help individuals live a better life.
Overcoming Anxiety Through Reassurance and Present Focus
To alleviate anxiety, identify the alarm in your body and see it as your younger self to heal it. At any moment, ask yourself if you are safe in this moment and feel the safety. Anxiety is about future concerns and worries; trauma is about past experiences. By focusing on the present moment and affirming that you are safe, you can calm your mind and body. Anxiety is a mental interpretation of fear and worry. To live without anxiety, bring yourself into the present moment and reassure yourself that you are safe in that moment. The sensation of safety is a powerful tool to deal with anxiety.