What it is, causes, cures
The earliest memories of anxiety are from my childhood, when my mother would get ready to go out and I felt an unpleasant coldness in my belly, hands and feet. When I turned eighteen I had my first full-fledged panic attack, when my heart raced so hard that it felt like it was going to break out of my chest, and I thought that I was going to die. For many years after this first incident, I had numerous shades and grades of anxiety, and when I began to experience relief through healing arts and methods, I found out that there was a rich world of information laying underneath my feelings.
Anxiety is an umbrella term for a set of feelings such as tension around the chest and the belly, cold sensations, heart palpitations, and pressure in the head. The experience can arise in response to a life event or situation, or it can be chronic and generalized.
To address anxiety, it is helpful to begin by looking at its possible causes and factors. A few factors to consider are:
- An unresolved current life dilemma. For example: should I stay in my stressful job or marriage, or should I leave? Very often merely making the decision is all that is needed to have peace. Even if there are difficult consequences as a result of this or another course of action, resolving the dilemma through choice brings immediate and significant relief.
- A parasitic - viral, bacterial or other infection. Parasites are known to affect the host’s mood in order to elicit a behaviour which ensures the reproduction of the parasite. For example, the rabies virus that has infected an animal causes its host to act aggressively and bite another animal, ensuring self-propagation through the infected animal’s saliva. A civilized infected person won’t bite another, and if emotion-type feelings are not being expressed in an embodied way, any aggression that the parasite causes remains internalized, causing anxiety. For the sake of peace of mind it is useful to get tested and rule out parasites.
- Extreme fatigue, whether physical or mental, feels like anxiety. In the healing arts jargon, Qi / Chi / Ki (vitality) depletion causes an anxious feeling, and is usually treated with energy healing and by practicing a Ki management practice such as Qigong, Tai-Chi, Reiki, Yoga or some Martial Arts.
- A nutritional deficiency can cause fatigue. Looking at the minerals and vitamins in the body could prove useful, as well as replenishing the deficiency while remedying its causes. For example, low vitamin D due to insufficient exposure to sunlight can be remedied either with getting more sun or vitamin D supplementation.
- Say what you need to say! Holding back from articulating something important, such as a request for need fulfillment, creates a tension in the body which is interpreted as anxiety. There is no medication that can remedy this kind of tension other than saying what needs to be said. This is true for words that must be uttered today, or something you needed to say thirty years ago, but for some reason you couldn’t.
- Unfinished sensory business. Experienced meditators think that chronic anxiety and pain are merely experiences that haven’t been fully experienced, and that bringing that unfinished experience to completion is all that it takes to dissolve the solidified physical or emotional sensations into flow, and have peace.
- Vicarious anxiety. When a person lives with someone who suffers with anxiety, empathetic resonance can cause the person to feel the other’s anxiety as their own, making it difficult and often impossible to tell the difference between what they themselves feel, and what their partner, parent or roommate feels. The remedy is either to move out or to practice specific personal protection and enhancement practices like the ones taught by practitioners of Qigong, Reiki and Martial Arts.
In regards to a cure, there are those of the opinion that anxiety cannot be cured, and one must learn to live and cope with it. Then there are those who hold the view that all anxiety can be cured by one single method or set of prescribed methods and remedies.
I personally disagree with both views, and think that each person and situation must be looked at, assessed and addressed according to the specific particulars and context in which the anxiety has arisen.