Jessica (not her real name) snuck into my office, curly blonde hair half covering her soft features. I walked her back to the treatment room, invited her to sit, and before I’d even asked her why she was there, all of her worries came flooding out.
“I’ve always been an anxious person”, she said, “but it’s never gotten in the way of my life before. The other day I was in the car and got really dizzy and nauseous. I was afraid I was going to faint. I don’t even know what caused it, but now I’m scared to drive. I don’t want to pass out behind the wheel”.
She went on to tell me that her neck and shoulders, while always tight, had lately been causing her lots of pain. That pain has gotten worse since her stress and anxiety skyrocketed about a year ago. After a death in the family, she started having panic attacks, with severe chest pain and shortness of breath. The symptoms sent her to the emergency room more than once for fear of a heart attack.
Why We Get Anxious
Stories like this are becoming more and more common. Our lifestyles are increasingly busy, with lots of distractions to keep our brain from settling down. We have immediate access to news from all around the world, including mass shootings and terrorist attacks. Our current government feels unstable, with health care, women’s rights, and more at risk. We’re working longer hours, with more pressure at work. We have to shuttle our kids to more places than ever. We peruse our friends Facebook pages and think their lives are better than ours (they’re not).
By itself, this could trigger a sensitive person to have severe anxiety (especially this year with our current political climate). But most of us are hardier than that. Some of us are even walking around oblivious to how modern lifestyles are affecting our stress. And then something happens. It could be a very small thing, or it could be something huge. And that one thing is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Just like Jessica, many people report that their life was going great, and then they woke up one day with debilitating anxiety. But it takes multiple stressors to trigger any disease process. Genetics by itself isn’t enough (watch this video about epigenetics). Poor lifestyles choices by themselves aren’t going to ruin you. A stressful 6 months, with no other factors, isn’t the end of the world. But add them all together, and you’ve got a recipe for anxiety (and pretty much most health concerns that come your way).
What Can We Do About It?
So I gave Jessica some lifestyle suggestions, we practiced a little deep breathing. And we got started with some acupuncture.
For her first treatment, we released the tension in her upper back and neck, as well as treating her anxiety. Jessica came back in 3 days later and was already feeling much better. She had driven to the office without any fear of passing out. Her neck and shoulder tension was much improved, and she survived without a single anxiety attack.
In between those treatments, she practiced deep breathing exercises a few times each day, for a few minutes. She took the flower elixirs that I had mixed for, and kept up with my other suggestions. Jessica has come in for a few more treatments, and each time makes more improvements. We’ve started to space the treatments out farther, and each time she can make it longer without having severe anxiety or dizziness.
For even more information on how anxiety happens, and what you can do about it, sign up for our free Anti-Anxiety E-Course below. You’ll get 6 emails, 1 every few days, each with a golden nugget of helpful information.