Beat Anxiety: The Mind-Body Way

October 6, 2010 Kate White

Dare I say it, treating anxiety can be kind of, well, fun? I learnt a genuinely enlightening lesson this week about getting in touch with calm through body movement and mindfulness techniques. Sounds fancy but it's actually a really down to Earth way to stop anxiety.

I strained my Achilles tendon running, of all things, earlier in the week --Very impressive bruise. Anyway, when it comes to anxiety it doesn't always pay to push. It isn't a war: You're just looking for peace.

Anxiety is still a struggle, for most of us, even when you get that it isn't a fight. So off I went to Yoga to to ease the strain, both in body and brain.

Creating the space to treat anxiety


The movements were slowly, gently telling us it was OK, just then, to listen to our bodies. We didn't have to push and pull to succeed. Guess I decided to learn that one the hard way.

Relaxation can be achieved by doing less, and less with more of the self. In fact, I hardly had to do anything more than breathe. That gentleness, the flow, like a river running towards the sea, is what stops anxiety.

Panic isn't often right about what will happen if you let go; I mean the world is unlikely to end, even if it feels like it definitely could.

Taking your focus inward, towards a stillness that doesn't care so much about catastrophe and anxiety, that's a movement thing. You were worried I was going to tell you to exercise, right?

Movement is a powerful way to create the space to sit with your feelings. But if that seems too tricky or weird that's fine too.

Maybe try drinking a cup of tea whilst noticing every sense and sensation of lifting that cup.

What causes anxiety?

Stress and panic may be about unresolved (usually unconcious) things in our lives. They'll keep coming back , in different ways, until we discover what works to treat the real anxiety issue.

Metaphors are a great way to think about that: where anxiety's coming from and what approaches could work for you?

For some, anxiety is a kick in the guts, a vice in the mind, a chain around their neck. For others maybe it's having feet that want to run, or an image of being paralyzed, or void.

The body-mind connection is present in almost all our everyday speech around nerves, stress and tension.

Anxious bodies create anxious minds

Is there a physical way in which anxious, trapped mind-body sensations could be expressed? Something that would allow you to open into those very scary feelings, when you're in control? Rather than when you're in the midst of a panic attack.

Express anxiety and get control

Putting your experiences of anxiety into a new context, re-framing them, allows you to control anxiety in body and mind for better mental health. It's as if you can turn down the volume by channeling that terrible anxiety through a body space that isn't so much about disconnection and fear.

It's amazing to me that moving in new ways, connecting with what my body can do for and with me, allows me to treat anxiety.

Harmonize your emotions and your physical, felt experience of anxiety. Acknowledge your anxiety, then allow the way you experience it to have a place in your life, on your terms.

Oh and don't try this at home kids, unless you're prepped and supported for the emotional release. It may last a day or two.

The longer you can sit with any expression of anxiety in new and safer situations, the easier you'll begin to breathe. And the more effective anxiety management tools can be.

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APA Reference
White, K. (2010, October 6). Beat Anxiety: The Mind-Body Way, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Kate White

connie haluschakl
October, 29 2010 at 8:29 pm

I am having a problem dealing with my memory. I can't seem to remember where I put things. My mind goes completely blank when I try to remember what I did with things I want to find. I find it so fustrating & upsetting as each day goes by. I don't know what to do anymore. What can I take to help me back on the track of remembering? It is driving me crazy.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kate White
October, 30 2010 at 12:43 am

Hi connie,
That does sound incredibly frustrating. If you're looking for something, a pill, to take to help with your memory, you'd need to speak to your doctor or other similarly qualified mental health professional who knows your medical/psychological history.
Memory trouble as you describe can be a result of many things, so there may or may not be one thing that'll fix that for you; It could be a side-effect of medication, a factor of age (which is really very common), a result of prior head injury and/or trauma, a symptom of something primarily neurological, or related to dissociation, PTSD, stress, depression, anxiety (obviously) etc.
It's unlikely to be one of the scarier sounding things on that list - they tend to be on the rarer side - but still, my best advice is to have a chat with your GP about what you're going through. He/she should be able to help determine what's going on for you, and why.

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