With anxiety we can use different words that describe our experience of it. Our personal experiences are just that – personal. And yet, there is a familiarity / connection when we deeply listen to each other.
“When I feel anxiety, I feel it sort of like pins and needles across my chest and arm pits. Breathing moves to my chest. My heart feels like a brick. Throbbing in ears (especially with AirPods in) and clenched jaw. My shoulders rise hunched and get tight. In my head, I’m thinking “everything I do/done is wrong”.
“I typically experience anxiety throughout my nervous system. Often all over my body like a “stress blanket”. It’s a heat sensation, a prickly sensation and it can be a heaviness too. I feel it mostly on my chest and thighs, a bit on my stomach and arms. My limbs get heavy. But depending on the situation and who is involved, it can be anywhere connected to my nervous system – parts of the head, or my throat, etc. If it lasts for days such as with a very bad situation, it will settle in my lower back (unless I physically burn it off with exercise).”
“When I have anxiety, my stomach constantly feels like it’s in my chest and my heart is racing. I can’t focus, my mind is racing and I’m extremely jittery. Sometimes I have to walk in circles to calm down. I also feel like I can’t/and won’t be able to get anything done. Like a hopeless feeling of being stuck and having no way out. This also feeds into an ultimate anxiety of me feeling I won’t be able to achieve or accomplish anything in my life.
“I experience anxiety like a constant shifting between all of my body parts- nothing stays still- so I often grow extremely fidgety and usually don’t make eye contact.” I recently drew a picture of myself at the bottom of a cup looking up at fizzy water with bubbles rising to the surface. That’s what my anxiety looks like when it is really intense. Heart: embarrassed, raw, or closed Mind: scattered, fearful, like being pulled underwater and not knowing which direction is up or down.
“What makes me nervous is that people will not like what I have written or what I say or the project I propose. It is quite an annoying feeling because it slows down the process of sharing what has been drafted and acquiring input essential to completing projects in a good way. This feeling is accompanied by: tingling in the front of my head; restless feet which includes curling toes and tapping feet; and shame in my heart that this isn’t good enough and I’m not good enough.”
“When anxious the first thing I notice is that I take a quick, shallow breath. I notice my heart beating faster and my arms tighten around me as if I’m holding myself in or bracing for something to happen.”
“When I feel anxiety, I feel contracted, fast, short breath, amped up, overwhelm, clamped down chest/heart, sharp but scattered focus in thoughts and actions. Push energy. “life is hard” :)”
“I experience anxiety with a lot in the body. My stomach will start to tighten to squeeze making it feel like my insides are constricting. I usually have a tendency for my throat to feel like there is something in it, again constricting me. Once I notice I am in anxiety my head goes through whatever plans or tricks it can think of to try to get me out but the key is in being aware and noticing.”
“I feel anxious when I’m “in the way” of others, which is ultimately believing I don’t deserve to take up space. In everyday life this looks like driving with hyper-awareness of my speed and position to other cars, when I am in the grocery store, I make sure I’m not blocking an aisle or taking too long to pick a product. I feel extremely anxious if I’m late for an appointment, and it takes a lot to send back a meal that’s not right.”
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