Tips for releasing anxiety and chronic stress

Categories: Inner work, PsychologyBy Published On: 25 May 20225 min read

Activation of the primal brain

Our primal brain responds to stressful situations with different stress responses. These are often described as fight, flight or freeze. This involves the production of stress hormones and the activation of your sympathetic nervous system.

Your heart starts pumping faster, your alertness goes up, your pupils enlarge and your body goes into an alert state. This system is useful in dangerous situations. For example, when you are attacked by a tiger or when you are in a war situation. All focus then is on survival.

The nervous system set up for danger

During the stressful situation, your sympathetic nervous system is triggered. Adrenaline and cortisol are produced in the process and are needed to take action. This enables your body to achieve things that would not be possible under normal circumstances.

In animals, we see that this stress response stops after the animal is in safety. Then the para-sympathetic system kicks in and allows for relaxation and recovery of the system.

There are also videos of animals in Africa that have escaped a lion, and then go all twitching/shaking to let the trauma flow out of their bodies. After this, they happily walk on. The problem is that we humans hold the stress in our bodies and do not release it..

PTSD and stored trauma in the body

It may also be that you have once experienced a stressful or traumatic situation and this program button keeps going off (think also of PTSD: post-traumatic stress disorder).

Your body still contains this memory and does not know how to free itself from it. This is stuck energy. Because of this, your body is still stuck in this old survival mode, even though there seems to be no danger at the moment. Yet your body thinks there is.

The moment we experience anxiety, chronic stress or tension, your primal brain and nervous system may still be on “on-mode”. Your body does not know that there is no more danger and that alarm mode can be turned off again. You can recognize this, for example, by:

Flight behavior: avoiding difficult situations or fleeing from your own emotions and feelings.

Fight behavior: the feeling that you should always be on guard in case something “bad” is going to happen.

Freeze behavior: when you freeze in certain situations and can no longer react.

The old energy wants to transform

There is energy that wants to move, but it is being blocked by your system. This can cause a variety of symptoms such as: anxiety, depression, physical complaints, sabotaging behavior, PTSD, fatigue, insomnia, overstimulation, control and compulsive disorders and excessive thinking.

It is stuck energy that you are trying to control. So a fight ensues inside: the old energy wants to flow away, but you are (unconsciously) holding it back.

The moment you ignore the signals and keep going over your own limits, the stress (energy) accumulates in your body. You end up in a negative spiral and lose contact with your body. As a result, you no longer feel what you need (relaxation, healthy food, healing, etc.).

The symptoms can get progressively worse and are initially suppressed by the stress response. At some point, the tank (energy reserves) is empty and you literally come to a standstill (which can also result in burnout).

It is a clear signal that you have ignored yourself for too long. You have suppressed energy (emotions, memories, stress, anxiety, trauma) for too long, and this old energy wants to be released.

Whether you suffer from acute stress, anxiety or restlessness – or whether you are currently in a burnout, in all cases it is important to find a way for the old stuck energy to leave your body. In all cases I recommend doing this under the guidance of a therapist, but I want to give you a quick tip that you can apply at a time when you experience anxiety or restlessness in your body:

What to do?

So my most important tip is to ground yourself in the first place. Make sure you feel safe in your body. Massage your legs and feet, connect with the earth or take a shower or bath. Try to stay out of stories and connect with your heart.

Then quietly observe what is happening in you. What do you feel in your body? Do you feel tension, cramping, restlessness or emotion somewhere? Then quietly go there with your attention and breathing and tell your body that it is okay and safe. You are now giving space to the energy that wants to move. You may want to make movements with your body or there may be another outlet that helps you release the old energy. Consider creative expression, dancing, singing or writing.

When you feel that enough is enough, you quietly reconnect with your body and come back into the here and now. You can also set the intention that in case there is still insight needed into this old energy, that your own soul essence may show it to you. The insight will then come at the right time and will also help you to let go of the old.

If you suffer from very intense panic, anxiety or intense feelings, read on in this blog: click on this button. There I also give more tips on what you can do yourself at these times.

In case you feel that your nervous system is chronically overstimulated or a chronic feeling of stress is present, it is important to investigate what the underlying cause is.

For example, it may be a trauma from long ago (often these are not even conscious anymore), or for example a trauma from the ancestral line which has not yet healed. You can read more about ancestral trauma’s in this blog: click on this button.

Guidance during your healing process

As I said, I would always recommend seeking guidance during the process of healing. This is because someone else can guide you during moments when old energies are released and sometimes it is difficult to deal with this yourself. It feels good not to be alone and it gives an extra sense of security.

If you are looking for guidance, you are always welcome to contact me to see what I can do for you.

CLICK HERE for more info about private retreats.

CLICK HERE for more info about me.