Alleviating Anxiety - A Body Psychotherapy Approach
Search not elsewhere,
It is too far from self.
Look on one’s own
And it is everywhere.
It is I but I am not it,
This is the way to truth.
Untitled / Liangjia
It’s almost too simple, I thought to myself. Could it be that by guiding my patients to reconnect to themselves, I’d be helping them alleviate their anxiety? Could it be that the answer to dealing with anxiety is self-connection?
If scholars, psychiatrists, and researchers are hard searching for the complex reasons, sources, and solutions to various Anxiety Disorders, I may be off track. Still, the evidence in my clinic shows time and time again — reconnecting with oneself alleviates anxiety.
Now, what does reconnecting with oneself actually mean? It means different things to different people. The academic term for self-connection may be intrapersonal, which is defined as “occurring within the individual mind or self,” and I would add within the body. In Neuroscience research it is often referred to as interoceptive — the part of our brain that allows us to observe ourself.
For some, it may mean dedicating time for oneself or doing a pleasurable activity alone. Writing, exercise, and meditation are common practices for increasing one’s intrapersonal relationship, but their effects may be temporary. Others cannot tolerate being alone and constantly seek company or activities to keep them busy and distracted, which often result in increased anxiety. Even going to therapy may serve as a distraction if it focuses solely on behavioral symptoms and interpersonal aspects.
There are patients I’ve seen for whom reconnecting to themselves sounded like a silly idea. “I am myself,” or an empty agreeable gesture were common reactions. For others, the idea invokes fear and anxiety. And, there are those who find the connection to themselves or to their body to be vague or ambivalent.
When I ask, “How are you feeling right now?” or “How do you experience yourself?” Those patients often respond with “I don’t know,” or “I don’t feel anything.” It is exactly this disconnection that prevents them from feeling present, grounded, secure, confident, in their place, in themselves. They are left feeling anxious, lost, or confused with headaches and other somatic symptoms.
Searching online for “Anxiety treatment” yields about 255,000,000 results! From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychiatric medication, Focusing, Mindfulness, psychotherapy and all the way to natural remedies. Every modality has its own specific approach, but most seem to focus on reducing symptoms and changing behavior.
As a Biosynthesis Psychotherapist, I don’t focus on symptoms or behavior, rather I help my patients contain them. I don’t try to “change” my patients, rather I accept them as they are and encourage them to accept themselves just the way they are. This self acceptance may be the cornerstone for reestablishing the intrapersonal relationship in a person suffering from anxiety, or any person really. And often times, this then, enables the change they long for.
A crucial component in reestablishing and deepening the intrapersonal connection occurs on the energetic level. There are several ways to do that, but the fundamentals are breathing and grounding. These are also important keys to alleviating anxiety. I will elaborate on all of that later on.
In this paper I shall explore the history and evolution of body-psychotherapeutic approaches to anxiety through the works of Wilhelm Reich, father of body-psychotherapy, and two of his leading disciples, Alexander Lowen and David Boadella. And, using case studies from the clinic, I offer my approach as a Biosynthesis Psychotherapist in helping those struggling with various forms of anxiety, including general anxiety and sexual anxiety.
In a 2013 interview, David Boadella, founder of Biosynthesis, defined the main goal of therapy as “[helping] a client move from his problems to his resources… so that he can lead his life in a way that is satisfying and become his own therapist.”
For me, above all, this means helping a client reconnect to himself. It’s true that we can have external resources, but our most powerful ones exist inside of us. The deeper we know ourselves — cognitively, physically, spiritually — the more we are true to ourselves, to our being, to our essence. And in turn, anxiety is reduced, we accept, sense, and feel ourselves, which helps us express ourselves, act, reach out, and connect with others in a way that is true to our way, pace, wants, and needs. This is what connecting to oneself means, and this is what enables oneself to “become his own therapist.”
Putting a shirt over my three months old son, I could recognize his anxious reaction. With his face covered, even for a moment, his eyes cannot see and his breathing is constricted. He immediately begins to pant and move his hands and legs rapidly, attempting to change the situation and restore the harmony of his fragile existence. And indeed, the very moment I pull down the shirt, his breathing slows down and his whole body relaxes. This is a simple example of the evolutionary, natural reaction of the body to a situation that is experienced as dangerous, or in a word — anxiety.
The most basic definition of Anxiety is “apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill”, meaning, worrying about what might happen. Anxiety is inherent in all living organisms thus every living creature experiences anxiety. It is an important and useful function of life. However, as with every other natural process, the problems begin when disturbances occur that prevent its completion.
I would like to elaborate on the physiological and psychological causes and effects of anxiety by going back to the beginning:
“In his first publication on anxiety neurosis Freud based his thinking on the fact that “anxiety neurosis is accompanied, in whole series of cases, by a most significant reduction of sexual libido psychic desire,” and he concluded that “the mechanism of anxiety neurosis… is to be sought in diversion of the somatic sexual excitation from the psychic, which process then causes the abnormal utilization of this excitement.” This “diversion from the psychic” can be brought about only through repression of perception of genital sensations. Somatically this means nothing other than prevention of the shift from the vegetative to the sensory-motor system.”
This excerpt from Wilhelm Reich’s book Genitality in the Theory and Therapy of Neurosis, quotes his teacher, Sigmund Freud and makes specific references to the libido, which Reich later coined as Orgone energy, and the Chinese call Qi. What this simply means is that when the natural process of anxiety is incomplete, it interrupts the natural flow of life energy between the autonomic nervous system, which is largely unconscious and in charge of the flight or fight response, and the sensory-motor system, which is in charge of the ability to take sensory information and use it to make useful motor actions.
To put it simply, if anxiety becomes chronic (neurotic), its energy is accumulated in the body and disrupts the otherwise natural reactions of the person in response to a perceived threat. Alexander Lowen, M.D., the prominent American psychotherapist, student of Reich, and my personal therapist from 2001 to 2002, explains this correlation distinctly: When “the level of discharge is inadequate, the first result is the production of anxiety.”
Here I would like to bring an example from a patient of mine. Joseph, a 35 years old man who reported about suffering from premature ejaculation and severe pain in his groin during intercourse, particularly in more aggressive positions and situations. As soon as he changed positions or ended the sexual act, the pain subsided. His natural impulse in response to sexual excitement was met by performance anxiety, which in turn blocked the flow in his body and produced the pain. The greater the excitement, the greater the anxiety, and the greater the pain Joseph experienced.
This is an example for the anxiety neurosis and the disruption of the natural flow of energy, or communication between the autonomic nervous system and the sensory-motor system that Reich wrote about. Further, Reich wrote: “we observe in analysis that anxiety increases as soon as even the perception of genital excitation is repressed, and abates when the perception is tolerated.” Under healthy circumstances, the accumulation of energy in the form of excitement and anxiety in Joseph’s body, would have been discharged in the sexual act and result in pleasure rather than pain.
According to Reich: “If orgastic motor satisfaction does not occur (sexual discharge), and if the sexual excitation does not become bound up in psychoneurotic symptoms (Joseph’s inability to contain his sexual excitement, leading to premature ejaculation), a renewed blocking of genital sensibility usually occurs (Joseph’s groin pain), and the anxiety, including all the vasomotor phenomena, sets in once again. Of course, this anxiety is no longer pure stasis anxiety in that it now also expresses the ego’s “fear” of its own sexual needs” (Joseph’s performance anxiety.)
In contrast, when Joseph started a long-distance relationship with a woman, he would get sexually aroused while talking to her, but wouldn’t masturbate or ejaculate. He delayed and avoided ejaculation for months until he was able to unite with the woman. This energy built up in his body and created a stasis that again, produced pain in his groin. During that same period, and in direct correlation, Joseph’s anxiety was markedly increased and affected him both personally and professionally.
Both instances — the premature ejaculation and the delayed ejaculation — were accompanied by anxiety, and reflect the body-mind split in Joseph. He was either too anxious to contain the excitement or too anxious to release the excitement. In both these contrasting instances, the flow of energy was blocked, it accumulated in Joseph, and left him feeling anxious most of the time.
In his summary of the four aspects of energy metabolism that can be taken as crucial for growth and development — Energy flow, Energy level, Energy direction, and Energy containment — David Boadella, one of the pioneers of body psychotherapy, founder of Biosynthesis, and my inspirational teacher, wrote that Energy flow is concerned with “the circulation of energy from centre to periphery in streaming pathways," with the basic pulsatory polarity of “expansive reaching out to the world (in pleasure), and contracted shrinking in from the world (in unpleasure and anxiety).” Energy level simply means how much energy one has - that depends on breathing and eating. The less you breathe, the less energy you have. Energy direction has to do with grounding (discharge through the legs and genitals/recharge through the feet) and sounding (discharging through self expression/recharging by the intake of air and nourishment.) And finally, Energy containment involves the ability of the person to contain and release impulses (by tensing up or relaxing the musculature.)
Joseph experienced disturbances in all four of these aspects. For biographical reasons I won’t go into here, he remained contracted more than he was able to expand, even in pleasurable situations. His breathing was flat, his pelvis rigid, he was ungrounded and unable to contain high charge, or he contained too much charge depending on the situation. He suffered from what may be regarded to as pleasure-anxiety.
Reich wrote about this extensively, but the basic idea is that “the individual brought up in an atmosphere which negates life and sex acquires a pleasure-anxiety (fear of pleasurable excitation) which is represented physiologically in chronic muscular spasms… It is a bio-physiological anxiety and constitutes the central problem of psychosomatic research.” What this means is that anxiety is a physiological phenomenon and not just a psychological one, which occurs on the body level and leads to somatic and cognitive symptoms.
In my sessions with Joseph, we spoke a lot about the history of his life as well as about and his dreams and aspirations, but I also wanted to connect him to the present. There are several ways to do that, but I found that for him, working directly with the body was most effective.
The doctors Joseph went to see found no pathology that could explain his persisting pain so it became clear to me that it may be the result of chronic muscular tension and the subsequent anxiety. I invited Joseph to try several exercises aimed at releasing muscular tension and relaxing the groin and pelvic area.
For example, using this simple Bioenergetic exercise was highly effective: Joseph laid on the mattress on his back, placing his feet flat on the floor about shoulder’s width. I invited him to move his knees slowly apart without moving his feet in a slow effortless movement. I encouraged him to stretch his knees as far apart as they would go and then slowly bring them back together and so on. All the while I asked Joseph to breathe continuously and easily.
At first, his movements were mechanical and quite fast. But with time, Joseph was able to relax into the exercise and sync the movements to his own rhythm. That’s when he was able to breathe more deeply and to allow the involuntary vibrations in his legs to occur more freely, which he first experienced as weird or as a sign of weakness. Later, he was able to give in to the involuntary movements and accept them as the way of his body to release tension, and in a way represent the life of his body. This showed Joseph the pain he carried was unnecessary and that change was possible for him.
Following our sessions Joseph saw significant changes immediately when his pelvic area felt more relaxed and the pain in his groin disappeared. And over time, Joseph was able to feel more confident and less anxious about his relationship with the woman and his life in general.
Of course, it was not a stand-alone exercise that changed Joseph. This was all done as part of a year-long therapeutic process in the context of his life. The exercises helped him reestablish his intrapersonal relationship through his body and to discharge some of the pent up energy, which in turn enabled him to feel less anxious and more present, grounded, and confident. To feel more himself.
We are now nearly a century after Freud and Reich studied anxiety neurosis and the phenomenon has become increasingly widespread. Today, in 2017, anxiety is considered so common that a recent article in The New York times, was entitled “Prozac Nation is now the United States of Xanax.” This of course, is a reference to the all too common use of the anti-anxiety drug, which has now surpassed the antidepressant drug.
If Reich was concerned with the physiological aspects of anxiety, the following definition from Mosby's Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Professions, provides a glimpse into the symptoms people face when suffering from anxiety: “anxiety is the anticipation of impending danger and dread accompanied by restlessness, tension, rapid heartbeat, and rapid breathing that may or may not be associated with a certain event or situation.”
This general definition adds to natural anxiety the question of whether the reaction is associated with an actual event or not. When it does, the anxiety passes when the threat passes, just as it did for my son. When it doesn’t, it may persist, in which case, it turns into a chronic condition, or worse, it becomes a disorder. It interrupts a person’s daily function and quality of life, often in the form of physical symptoms as well as in episodes of paralyzing anxiety or panic attacks.
It’s interesting to note that “Anxiety Disorders were only recognized in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association. Before this recognition people experiencing one of these Disorders usually received a generic diagnosis of 'stress' or ‘nerves’.” Is there anyone in this world who doesn’t experience stress or nerves? We all do.
In this globalized, hyper-technological, high-paced age, this phenomenon is not exclusive to the U.S. People all over the world are dealing with anxiety. Here in Israel, a country battered with external and internal conflicts, anxiety is rampant. Every single patient that came into my clinic suffered from anxiety one way or another. From social anxiety, to exam anxiety, performance anxiety, and all the way to existential anxiety. Even highly functional individuals carry in them unnecessary anxiety by trying to keep up with whatever it is they think they are supposed to do and be.
As a therapist, I can see in my anxious patients the personal and cultural effects of anxiety and its fluidity from a natural reaction to a threat, to a chronic condition in which the threat is perceived as constant, and all the way to panic attacks, in which the threat is perceived as imminent even when it is not.
Dissecting anxiety further, Lowen provides a thorough exploration into the biological basis of anxiety: “The accumulation of tension would produce an obstruction to breathing and elicit anxiety. The most severe anxiety is associated with a disturbance in the functioning of the heart… But it is also true that any obstruction to the breathing process will produce anxiety… In a broad way we can postulate the concept that any set of circumstances that interferes with the operation of an organism’s vital functions will produce anxiety.” Simply stated, any threat to life produces anxiety.
Referring to Rollo May, the American Existential Psychologist who traced the word anxiety to its German root, angst, meaning a choking in the narrows, Lowen connects the term narrows to the body and the various segments that serve as junctions or bridges — the birth canal, the neck, the diaphragm, and the waist. The understanding of this topic is vital to the understanding of the work I and other body-psychotherapists do:
“[The birth canal] can be fraught with anxiety since it represents the transition to independent breathing for the organism. Any difficulty the mammalian organism would have in establishing its independent respiration would threaten its life and produce a physiological state of anxiety… The narrows can also refer to the neck, a narrow passageway between the head and the rest of the body through which air passes to the lungs and blood flows to the head. Choking in this area is also a direct threat to life and would result in anxiety…”
In body psychotherapy and particularly in Biosynthesis, we work directly with those bridges. These segments are crucial for the healthy flow of a person’s energy and affect thinking, feeling, and behavior. It is important to understand between which parts of the body the segments connect, what is the condition of the connecting bridge, and what is needed for healing or change.
Here, I would like to expand about one of the cornerstones of Biosynthesis that help in the understanding of the anxiety that results from disturbances to vital functions. To quote Boadella:
“…the effect of the clash between human needs and the ‘civilising’ process is to break up the unity of the organism. This loss of unity affects the functional integration of three germinal layers in the body. In the fetus these develop during the first week of life, as inside (endoderm), outside (ectoderm), and middle (mesoderm) of the developing cell mass. In the body of the child or the adult we see loss of connectedness between the main organ groups that correspond to these three germ layers: Endoderm: digestive organs and lungs, Mesoderm: bones, muscles and blood, Ectoderm: skin, sense organs, brain and nerves. The effect of this splitting is to cut action from thinking and feeling, emotion from movement and perception, understanding from movement and feeling.”
Essentially, this is a definition of the body-mind split. Boadella explores this further and shows that the dysfunctions are most focally placed in the bridges or narrows mentioned above: “between the head and the spine, at the nape of the neck; between the head and the trunk, in the throat; and between the spine and the internal organs of the trunk, at the diaphragm.”
This can be simply visualized in the following diagram:
Boadella integrates these concepts into the psychotherapeutic practice, including the idea of self-connection as a vital component to health. In the diagram, self-connection is represented in the Endoderm/connection corner, which correlates with the individual’s inner world, with what goes on inside the individual.
People may manage their context (their life story) and their contact (relationships), but if they lack connection with themselves, their anxiety remains high and their bridges constricted and dysfunctional.
In the case of one of my patients, Katia, a 35 woman suffering from various forms of anxiety, the correlation between her anxiety and the narrows in her throat were markedly present from the very beginning.
The morning of my first meeting with Katia, I woke up without my voice. I wasn’t sick and this never happened to me before, which made me think it might be related to this new patient I was about to meet. During the day, my voice returned slowly so that by the time we met in the evening, my voice was hoarse, but at least I was able to speak.
My disappearing voice was the first sign Katia had an issue involving her throat and self-expression. Another sign was her tendency to speak more quietly when talking about “sensitive” or “intimate” topics. Another sign still, came during our second session when she complained about tension in her forehead, right around her third eye. She described it as heavy and pressured, which in turn made her feel forgetful and confused. She found it difficult to speak and said there were a lot of things she never voiced before. Not to her family, not to anyone.
Nearly two years later, I now know Katia had great difficulty in expressing herself throughout her life. Her throat is constricted with chronic muscular tension, so much so that she developed salivary duct stones in her lower jaw.
Carrying shame most of her life, she created the strategy of diminishing herself and pleasing others — minimizing her breathing, reducing her voice, and taking care of others at the expense of her own wants and needs. Though all of this was well hidden behind her pretty smile, direct eye-contact, her sweet shyness, and over-politeness. The result were low self esteem and high anxiety.
I immediately noticed her wide smile and thought she was an exceptionally beautiful woman. Her declared reason for seeking therapy was Exam Anxiety. She was a nursing student and said she had great difficulty handling the study load as well as facing the exams. She reported putting a lot of effort into her studying and yet, she mostly received passing grades.
Born in the Ukraine, Katia emigrated to Israel when she was 17. A few years later, she lost both her parents in the span of a year. Katia described her upbringing as tough and rigid. There was no room for feelings. Referring to the Communistic background of her family, she said “you always have to be strong and in control. My father used to tell me to be tough and use my elbows to get where I want in life.” At the age of four, after performing at a play, Katia’s father commented she didn’t have a good voice and that she shouldn’t sing. Katia remembers this as “a shock to the system.” She never sang since.
Further, her mother insisted on her behaving “lady like” and avoid certain situations. “I always had to act like a lady,” Katia said, “and ladies don’t get angry.” She also recalls: “I wasn’t allowed to cry… they used to tell me - don’t be a crybaby.”
The cumulative effect of these and other attitudes of Katia’s family and the environment she grew up in, taught her early on to repress her feelings. As a Biosynthesis psychotherapist, I also understand that these effects are structured in Katia’s body.
There was something so intrinsic in Katia’s anxiety that it felt it started even earlier than those events. Working with guided imagery and energy, we went back to her mother’s womb. Almost immediately, Katia reported experiencing difficulty breathing and her throat turned freezing cold.
For her, the throat was an enigma. She had no feeling in her throat and when I asked her to bring her attention there, the only sensation she could relate to it was that it was blocked. In contrast, she was able to feel her head, with its tensions and aches, and she was able to feel her heart and chest with its alternating periods of contracting and expanding sensations.
As stated, the throat bridges the head and the rest of the body, and we relate the bridges to the three embryological layers: ectodermal (sensations, images), mesodermal (musculature, movement), and endodermal (feeling, breathing). We saw in the diagram that the throat connects the ectodermal layer with the endodermal layer. For Katia, the throat was blocked, meaning the connection and flow between her thinking (ecto) and her feelings (endo) were restricted. This stems most plausibly from Katia’s birth experience, and from her learning early on to choke off her feelings.
When Katia learned that expressing feelings is dangerous, she unconsciously reduced her breathing and constricted her being. This in turn became structured in her body in the form of chronic muscular tension, particularly, in her throat. This way she was able to put up a front to the world and gain her parent’s approval.
Katia exhibited what Lowen reports to have seen in many of his patents: “[They] choke up on feelings that well up when their throats open and their breathing becomes deeper. The choking is always accompanied by anxiety… [which shows] the mechanism by which tensions in the neck and throat create obstructions to breathing that produce anxiety.”
Our work in the clinic consisted primarily of helping Katia reconnect to herself with the primary goal of rediscovering her essence (the qualities and resources she had and lost touch with because of her life experiences), and rebuilding her inner authority channel — a centering method that gave her the ability to trust herself and to take responsibility for her life.
We did this in three ways. One by talking out the anxiety and the feelings she repressed over the years, which helped her liberate and express her feelings (to a degree), as well as to better understand her patterns of behavior. Two, by working physically with the body, Katia performed exercises aimed at increasing the life of her body, deepening her breathing, and grounding herself in reality. And three, touching on transpersonal aspects, working with guided imagery and energy, Katia was able to dissolve old blocks and structures that reinforced her anxiety, creating instead a new and more secure way of being.
The transpersonal level was what Katia resonated with most. She asked to connect to it almost every time we met. There was a very particular light she connected with time and time again. It was a guiding light that ran through her and immediately made her feel better. But she wasn’t always able to connect. There were times when she encountered heightened anxiety and headaches. What we discovered was that it was the breathing and grounding work that helped calm her sympathetic system just enough so that she was able to open up and connect to that light, which in turn strengthened her intrapersonal relationship and alleviated her anxiety.
Exploring the general Body Psychotherapy perspective on working with anxiety, scholars have identified these basic principles: 1. Exploration of bodily experiences, 2. Investigation of background memories, traumas, and trigger factors, 3. Improving reality testing, and 4. Facilitating shifting of breathing/movement patters and rhythmic integration. What these principles mean to me is helping the patient become aware of his bodily experiences and ground in reality so that he can better understand, accept, and alleviate the anxiety.
More specifically, in Biosynthesis, Boadella defines three primary processes of therapy he named: Centering, Grounding, and Facing. Here I would like to elaborate on the main processes I practice in my work with anxiety, namely, breathing and grounding.
Everyone knows breathing since everyone breathes. We first meet it as we come out of the womb and it’s the last thing we do when we die. It is what connects the inside of our bodies with the outside world. Scores of books, research and practices have been developed on this subject, examining breath from every possible angle.
Boadella defines Centering as the process of “helping a person to get in contact with the wave-like rhythm of his or her breath, and with the associated emotional dynamics.” Further, “the therapeutic work of centering… in practice… means help towards recovering emotional balance and harmonious breathing.” This harmonious breathing is one of the primary goals of my work with patients dealing with anxiety.
Nonetheless, the actual change in the breathing pattern, movement, and variability is often the result of the therapeutic process rather than an active intervention through specific actions and exercises.
While breathing exercises are important, few approaches focus on restoring the natural flow of breathing as it occurs involuntarily. Lowen spoke of this, stating that by performing a breathing exercise, one inevitably creates tension in the body and thus limits movement and the breathing itself. In my clinic, I use breathing exercises to help patients become aware of their breathing by bringing their attention to its pattern, movement, and variability. For example, I can ask a patient to push against me or a pillow while exhaling or inhaling. This instantly raises the awareness about the breathing, and often leads to information or an impulse that can then come to the surface and be processed.
When that change does occur over time, the benefits are deep and meaningful. A reduction in the frequency and severity of the anxiety patients experience, a greater ability to “catch” the anxiety before it takes over, and a more accessible way to reduce stress and reconnect to themselves.
This is one of the fundamental principles in body-psychotherapy. Simply stated, grounding means “getting a person down to solid ground… establishing adequate contact with the ground.”
As stated above, one of the primary physiological causes of anxiety is excess energy that is pent up in the individual’s system. Lowen writes that grounding “provides a safety valve for the discharge of excess excitation. This is key to balance the breath work, particularly if we also work to deepen the breathing, which in turn increases feeling and can lead to a build up and even flooding.
In Biosynthesis, Boadella expanded the process of grounding and defines it to include “our rhythm of movement and the state of our muscle tone.” If Lowen was primarily concerned with increasing the individual’s feeling in the legs and feet in order to reconnect him to the ground and reestablish the energetic flow and discharge — Boadella developed the work to the body as a whole.
In Biosynthesis, healthy grounding means the ability to move and adjust in different ways and situations, between being vertical and horizontal, being active and resting. “To be well grounded is to be in an appropriate state of tonus for a particular set of conditions.” In the healthy individual the shifts in tonus is mostly unconscious and occurs on its own, adjusting as the situation changes.
Both Lowen and Boadella view grounding as an essential component in feeling connected to reality — the opposite of anxiety, which often breeds on some illusory impending danger.
For me, grounding, like breathing, strengthens the person’s intrapersonal relationship, increases the sense of self-awareness and self-possession, and, when the two are integrated in the therapeutic process, they help produce the alleviation of anxiety.
In this paper I attempted to highlight what I believe is a missing component in many anxiety treatments — the intrapersonal relationship of the patient. Connecting the historical perspective of more than a century of body-psychotherapeutic research, to our present-day clinical work, aids in providing a roadmap to dealing with and alleviating anxiety, the most rampant chronic condition people live with today.
To quote Fritz Perls: “So the formula of anxiety is the gap between the now and then. If you are in the now, you can’t be anxious, because the excitement flows immediately into ongoing spontaneous activity. If you are in the now, you are creative, you are inventive. If you have your senses ready, if you have your eyes and ears open, like every small child, you find a solution.”
It is the intrapersonal relationship, which fills the gap Perls is describing. And it is breathing and grounding, which manifest this relationship in a direct and highly effective way.
The term “the body remembers” is commonly used in the therapeutic world to primarily describe the effects trauma has on our lives consciously and unconsciously. But the body also remembers the good stuff, and by breathing and grounding, we can remind our bodies what our intrapersonal relationship was like before the trauma, before the dysfunctions, before the anxiety.
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