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  • Writer's pictureShama Zeynep Anaydin

Unlocking the Path to Healing: A Holistic Approach to Anxiety and Stress Management

Updated: 1 day ago

In our fast-paced world, the terms "anxiety" and "stress" have unfortunately become all too common in our daily vocabulary. It's as if these invisible burdens have woven themselves into the very fabric of our lives, often leaving us feeling overwhelmed and powerless. However, the key to unlocking a path to healing and long-lasting relief might not be as elusive as it seems. My name is Shama, and today, I want to share with you an approach that has the potential to transform the way we understand and manage anxiety and stress.

Anxiety, at its core, is often a byproduct of unexpressed emotions or unresolved trauma that resides within our system. Traditional approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT) have done wonders for many by helping to explore and understand the root causes of anxiety. CBT works on the principle that changing maladaptive thinking leads to a change in behavior and emotion. However, for a more comprehensive healing, we need to incorporate somatic therapies to address and release the survival energies that get locked in our system due to shock or trauma.

Imagine you're holding a book. Understanding it cognitively, being aware of its weight, its cover, and even its content does not fully encompass the experience until you actually feel it - its weight, texture, and the emotions it evokes. This analogy illustrates why for a change to happen, all parts of us have to agree to this change. You might cognitively understand the root of your anxiety, but until the body agrees to release this tension, the feelings or triggers might persist.

Somatic experiencing, for instance, is a body-oriented approach to trauma developed by Peter Levine. It allows the individual to "complete" their survival responses that were halted during a traumatic event, thus releasing the energy locked in the body and bringing the nervous system back to regulation. Similarly, Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), breathwork, somatic touch, and hypnotherapy complement CBT and exposure therapy by working directly with the body's stored energies and responses.

By combining cognitive therapies with somatic practices, we target each part of our being. Think about it as a holistic tune-up for your wellbeing, catering not just to the mind but to the body and spirit. This dual approach is akin to cleaning a house; it’s not enough to only tidy the living room when every other room remains cluttered. Our being operates on the same principle. For comprehensive healing and stress management, we must ensure that all parts of us are aligned and in harmony.

Now, I invite you to reflect on your own experiences. What kind of therapies have you tried for managing anxiety? How did they impact your life, both mentally and physically?

Remember, it's perfectly okay if you haven't found the right fit yet. The path to healing is deeply personal, and what works for one may not work for another. The beauty of combining CBT with somatic therapies lies in its flexibility and adaptability to your unique needs and experiences.

Tools for Managing Anxiety and Stress

  • Somatic Experiencing: Engages with the body’s natural healing abilities, focusing on bodily sensations to work through trauma.

  • Trauma Release Exercises (TRE): A set of exercises that help the body shake off tension literally, alleviating stress and anxiety.

  • Breathwork: Techniques that utilize conscious breathing to influence a person's mental, emotional, and physical state.

  • Somatic Touch: Involves therapeutic touch to help release tension held in the body’s tissues.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Addresses negative patterns of thought that contribute to anxiety and stress.

  • Exposure Therapy: A form of CBT that involves safely confronting fears to reduce the anxiety they cause.

  • Hypnotherapy for Trauma: Uses guided relaxation and intense concentration to achieve a heightened state of awareness, making it easier to discuss and access trauma.

One of the most important messages I wish to impart is that you are not alone. Many out there understand your struggles and sincerely wish to help. Managing anxiety and stress is a challenging feat, but with the right support system and tools, it becomes a manageable and instructive part of your life’s journey.

If any of this resonates with you, or if you find yourself curious to explore any of these therapies further, I encourage you to reach out for support. There's an entire community ready to welcome you with open arms.

I hope this insight into combining CBT with somatic therapies opens a new door for you in managing anxiety and stress. Remember, it's about recognizing that while our minds play a crucial role in our healing, our bodies equally hold the key to unlocking a more peaceful, content state of being.

May you find ease and peace for the rest of your month, and remember, your journey towards healing is a testament to your strength and resilience.

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