Anticipation anxiety – that nervousness about an upcoming event – can have a drastic effect on a person’s life: socially, academically, at work and at play.
When we get nervous the body responds by producing chemicals that can alter brain and body function to the extent that people can flush and turn noticeably red and their brain gives the impression of freezing as they cannot find their thoughts let alone their speech and create words. Even movement can become difficult, resulting in under-performance at many levels of sport, presentations and speech making.
The more we worry about events, the worse the stress and anxiety become. The solution most people opt for is to avoid doing a presentation, applying for a new job or simply contributing a great idea at work or study. Or even more serious is that the inability to overcome nerves can lead to failing to active one’s career or sporting goals, dreams or potential.
The client (a 28 year old woman) presented with ongoing anxiety and a physical stress response which was affecting her confidence and all she did in life. She was a mature student at university as she was looking to change her career. Her anxiety was, at times, overwhelming, resulting in the following symptoms:
- Becoming very red and blotchy on her chest and neck when nervous, and feeling the heat in the top or her arms and neck .
- Redness would occur even when she hadn’t noticed or there was no anxiety source .
- Poor exam results due to nerves during one examination – she was so nervous she couldn’t read the exam paper .
- Frequent urination, which worsened when she had an upcoming event. It also got her up at night to go to the bathroom .
- Problems sleeping as she would keep over-analyzing things in her head .
- Suffering with lower back pain, neck pain and her whole body being tense .
- Embarrassed about her poor posture .
Stress and anxiety started around 18 years of age and was now problematic as being a mature student at university involved making presentations, sitting at examination and participating in work experience at a firm she would have liked to get a job at when she finished her degree. She had previously tried hypnotherapy, which had no lasting effect and was prescribed anti-depressants by her doctor, again with no effect.
When she came to the first consultation the client brought with her list of what she would like to achieve from her treatment with me:
Goal 1 – Stop over analyzing and over thinking everything
Goal 2 – Not care about what others think
Goal 3 – Be more confident and have less stress
Goal 4 – Handle the feeling of anxiety and feeling nervous better
Goal 5 – Learn to switch off and relax
Goal 6 – Have the redness go away
The treatment I facilitated involved a number of separate but complimentary acting therapies.
Firstly, lifestyle changes needed to be made – removing the mobile phone from bedroom and being not so attached to it during the day, as one example.
Secondly, treatment involved changing to a more healthy diet, along with naturopathic supplements including a quality magnesium powder and flower essences for calming her down.
Techniques to remove emotional blocks and gentle rocking movements (Rhythmic Movement Training developed by Dr. Harald Blomberg, a Swedish Psychiatrist) that integrate childhood reflexes and promote neural messaging and brain integration were also part of the treatment.
Brain Gym and learning about her brain profile (developed by Carla Hannaford) with ear, eye, hand and foot dominance together with preferred hemisphere giving knowledge about how you learn or the challenges you can have academically.
Anxiety of the type we see in this case study has to have a multifaceted approach.
An improved digestive system improves the uptake of nutrients, improving all aspects of body functioning.
This person had (not obvious) misaligned body posture that was a consequence of childhood development gradually rectified during her time with me.
Both of these illustrate the neurological changes taking place through the duration of treatment.
This young woman is now happy with herself and has much improved confidence. Her performance at university and work has completely changed, allowing her to put her viewpoint forward to people in authority. She still loses some sleep the night before a presentation (which most of us do) but the redness has gone and the nerves disappear when she begins to speak.