The Hellish Symptoms of Anxiety accompanies Chapter 1, Section 3 of Anxiety…I’m So Done with You!
The Hellish Symptoms of Anxiety, Panic, and Worry expands on Chapter 1, Section 3 of “Anxiety…I’m So Done with You!” In this episode, I list the most freaky anxiety symptoms and then explain away the mystery to ease your heart and mind. They can’t scare you when you understand them! Then, you have power over your symptoms, and you will feel in control. If you have freaky symptoms of anxiety, this episode is for you!
- The strange anxiety symptoms that really freak you out (both the physical and the mental ones)
- Why they’re there so they’re not as scary
- The physical gestures you could do to decrease those symptoms
“Anxiety is a leftover fear response when you are not in physical danger. It’s the leftover symptoms of adrenaline, that hormone that gets kicked off with your fight or flight response – when you don’t need it.” – Dr. Jodi Aman
Best Breathing for a Panic Attack
Hey, you’re here with Dr. Jodi, and this is “Anxiety… I’m So Done With You!”
I am so excited about this podcast. It accompanies my book by the same name, “Anxiety… I’m So Done With You!” It’s a teen’s guide to ditching toxic stress and hardwiring your brain for happiness, because that is what we’re going to do in the series: We’re ditching that freaking toxic stress and hardwiring your brain to generate happiness every day.
This is what you do: You read or listen to a section of the book. Then come on over here and listen to an episode where we’re going to go a little bit deeper, give more examples, and tell more stories. I want to provide you with everything you need to be sure that you find your way out of this horrible anxiety cycle so that you no longer have to suffer. Please leave me a five-star review on Apple podcasts. That’ll help me get in the ears of more people who need this series. Mental health problems are skyrocketing, especially among teenagers, and this series will change the tide.
Welcome To Chapter 1, Section 3: The Hellish Symptoms.
How’s your anxiety doing? Have you felt any hope that anxiety is getting ready to move on out of your life? We’ve just gotten started on this journey together, but I have so much more to share with you to get you better. Wouldn’t it be great “just to take a pill”and have all of this go away? Yeah, that would be amazing, but I promise, you figuring out what to do to get rid of your anxiety will heal so many other areas of your life. Plus, it will overall help you sustain happiness in your life. For example, it will help you avoid a lot of heartbreak. Anxiety makes you isolate yourself. It makes you feel worthless, and those things affect your choices. You attract the kind of people that you think you deserve. So when you feel unworthy, those are not going to be good people.
Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. You need to get better because anxiety affects your romances, your friendships, your family, your activities, your grades, your opportunities, and your confidence. It could affect anything that is important to you, and I am so glad you’re here because that is no longer okay. And I’m excited because this section of the book is really going to help.
This episode is an accompaniment to Chapter 1, Section 3, The Hellish Symptoms. We’re going to talk about those strange anxiety symptoms that really freak you out, both the physical ones and the mental ones. I’m going to explain to you why they’re there, so they’re not as scary, and then I’m going to recommend some physical gestures that you could do to decrease those symptoms. Let’s go.
Anxiety loves to scare the hell out of you, and its symptoms can be really scary, but they’re not just for scaring you. They actually all have a function, but if you don’t know that function, they freak you out. Before we go into those symptoms, I think it’s about time we define anxiety together because anxiety is one of those things that has as many meanings as people who experience it. One of the many things that I’ve learned by hearing people’s innermost thoughts for 26 years as a counselor is that people think of anxiety differently. I’m going to offer a definition here to give us an agreed-upon understanding of anxiety. This is how I think about it. Anxiety is a leftover fear response when you are not in physical danger. Let me say that again. Anxiety is a leftover fear response when you are not in physical danger. So it’s leftover symptoms of adrenaline, that hormone that gets kicked off with your fight or flight response when you don’t need it.
I’m totalizing anxiety on purpose because often anxiety wants you to think that you need it, that it helps you. It defends itself this way. By defining it this way, it helps you see that you do not need it at all. The fear response is helpful if your life is threatened. But anxiety is never necessary. It is only suffering. That means you do not need it and you can let it go.
Symptoms of Adrenaline
Now, the symptoms of anxiety come from adrenaline in your bloodstream. You can have a lot of adrenaline or a little bit of adrenaline, affecting your symptoms. And there are some freaky physical symptoms that when you don’t know how and why they’re connected to the adrenaline, they can scare the heck out of you. Like numbness. When anxiety goes off, your body increases its painkillers, it does that so that pain doesn’t distract you from surviving whatever threat is there. But when you’re not in danger, that feels like numbness in your arms, legs, or anywhere in your body. Sometimes you get hot or cold. Warm is warming up your big muscles so that you can fight or flee. And cold makes you shiver so you can warm up your muscles so you can fight or flee.
You might feel your skin crawling. That’s energy streaming through your system. It’s there to help you fight or run away. You may feel your heart rate go up. That is not a heart attack. Your heart is trying to pump blood to your large muscles so they have the ability to fight or run away. You might sometimes feel like you’re hyperventilating. That’s your adrenaline getting you to breathe shallowly. It’s a short-term way to get oxygen into your large muscles quickly, but people are very afraid of hyperventilating. They feel like they’re going to pass out or not be able to breathe.
But here’s a trick about hyperventilation. When you’re hyperventilating, you’re usually inhaling, and you keep inhaling and keep inhaling. And your lungs are huge and full and there’s nowhere for the air to go, so it feels like you can’t breathe, but you are forgetting to exhale. Your lungs are at full capacity, and there’s no more room to take any more air. So if you’re hyperventilating, it sounds like this… Right away, your adrenaline starts kicking up more and more and more. And a lot of people are afraid of passing out when this happens, but if you exhale, that process stops. But if you don’t exhale, you might pass out long enough for your body to involuntarily exhale, and then you wake back up. It’s not really that scary. When you know all these mechanisms, you understand. And that helps you feel in control of your body instead of out of control of your body.
Hyperawareness is an anxiety symptom
Next, there are some really scary mental symptoms. One bad one is losing touch with reality. This really freaks people out, but it comes from your hyperawareness. When you have adrenaline going through your brain, you’ll become hyper-aware of the world around you. Guess why? Because you’re trying to see if there’s any danger so you know what you have to do to get yourself safe.
Let me give you an example of hyperawareness. Take the word squirrel. I love using this word because it’s a really weird word. If you say the word squirrel over and over again, squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, you become hyper-aware of it and it seems bizarro. It’s a very weird word. When your hyper-aware of reality, then reality becomes bizarro. And you are not losing touch with it because when your adrenaline goes down, you’re taking action, and you’re doing things and reality feels normal again.
Another symptom is feeling blank, and that really freaks people out. But blank is also from the adrenaline. Your mind is clearing the space for you to focus on the problem, and it could feel like your mind’s totally blank because there’s no problem. Don’t freak out about your mind going blank. That is normal. And regular thinking will come back when the adrenaline goes down.
Also, don’t freak out about overthinking. Overthinking can be a habit or it could be a symptom of high adrenaline because adrenaline puts energy into your cognitive brain so you have more power to problem solve. And without a problem, the monkey is going to find something to hook on, something to overthink about.
What other symptoms do you have that I have not mentioned? Come on over to my blog, the links in the show notes. And let me know what strange things you’ve experienced. And please, don’t let this episode stop you from getting checked by your doctor when you start some strange symptom. But once you know it’s anxiety, use this information to lessen your fear of it, because then anxiety’s going to go down.
Okay, let’s get into the physical gestures that you can do to decrease these freaky symptoms. When you’re having a sympathetic nervous system response and your adrenaline is raging, your brain is looking for cues that you’re okay again. When you’re freaking out about the symptoms, it keeps pumping the adrenaline. But what if you did the opposite? For example, what if you looked out the sides of your eyes instead of focusing forward? Studies show that this behavior tells your brain that you are okay. Also, when you’re in danger, you curl up to protect your soft belly. Opening your chest, leaning back over a pillow, and opening your arms with your palms up tells your brain that you are okay. Also, you could relax your jaw. That tells your brain you’re okay too. One more pose that works is often called the Wonder Woman pose. This is when you stand tall with your leg spread out, taking space on the ground, and you put your arms out to the side or you cock them on your hips.
The GABA hormone
When you get your body to take up more physical space, your mind reads this as confidence and it thinks you’re okay, and so it releases the GABA hormone. The GABA hormone is the parasympathetic nervous system. That’s the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, which releases adrenaline. So the GABA stops the adrenaline, and that’s what you want. They’ve studied this Wonder Woman pose at Harvard, and it really works. You might notice that we’re focusing on the brain in this chapter. This is because it helps you know what you’re dealing with. It’s not scary if it makes sense.
When I help people recover from anxiety, I notice that 50% of the people that I see get better after just this one step. When they understand anxiety biologically and culturally, and contextually, the rest of the chapters are just a bonus on top of healing everything else in your life.
I want you to know that I really appreciate you listening to this podcast and reading this book. Please leave me a five-star review on Apple Podcasts. Like, share, subscribe, and get all the resources that I spoke about in this podcast in the show notes. Come on over and hang out with me on social media on TikTok; I’m @DoctorJodi. Stick with me.
Coming up next, we’re going deeper into the nitty-gritty of biology. Read Chapter 1, Section 4, and I’ll meet you there.