We have all experienced anxiety to some degree. Universally it is uncomfortable. Anxiety can manifest as worried mind chatter, constantly asking “what if this bad thing or that bad thing happens… what if…?
Underneath the distraction of anxiety, we find fear at the root.
The true path to healing anxiety involves acknowledging these underlying fears, accepting their presence and yes actually befriending them. Often when we have been able to understand the source of our fear from a different perceptive it can enhance our lives. Our brains are wired to err on the side of fear, prioritizing the fear response over relaxation. Many early experiences have left a strong imprint of fear in our minds so when we are exposed to even a shadow of a previously traumatic event, fear and anxiety can ensue.
There are many plant allies that can assist us in transforming our relationship with anxiety producing fears. Numerous plants contain compounds that help stabilize our nervous systems in the presence of fear, binding to receptors that maintain balance and optimum function through up regulation/ down regulation by occupying key receptor sites when the primitive parts of our brain are responding with the fight and flight response to a real (or more often perceived) threat. Our limbic system guides the processing of our emotions in our amygdala, governing the resulting communication between other brain and hormonal centers. Some of the most critical neurotransmitters that play a role in this process are GABA, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
Yes many of the “threat’s” that our vagal system responds to are only imaginary. Using plant allies in conjunction with mind body therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, EMDR or Somatic inclusive therapies can deeply support profound physical and emotional healing and help recalibrate our nervous system when we have become stuck in patterns of hyper vigilance and worry.
Ann Barnet, M.D.