Learn how to process this debilitating emotion and break free from the stress it can cause by observing and witnessing the sensations of your powerful feelings.

No matter the root cause of anxiety, you know the symptoms: sleepless nights; that pit in your stomach; feelings of distress, frustration, and self-doubt.

You might think that the anxiety cycle begins with an anxious or negative thought or comment, but that is not necessarily the case. They cycle starts when you hold back the inner movement of your emotions, which keeps you locked in your brain. Have you ever been around someone who says it like it is? Maybe you were thinking something negative and that person called out, “This sucks!” Perhaps that made you feel relief, like you were not alone. This relief came because calling out discomfort or a negative experience externalizes (even if only temporarily) what you may be feeling.

Since anxiety is so thought-provoking—meaning it’s hard to get your mind to stop chattering—it makes sense that you might see your thoughts as the root of a problem. The reality is, worrisome thoughts can happen only when your body is restricting the inner movement of energy. Since your emotions and physiological reactions to them are made of energy (molecules and atoms in motion), this means when you avoid or hold back on allowing your emotions to circulate throughout your body (e.g. , constricting them to your head or shoulders or chest), you increase the likelihood of fearful or negative thoughts arising and lingering, which continues the anxiety cycle.

Constricting emotions also uses up some of your mental energy. You most likely experience this as distractibility. The anxiety cycle forces energy loss and as you sense that, your symptoms likely increase. Now you’re fully in the cycle, and you have to cope with those symptoms. Once you understand that emotions get processed in the body, this will change.

Here’s another way to think about it: When you eat a piece of food, your body naturally breaks it down, absorbing what you need and getting rid of the rest. When it comes to processing your emotions, especially anxiety, instead of breaking them down, you are breaking free from the ways in which you have been controlling your emotions.

Most of us have learned to view this as an active process, meaning you attempt to label or figure out what and why you are feeling the way you are, before you allow it to be digested. However, I’ve found processing your emotions is an experience, not an action.

Just as you might experience the incredible taste of chocolate, digesting your emotions happens when you are in a state of non-effort. You don’t try to experience the taste of chocolate, and you don’t try to digest emotions; you allow yourself the experience.

For more information visit https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/do-you-need-an-anxiety-detox

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