Every woman wants to feel safe to be themselves within a group of women; we secretly crave to have a deeper level of intimacy with each other. The Esoteric Women’s Health Well-being for Women group in Melbourne on Sunday 17th March offered just that – the topic discussed was anxiety and stress.
Sara Harris and Bianca Barban, Esoteric Women’s Health practitioners, opened the presentation and workshop with a warm welcome, and this gentle offering from Bianca – “Women are innately wise, we are not here telling you what you don’t already know. Well-Being for Women groups offer presentations that support you to come back to that wisdom that is within yourself.”
We quickly dived into the deep end of the topic of anxiety and stress, one that is on every HR person’s lips in the corporate world, every teacher and youth worker across our education systems and every medical practitioner working on the planet at present. As Allison Macdonald, Senior Counsellor and Psychologist at Melbourne University, shared with us, “The demand is increasing for support around anxiety and stress. Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in Australia, it is far more common then we realise.”
According to the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in 2007 published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 18% or nearly 1 in 5 women and 11% of men suffer from an anxiety disorder in any 12-month period. However, Allison shared with us that the current trends in her practice are disproportionate to these statistics, her experience was that 100% of the students she treats suffer some form of anxiety. Cynthia Hickman, Melbourne’s Soul Psychologist and Holistic Counsellor, added that 80% of the clients she treats in private practice display symptoms of this noxious mental health illness.
So where does it come from? In simple terms, it is a reaction and/or coping mechanism to the stresses of everyday life. Our duo of psychologists gave the following examples of what commonly triggers this reaction;
- It comes mainly from a person’s expectations and pictures of how they would like their life to be, and if reality looks like it might jeopardise that picture.
- People also worry about the uncertainty of how their future might be and turn out.
- People often compare themselves to others and feel diminished as a result and/or worry about being judged by others.
- In many cases of anxiety, a person will also present with perfectionism.
- People worry in general about a myriad of things, which brings a tendency to try to control outcomes.
As a group, facilitated by Allison and Cynthia, we were given the opportunity to workshop what anxiety looked and felt like in our own lives: it may be called a mental health issue, however what we discovered is that it affects your thoughts, your feelings, and your body.
For women, in this group, we discussed that it came from just thinking about the future, owning your own business, not having enough money, being a caretaker and/or responsible for others’ well-being, the endless list of jobs to do, relationships and so on. Some of the thoughts we experience during times of anxiousness are;
- It’s my job, I have to do it on my own.
- I can’t think clearly, I cannot perform, I am going to lose my job.
- I am not enough, I can’t do it, how am I going to get through this?
- I am not responsible, I am hurting people, and there will be consequences.
- If I put myself out there, I will fail or get criticised.
- Don’t speak up, I will be punished for that.
We further workshopped the behaviours and coping mechanism we use to attempt to deal with anxiety, by avoiding experiencing it:
- Withdrawal from conversations, family, friends, at work and the world.
- Procrastination, putting things off.
- Numbing with food, work, entertainment and emotional dramas.
- Creating lots to do, a list of tasks that never ends.
- Creating a fight with a loved one or work colleague, even a stranger.
- Getting involved in other people’s issues.
- Avoiding situations and avoiding people.
- Constant worry about getting sick – am I going to have a stroke, heart attack or get cancer?
- Turning everything into a joke, pretending things are okay and making it appear to be funny.
- Talking a lot and quickly, gossip and lack of meaningful conversation.
- We use screens (mobiles, laptops, tablets and televisions) as a constant distraction.
Where do we start when it comes to dealing with anxiety now that we have started to define how debilitating this illness is? Having anxiety leads back to a lack of self-worth and having a lack of self-worth is like living with a bully that is constantly beating you up. What makes this more insidious is that sometimes, if not most times, we are not even aware the bully is in the house.
Cynthia presented that we are all born with an essence, a divine spark within that cannot be changed, nor can it be affected by anything or anyone. That while we develop from birth to adulthood it is fundamental for all people to feel the warmth of being held. And that we need to have that same essence that lives within us all be reflected back to us from our parents.
However, this is not what most people experience, they don’t have that solid holding nor the reflection from their parents. Unfortunately, the end result is that people don’t know who they are, they forget how to connect to that divine spark within – this on its own can create anxiety let alone trying to navigate this world without the confidence of who you truly are. This is magnified when there is abuse in childhood, which often leads to more throughout adulthood.
Cynthia offered the following, “The only way to address this is to hold ourselves – each person has an awareness within and we each can choose where to direct that awareness, including towards ourselves. Holding yourself in presence (the connection to the warmth within, the divine spark) is the antidote, it is what is healing.”
We finished the day with a session of Sitting Yoga facilitated by Sandra Dallimore, Yoga of Stillness Practitioner. This practical tool was offered to support us all to re-connect to that divine spark within, to further the support of holding oneself and to confirm the innate wisdom that the group was first reminded of at the beginning of the presentation and workshop.
By Terri-Anne Connors, Business Manager, Melbourne, Australia
The next Well-being for Women presentation and workshop will be held on Sunday 25th August 2019. The theme for this year’s series of talks is, “What does health and well-being mean for women in 2019?” The talks will cover a variety of topics such as stress, anxiety, self-care, exhaustion, women and relationships.
For further inspiration..
Could we take honouring ourselves as women to a deeper level, and what would this look like?
Is there a link between anxiety and our expression?
46 thoughts on “Well-Being for Women Melbourne – the Impact of Anxiety and Stress ”
Our expectations and pictures on life and on relationships are the key thing that leads to any anxiety that we can feel and so these pictures and expectations really are our undoing. So if we were to be able to drop these, and allow ourselves to be open to what life has to offer us in all its opportunities and learnings, then we could find that anxiety would not rule our life so much any more. How freeing is this?
The list of tools that we use to deal with anxiety is really exposing of how we are not actually seeking to deal with the anxiety at all but in fact using it to fuel further behaviours that maintain the anxiety. This is exposing in itself and shows me that there is something we get from staying in the anxiety – perhaps it is the avoidance of our own power as women and what would come directed at us if we were to live that power in full.
Wow – a powerful presentation and though I was not there for this in person, Terri-Anne, your sharing has made me feel like I was with you all sitting amongst the women and exploring and learning also. Thank you!
Through self-love, self-care and self-nurturing we make space for us in this world. By breathing our own breath we may feel the love that already lives within ourselves. By saying no to all that compromises our body we say yes to the beauty and delicacy of our stillness. How wonderful is that.
We live in a field of energy.
Being reminded of this fact supported me to approach my anxiety. We are responsible of our own choices, and each moment we choose our body lives the consequences. I was not aware before Universal Medicine how everything around was afecting me, and how reactive I lived to all what I could feel along my day. Today I appreciate being aware of how my body feels in every situation because I can clock when I need a moment of pause to reconnect back to my presence. Having access to the resources like Esoteric Yoga or the Gentle breath meditation is an enormous support to have true wellbeing in my life. The more I care and love myself the more steadiness, joy and aliveness I can feel within. It’s all a work in progress and a blessing for all to live.
This feels like a very holding and inspiring presentation. Living anxious is the new normal for many today but we have a choice to hold us tenderly in our stillness, which brings us back to our natural state of being. Any issue we may have just dissolves when we are present, deeply connected with ourselves.
For me my living on nervous energy / anxiety comes from not by choice living fully aware. So I can feel everything going on all around me everywhere, all the time, even further a field will people I know abroad, or in different areas of the country, and instead of reading it, simply nominating ti to myself, I choose to not, but I can’t help by feel it, so my body is living in this constant anxiousness of not reading everything I can see and feel around me in life. And to top that off, add more anxiousness / nervous energy when I do read instead of simply being cool with everything I feel, I react to it and turn it into a drama / complication. It’s exhausting, and not good for my health or state of well being, But there is something I get out of it, the drama, complication, not living responsibly.
‘People also worry about the uncertainty how their future might be and turn out’. The other day I read that the NHS are seeing an increase to 60% of children and young people being malnourished in the UK and that is just the children and young people they do see!! Following this I then saw and interview of children in a family saying they have one meal a day and have to go to the food bank and how sometimes mum and dad cannot afford food. Heartbreaking .. and we think we are living in a world where things are improving. It is a known fact that if we (people) struggle to have the basics – food, water, shelter and warmth then that is going to cause stress, anxiety, worry and where we are unable to live our full potential. So much to change here and the change can be easy if collectively we start to make the right choices .. making it about truth, people and love first.
When I come back to my own sensitivity it is like coming back to my own innate wisdom and love, a source I do appreciate so much more than the bully that beats me up and is only fed to me to keep me small and insecure.
Thank you, this is a very practical and supportive article. I could relate to the list of the 5 common triggers of anxiety, it has provided me with new awareness of what’s going underneath anxiousness in my life and for those around me, thank you.
Likewise Melinda – it is great to read this article and reflect on the common themes that we all experience and realising that we are not alone with how we have all been affected. And equally so with a re-newed understanding of the situation we get to realise that there is much for us to let go of to allow true healing and the allowing of our innate power to be unleashed.
It is interesting as before reading this I always thought of anxiety mainly being something in the body and not the mind but of course with whole body intelligence everything is interlinked so of course if we are feeling anxious that is going to affect us mentally ‘Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in Australia, it is far more common then we realise.’
“It comes mainly from a person’s expectations and pictures of how they would like their life to be, and if reality looks like it might jeopardise that picture.” When said like this it makes it easier for us to deal with and to destroy those pictures that may have been running us.
We also place so many conditions on ourselves and life, that we set ourselves up to fail. Then we can justify to ourselves why we are the way we are and use this as an excuse not to evolve. These conditions can be something we have developed over many life times and reincarnate with life after life so that they are imprisoning.
“So where does it come from?” where ever it comes from – in truth it is not natural to us. We have to work hard to stay in stress!
“Holding yourself in presence (the connection to the warmth within, the divine spark) is the antidote, it is what is healing.” Oh yes what a awesome reminder.
When we re-connect we heal, it’s as simple as that. And unless we re-connect then there can be no true healing. We can talk all we won’t but without re-connection then all we’re doing is aligning ourselves to the same consciousness that caused us to feel hurt in the first place.
Giving voice to what we feel, helps us to identify what we daily live and then make the changes that best support us. Great that those events are offered worldwide, opening the space to deepen in our relationship with ourselves as women. Very inspiring and confirming
A simple, beauitfull and practical tip Amparo and from my experience and observation I know this is so true when we start to voice/express what we are feeling this then starts to shift it.
What an opportunity we have as women to let go of all that no longer serves us and instead step forth into the world full of our own love and light, now thats what I call incredible.
Imagine it was snowing outside but you pretended it wasn’t and you went out in shorts. Surely it would be uncomfortable! So it makes sense to me that denying the ‘weather’ we sense in our everyday environment has a big impact on us too.
Joseph I love this analogy so simple yet so clear.
What a great analogy Joseph, thank you. It makes sense why sometimes my life looks fine on the surface yet I feel like I’m being pelted with rain, there is a lot going on for us to sense and bring our expression to.
Brilliant Joseph – we might not like the snow and the cold but the reality is that this is what is happening. The more we embrace wearing a jacket and trousers to stay warm, despite having had plans to wear shorts, the more we will be equipped to handle the day. And on that note, I have noticed that a lot of Australians wear summer clothes in winter – this is perhaps related and a reflection and a reminder of the denial we can all be in at times?!
WOW this is so very relatable!
Goodness the list you gave for ‘coping mechanism we use to attempt to deal with anxiety, by avoiding experiencing it’ was frighteningly familiar 😶 Definitely sounds like a workshop that was needed. Thank you for sharing.
There is such a beauty in a women that honours herself.
Esoteric Yoga is an amazing modality. ” This practical tool was offered to support us all to re-connect to that divine spark within, to further the support of holding oneself and to confirm the innate wisdom” that we all have within.
I think many of us have forgotten that it is true – innately we are deeply wise and therefore compare and are jealous of others. If we remember that & reconnect to it, the poisonous behaviours we engage in will not exist.
Thank you Terri Anne for sharing this beautiful workshop. Together we can maintain our connection to our essence and let go of what at times overwhelms us. We are so blessed to have these workshops.
There will always be anxiety and stress if a women does not claim and acknowledge her true inner beauty and the fact she is far more then what meets the eye.
Supporting ourselves can be as simple as staying with our breath and our body. When I feel anxiousness come up it is putting me on notice that I have separated and becoming overwhelmed by thoughts about the future which has not yet arrived – bringing myself back offers settlement in the body and everything I need to handle the moment I am in.
Yes it is so simple – to reconnect to our body and our breath. Yet how many live this consistently? And how many even know that this can be a way to come back to ourselves? I feel so blessed to have rediscovered the Ancient Wisdom teachings.
The true vibration on Earth should be the harmonious hum of God but we’ve replaced it with the discordant clatter of anxiety and stress.
“Holding yourself in presence (the connection to the warmth within, the divine spark) is the antidote, it is what is healing”. This sentence makes me feel super snug, I hold myself almost constantly, not in a controlled ‘what’s gonna happen next way’ but in an almost constant loving embrace and I agree with Cynthia it is the antidote to anxiety and stress but not only that it is the antidote to all of life’s dilemmas and conundrums as well as being a doorway to God.
it seems like a far, far in the distance option to hold yourself with love & care (for many), but getting a sense of it from your comment actually brings it closer and makes it a possibility for many of us have forgotten that it is actually an option.
Holding ourselves in love and care is many steps short of living who we truly are. We are the collective torrent of Gods love with no room or space to be anything but.
I know when I am anxious I can focus too much on an issue, regardless of how big it is, and overanalyse the hell out of it. Which is why the answer is so simple and the complete opposite “Holding yourself in presence (the connection to the warmth within, the divine spark) is the antidote, it is what is healing.” – That feels lovely and I come right back down to Earth.
“Having anxiety leads back to a lack of self-worth and having a lack of self-worth is like living with a bully that is constantly beating you up.” An awareness that you are your own bully that is giving you a hard time is an opportunity to make different choices in the way you speak to and treat yourself.
Anxiety is so prolific. It is debilitating for some, and for others they learn to live with it and consider it a normal part of life. Your blog offers a moment of pause, and an opportunity to be more aware so we can consider a different perspective.
I feel anxiety in my body all the time. It is very subtle but is none the less there. It is connected to the fact that I haven’t yet chosen to settle in my body consistently, to the fact that I choose to justify or self critique or judge – again even on subtle levels. When I let go and simply choose to be, the anxiety shifts and cannot be felt – my breathing also changes. I am no longer bracing/holding my breath and body but there is a surrender and a deeper breath that is natural and I am connected to my body in full.
“We finished the day with a session of Sitting Yoga facilitated by Sandra Dallimore, Yoga of Stillness Practitioner. This practical tool was offered to support us all to re-connect to that divine spark within, to further the support of holding oneself and to confirm the innate wisdom that the group was first reminded of at the beginning of the presentation and workshop.” Esoteric Yoga is such an amazing tool to either confirm us or enabling us to reconnect to the stillness within, that is always there but can get lost in the busy-ness of our lives.
““Women are innately wise, we are not here telling you what you don’t already know. ” So true- we had our wisdom educated out of us, as often shown in very young girls pre-school age. So beautiful to reconnect to our wisdom in these groups.
“We had our wisdom educated out of us”, we sure did Sue. The education system takes the magnificence of God (as seen in pretty much all kids) and pulverises it in much the same way as a used scrap metal dealer crushes cars into cubes.
When we educate out the wisdom, what is in its place puts us immediately into low level anxiety as we are constantly calculating how much of us we can be and how much we need to perform to get recognition. It is something that has not been acknowledged but has a huge impact on the physiology of the body.
Well said Michelle, we have turned the natural mill pool of the body into a gaseous swamp.