Well-Being for Women Melbourne – the Impact of Anxiety and Stress 

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.”

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Well-being for Women Melbourne

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;

  1. 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.
  2. People also worry about the uncertainty of how their future might be and turn out.
  3. People often compare themselves to others and feel diminished as a result and/or worry about being judged by others.
  4. In many cases of anxiety, a person will also present with perfectionism.
  5. 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?

30 thoughts on “Well-Being for Women Melbourne – the Impact of Anxiety and Stress 

  1. 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.’

  2. “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.

  3. “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!

  4. “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.

  5. 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

  6. Sounds magical.
    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

  14. “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.

    1. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. “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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

  18. “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.

  19. ““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.

    1. “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.

      1. 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.

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