Well hello friend,
I hope this newsletter find you well.
A quick heads up incase you don’t plan to read to the bottom of this newsletter today, take a moment to scroll down, as things are changing with regard to the format and frequency you will receive your weekly dose of Flourish and Nourish .

Are you sitting comfortably? Got your coffee/tea in hand? Good.
 The topic of this week’s newsletter is something I see and hear about with increasing regularity. Anxiety. What is anxiety and how does it differ (if at all) to stress, and where does excitement come into the mix?
Of course, I am no expert here, so I did some digging around to see if I could find some substance to back up my observations. It seems ‘anxiety’ has crept into people’s lives, has no barrier to entry and in some cases, makes itself right at home on a regular basis. The chemical reaction I experience which invokes panic and stomach churning is the same if I’m riding a roller coaster or being chased by a saber-toothed tiger. My system responds the same whether a threat is real or imagined, friend or foe. So, whether we are worrying about an interview or facing a saber-tooth tiger, our bodies will react similarly to both events with symptoms of anxiety and stress. Is there a difference between stress and anxiety?Stress is a normal response to a threatening situation and anxiety is largely caused by worry. In fact, ‘anxiety’ and ‘stress’ are just two different words to describe the same experience – the symptoms of a higher heart rate, sweaty palms, churning stomach to name a few. If there is one difference between anxiety and stress, it is that anxiety is usually perceived as more short-term, whereas stress can last for weeks, months, or even years.  Stress and ExcitementAlthough many think of stress as a negative word, there are actually three different types of stress: positive, tolerable, and toxic. Positive stress typically occurs when we try new things or look forward to an event, a simple reframing of the word stress to excitement will not only change how you think about the upcoming event or interview, but it will actually change your body’s physiological response.  Change your mind and change your body.
Have you ever thought that the signs of stress and anxiety also bear a striking resemblance to those associated with a more positive emotion —excitement? Anxiety and Excitement are often seen as opposites. One is positive, and one is negative. But how different are they really? When we are anxious, we feel nervous, tense and restless. We may start sweating, breathing rapidly and having trouble concentrating. Our heart rate also increases, this is similar to how we are when excited. So, what is the Difference? The difference is in our interpretation. In other words, if we recognize these feelings as positive, we’ll feel excited. If we see them as negative, we’ll feel anxious. The heart pounding response is simply your body saying ‘something important’ is happening. The “something important” is open to your interpretation. Both emotions — anxiety and excitement — start the same way, but it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll translate your body’s signals with a positive or negative slant. Great news! Why is this great news? In many cases, you have more power over your anxiety than you think. By seeing your body’s reaction as an objective response, you can make the choice about whether you’re going to feel fear or exhilaration. 

3 Ways you can overpower your anxiety 

If you are not sure whether what you are feeling is stress or anxiety, ask yourself if it is tolerable or toxic. Tolerable stress is usually uncomfortable, but manageable. However, anxiety can be all consuming and makes it difficult to eat properly, sleep well, or even stay focused on your daily tasks. Another way to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety is to change the way that you explain a situation to yourself. That will then change the chemical message that your body receives. So next time you start to feel that nervous stomach, and get all sweaty and muddled, try to explain the situation to yourself in a way that predicts things going well. That will switch off the fight or flight response and your body will become calm. It usually takes your body 20 minutes to recover from a highly stressful or anxious episode which is why it is never a good idea to continue a stressful discussion with a child or partner once a toxic state has kicked in. Try to learn to relax to break the pattern to see if it eases the situation   Self-hypnosis and breathing techniques can be learnt so you send yourself chemical messages that calm down the anxiety reaction. Stress is nature’s way of making us more capable of physically defending ourselves; anxiety is a modern phenomenon where the way in which we think triggers the same process. Stress and anxiety can feel the same, but the former is right time, right place reaction; and the latter is often a series of negative predictions and ruminations that triggers the defense mechanism.  

Disclaimer: Zoe Dodds is not a licensed mental health professional, the content in this newsletter has not been certified, it is purely for informative purposes. If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, perhaps it could be time to talk to a professional mental health provider. Not all anxiety is anxiety, learning how to reframe your thinking and make changes in your life to help avoid situations which bring on these feelings should help.
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About Zoë Dodds

Life, Health, and Fitness Coach

Zoë has a passion for helping and empowering women to the best version of themselves.

With 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry, she delivers inspiration and wealth of knowledge to her clients, some of which she shares in her blog and weekly newsletters.

Originally from England, Zoë has lived in Seattle for 9 years with her husband, two grown-up children and a Labrador called Jordi.

Click here to read more.