Anxiety is a very common experience for so many people nowadays, I remember when I was a child and experiencing what we now call ‘anxiety’ it was labelled as “weird”. My poor parents had no idea what it was I was experiencing or why, as 1 of 5 children and the only one with high sensitivity, my parents were at a loss.
Of course now as a society we understand it so much more and there is so much more support and understanding for the experience of anxiety. In this article I am going to uncover some things that you may have labelled as anxiety but is actually a symptom of your high sensitivity.
I too am guilty of blanket labelling my sensitivity symptoms as anxiety, because they feel so similar. And they are all I had known since I was a little girl. No shame in that, once you know better you do better, right?
I asked a question on my instagram stories this past week “do you experience anxiety in your body and don’t know why?” I was quite surprised at how many people put their hand up and said “yes”.
It really validated my own experience but also shows me how important it is for me to share my experience and teach you ways in which you can start to understand yourself and your experience with anxiety more.
As I mentioned I have had anxiety symptoms since I was little, from about the age 11. I don’t really know why or how it started and what my brain experienced that caused it to flick the switch to more worry and less chill.
My mum tells me I was such an easy-going child, not much bothered me, I would always do my own thing, not too concerned on what even my siblings were doing.
For the most part I am like that as an adult too, pretty easy-going and calm, but I do have the layer of anxious thoughts too from time to time.
When I am experiencing those anxious thoughts, my body too experiences the anxious symptoms. Makes sense right?
But then there are times where my body experiences anxious symptoms that are not stemming from anxious thoughts, so where are those symptoms coming from?
According to Dr Judith Orloff in her book “The Empaths Survival Guide” our bodies are different as we feel everything, they are so porous that we absorb the positive and negative energies around us into our muscles, tissues and organs.
That starts to explain our anxiety symptoms that seem body based, such as tension, tightness and nausea to name a few. Our past experiences tell us, “I am feeling anxious” and then we search for the answer, just what an anxious person needs, right?
This can put you into a vicious cycle of body based symptoms, brain trying to understand, which then causes thoughts of anxiety, that then cause body symptoms of anxiety.
What if these symptoms aren't anxiety at all?
Your high sensitivity and your ability to feel so much, means you have got so much energy coming in and sitting within both your energy system and your physical body.
So much so that you can experience what Dr Judith Orloff refers to as “empathic illnesses”, where you experience the symptoms of an illness you don’t even have.
I will take that one step further and say you can experience the emotions of others, when you absolutely have no reason or cause to be feeling or experiencing those emotions. Sound familiar?
As a counsellor early on after every client session I would be wiped out. I remember one in particular where my client was experiencing deep trauma and we had been working on healing and releasing with energy healing. After I got off the call I literally couldn’t stand up, my body was filled with her emotion.
I remember it took me a good 48 hours to recover and that was lying in bed for that whole period, it was then that I learned the extent of my sensitivity and the importance of protecting my energy field and physical body.
There have been other times where my client was experiencing anger at her husband and then I get off the call and next thing you know I am yelling at my husband (poor guy) 😏, luckily he understands me on a deep level and grounds me very easily.
Thankfully now after being in this role for over 6 years I know what I need to do to protect my energy field and body. But I am not immune to it, if I don’t do my protective strategies it will happen again.
It literally can feel like I am angry, or sad, or grieving, or anxious. For the “normal” person without high sensitivity this will sound a little “crazy”, my mum says all the time “I don’t know how you survive living as you”. 😃
Living as a highly sensitive soul certainly has its challenges but honestly the rewards far out weigh the hard times. I would not give up this gift for anything in this world, I thank God everyday for trusting me with this gift of empathy.
A good question I find to ask myself when I am not sure if it is anxiety or an energy I have absorbed, I ask the following question:
“Does this belong to me?”
This gives your angels and guides the permission to remove any emotion, energy or physical symptom that does not belong to you.
If you get the sense that it does not belong to you, then you can also say:
“Please remove any energy, emotion or physical symptom that is not mine to carry”
Such a simple and effective exercise that you can use no matter where you are, even in the middle of a busy work day. As they remove it from you, you will start to feel a lightness within you.
Let’s talk about some preventative ways you can protect your beautiful sensitive energy:
- Surround yourself in a protective shield, I recommend to ask your angels and guides for the colour you need. (if no colour comes to you, white is always very protective). Envision you are surrounded from top of your head, down your sides and under your feet and asking to be protected from any negative energy whilst still allowing in guidance and abundance.
- Carry a protective crystal on your body. Black tourmaline is great! I’ll be honest when working with clients, I have one in my bra. 😉
- Tap and Talk is also another great exercise, see video below. This allows you to still show empathy to others whilst protecting yourself.
- The golden bowl is also another great way of protecting your energy whilst caring for others. Click here to read the article.
What can you do after you have absorbed energy and emotions?
You sense you have absorbed energy and emotions that aren’t yours, what can you do? It is not too late and I have plenty of ideas for you:
- Cleanse your energy field and body by burning either white sage or palo santo, move the smoke around your body, asking for your energy and body to be cleared and cleansed
- Go out in nature barefoot and connect with mother earth, asking her to cleanse and clear your energy. I have a great meditation that will help you do that. Purchase Grounding Meditation
- An aura spray is also wonderful to cleanse and clear. My Angel Mist aura spray is such a beautiful product and it will cleanse and clear any energies you have absorbed. Order your bottle.
I trust this article has been helpful in showing you that not all symptoms are anxiety based and starting to understand and work with your high sensitivity will help you to feel more calm and grounded.
Are you ready to embark on your healing journey?
Nicole Ivens is a Holistic Counsellor and Certified Clinical EFT Practitioner.
Nicole is a Highly Sensitive Soul, Empath, and quietly spoken Introvert (INFJ).
Nicole is passionate about providing a safe space for her clients to embark on their healing journey.
She is well known for empowering her clients to take up space and know it is their time to thrive.
Her motto is:
“To Heal is to Empower and To Empower is to Heal”