Monthly Archives: February 2014

Love & Anxiety Series #10:Fixity vs. Flow!

In my anxiety reduction workshops one concept we work on is moving from the body state of fixity into flow. While some of my readers are aware of the concept of flow from a creative perspective, this is a different aspect of flow. Many people are not aware of fixity at all. Fixity is my own term to describe the way our brains and bodies engage when we are anxious or stressed. Fixity keeps our amygdala firing, (remember the smoke detector of the brain) this causes anxiety, and prolongs the state of stress physiology, and stress physiology causes fixity. It is truly a vicious circle. There are biological reasons for this circle. When we are literally in danger, like being chased by a tiger, we need to be fixated on getting out of danger. Every fiber of our being is engaged in helping us run faster so we can become safe again. (This can even include bowel and bladder evacuation so we can run faster. This is one reason why consistently anxious people almost always have some problem with digestion-IBS, diarrhea, or alternating constipation & diarrhea.)

To contrast, and help explain the body concept of flow, remember the last time you were playing fun games with your family or friends, sitting around talking and laughing after a nice dinner, or exercising your creativity.  During these times, our body and Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is in an open receptive more right-brained state. We feel safe and engaged, curious and happy. Our attention is on multiple aspects of the situation and we are interacting without a sense of danger. In flow, it is like being in a wide open meadow with numerous paths. There are no barriers, anything is attainable, and new possibilities seem easy and available to you. 

Fixity is more like being stuck forever, going down a narrow, one-way street. There is often a sense of only one option, or maybe not even one. Remember the last time you worried, for most of us it was just a few minutes ago, or when  you were struck trying to solve a problem. If you recall, not only was all of your attention fixated on this issue, but your vision was narrowed, your muscles were at least semi-braced,  and your heart rate was higher than normal. When we are in fixity, even our vision becomes rigidly focused. Instead of enjoying a soft, open focus on what is in front of us, we fixate on one object or person at a time.  A person can be walking on a lovely beach in Hawaii and miss all the joy, and glorious beauty, only noticing her fear and misery, because she is worrying. She is in fixity and all her being is stuck on the worry/fear/issue.

So many different influential, wise humans encourage us to learn to BE and live in the present moment. That wisdom, when you practice applying it on a more regular basis, will allow your body to experience being in flow more often than in fixity. We are rarely in physical danger, and if we allow our body, ANS, and attention to focus on what is actually occurring, instead of our future fears, worries, or concerns, we will naturally begin to move out of fixity into a more open, relaxed way of being in the world. You will begin to live more in the flow state in your body. Let’s designate 2014 as the year we vanquish the anxiety and live in peace, joy, and flow.

Going Deeper:

1)Think about the past week, how much of the time was spent in worry or fixity? How much of the time was spent in flow?

2) What are the hobbies, situations, creative endeavors, relationships, etc., in your life that encourage your body to experience flow? Once you identify these, I encourage you to put more time and energy into these things. You will see a positive difference in your mood stability and your anxiety levels!Image(Loved children are usually in the state of flow! Ben & Eil)

 To learn how to evict the anxiety in your life, join one of my 3-week anxiety reduction workshops. Go to http://www.sdtraumatherapy.com for more information. Mention this blog when you sign up and receive a 10% discount! Happy Loving.

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