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Minisode 05 | November 3, 2020

Unpacking Anxiety (Part 1)

In this (not so mini) minisode, we "unpack" or deconstruct anxiety, getting to its root causes.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no and setting boundaries so you can become the authentic and empowered you that this world needs.

Quick disclosure: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professionalIf you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.

Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start:

unpacking anxiety | that's a hard no podcast
Key Takeaways
  • Anxiety defined: an intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.
  • The feeling of anxiety is very common and natural and shows up in stressful situations  such as public speaking or taking a test. 
  • Anxiety or panic attacks can include physical symptoms such as a racing heart, rapid breathing, sweating, blurred vision, sometimes even feeling like an out of body experience. 
  • Anxiety, in Sarah’s research and experience, is directly rooted in FEAR. We are afraid of the unknown, the future, what’s to come, judgment, embarrassment, failure, unmet expectations, rejection, not performing well, looking stupid, being unlovable, or unwanted.
  • Sarah has found that people may have present-day anxieties, but those anxieties are often triggered by unprocessed fears or other emotions from their pasts.
  • When she works with clients, Sarah often asks specific questions to help peel back layers and connect to the feelings that lead to their anxiety:
    • Do you not trust yourself? 
    • Do you look outside yourself for answers? 
    • Do you ever wish you didn’t care what other people think? 
    • Were you ever told to not say anything, be quiet or stop taking?  Just shake it off? Just keep it between us? 
  • Often those questions lead back to a time in the person’s life when they heard the same fear-based messages that triggered the anxiety they’re feeling now. By doing this work, people begin to process traumas or inner child wounds that have been buried and are trying to erupt like a volcano.
  • Body sensations give our brains information for us to tend to it. 
  • Unprocessed trauma (emotional neglect, mental, emotional, physical, sexual abuse, abandonment, rejection, moves, divorce, breakups) If you don’t go back and process those things, your body actually holds on to those experiences and sends messages to our brain which then are associated and “reborn” during situations that are happening in real-time. 
  • Vulnerability:
    • Often, in working with couples, Sarah finds that they don’t communicate openly and honestly about their feelings. They’re afraid to be vulnerable with each other. And when couples are not vulnerable with each other, they lack connection.
    • Researcher Brene Brown (considered THE expert in vulnerability) says “vulnerability is not winning or losing. It is having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.”
    • We as humans are deeply scared to be vulnerable, we lack that connection piece which is imperative for us to accept all our feelings without judgment – so when we aren’t allowing ourselves to go to that place or we weren’t taught that, it leads to our anxiety. 
  • Boundaries:
    • Iyou say yes to something but you really mean no, it triggers “anxiety” because you did something that was out of alignment with your true self. It manifests itself as “anxiety” because it’s our body’s natural way of sayingpump the brakes, there’s something here that needs to be processed.”
    • Healthy relationships allow for saying say no and setting boundaries without an explanation.
Resources & Recommendations
Credits and Thanks