A Down-shifting Anxiety Pathway

This is a pathway to help you understand anxiety as a nervous system response, and develop a set of tools for down-shifting it. If you are dealing with acute anxiety, skip the first two videos, and begin with Calming Anxiety.

Anxiety is the primal, body-based expression of the flight response. We might want to get away from something that is outside of us, or we might want to get away from something that is inside of us, but it's essence is this yearning to get away. As soon as we really feel this, we can work with this energy. We can begin to ask ourselves- What is happening with me? What is it that I'm trying to get away from? In the beginning of this pathway, we are going to help you understand how your Autonomic Nervous System regulates your threat response. Then we'll transition into restorative practices for working with anxiety.

A Brief Illustrated Guide to the Polyvagal Theory

6 minutes

The second film is Turning on the Connection System, and goes deeper into an understanding of stress physiology.

Turning on the Connection System

47 minutes

The third film is focused specifically on understanding and down-shifting Anxiety.

Calming Anxiety

10 minutes

Our goals so far in this pathway are to:

  • help you understand that your nervous system is always tuning based on whether or not you feel safe
  • understand the physiology of connection and stress response
  • understand that anxiety is a manifestation of a flight response (part of the fight or flight system)
  • that anxiety often happens when we lose contact with the ground, and our bodily impulse to flee
  • practice reconnecting with the embodied awareness of the flight energy

Now we are going to more deeply explore the practice of grounding.