Thursday
Nov242011

Dissociation and Anxiety: How to Get Back in Touch When Anxiety Leaves You Feeling Disconnected

 

In this week's podcast, we discuss a question sent in by a listener: How do I stop myself dissociating? It happens so fast I have no time to stop it.

Dissociation is that awful feeling of disconnection that often occurs with anxiety. It's the feeling of not being in touch with your surroundings or the people around you. We all dissociate sometimes when we zone out and retreat into "another world".

We do it when we daydream, and we do it during intense periods of creativity. But dissociation becomes a problem when we feel uncomfortably out of touch.

 

Points covered in this podcast:


How Does Dissociation Happen? 

Dissociation can occur as a protective state for someone with an overloaded nervous system. It's a way of stepping back and shutting off from further disturbance.

 

Is dissociation always a bad thing? 

There are times when dissociation is useful, sometimes it is encouraged as a way of recovering from trauma or phobias. In those cases it can be very helpful to step back from when emotional intensity is too strong or painful.

 

Why does dissociation often happen with anxiety?

 

Who is most likely to experience this?

 

How to deal with disassociation and get "back in touch"        

- tips on grounding techniques        

- and the "five things" exercise

 

Listen to the full podcast here:

Dealing with Dissociation

Good things for prevention are grounding, active exercises: like qigong, tai chi, and yoga. These exercises all encourage mindful movement with full awareness of your breath and body.

Working with self-awareness is the perfect antidote for overcoming the feelings of mounting stress and anxiety that can lead to dissociation. The more you can bring your awareness to your breath, and your feet connecting with the ground and really pay attention to that connection the better.

Mindful walking is another way of doing this, and if you're looking to balance frequent or prolonged spells of disconnection I would recommend practising mindful walking daily for at least 5-10 minutes. If you can make time for a longer practice out in nature that will benefit you greatly.