TIGHT HIPS, ANXIETY & CORTISOL

Are you experiencing tightness in your hips? Maybe you feel a constant cramp in your low back, lower body stiffness while walking or maybe even a feeling of reduced circulation in your legs. Fear and anxiety might have something to do with this, for these feelings are closely associated with the lower part of our bodies – our legs, and especially our hips.

THE SAFETY AND SECURITY CENTER

I am sure you have noticed this at some point in your life, that when something stressful happens, we get a feeling in our bellies and half of a second later, in our legs as well. You have often heard people that were in some situation they found stressful saying “I felt like my legs were cut off…”. This is common in situations where extreme fear is felt for one’s health and well-being. In the past when our ancestors lived in what we can say were more “wild” conditions, this fear was associated with wild animal attacks, tribal attacks or something similar. I am using this example to just illustrate how acute fear can have a certain physical manifestation.

However, fear is not always sudden or acute. Our ancestors often worried about acquiring food and maintaining it throughout winter, also building shelter that will give them protection against wild animals and natural influences. These were problems they needed to manage and are very similar to what we experience today. The only difference we have today is that all of these activities are linked and depend on finances.

If we take a look at the chakra system we will find this correlation between the first chakra and the anxiety we feel. The idea is that the lowest chakra is associated with safety and security and in other words our survival. Again, if we go back in ancestral times, we will find that this part of the human mind was closely linked with the role each individual had in the tribe. How he or she contributed to the tribe so that the tribe itself was functioning and was able to survive.

THE HORMONAL RESPONSE

Adrenaline and cortisol are the hormones you can expect to have in large quantities when experiencing anxiety for a prolonged period of time. Why is this so? Because people that are constantly under stress tend to breathe shallow and if this goes on for longer periods of time, this breathing pattern becomes unconscious, but present none the less. This excites the autonomic nervous system, telling it to be ready to face the challenge that is threatening to our health and survival. This means that the body has developed a habit (an unconscious one), to be in a constant “catabolic” state, a state of breakdown and no psychological, physical and physiological rest and repair.

“WEAK LEGS” ANXIETY SYMPTOM

If you are experiencing anxiety you might have noticed this symptom at some point. It can be explained as a sense of reduced feeling in your legs, a sense of losing balance while standing, walking or even feeling as if your legs are made of rubber and not being able to support your weight. This is also where the tight hips may come into play, where you feel as if your hips are so stiff and tight, that they are restricting the blood-flow to your legs. This decreased feeling in your legs is connected to the fear associated with not being safe and secure, and can be symbolically explained as having “no base to stand on”. 

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?

  • Breathing – become conscious of your breathing. Is it falling all the way down into your lower belly and expanding it first and then your chest, is it being forced or have you created a pattern of shallow breathing when you experience or think of a certain problem or a situation.
  • Stretching – join a yoga or a martial arts class. Maybe watch some videos online that cover stretching, particularly in the hip area. This will not only loosen the hips physically, but may also provoke an emotional release, and have you feel lighter throughout the day.
  • Befriend your fear – I know that when I experienced anxiety, I was trying to run away from my fear because it was, well…. Scary! But the moment I accepted the fear and didn’t fight against it, it became a guide for me and it has taken me on some pretty exciting journeys.

Relax, nothing is under control.

Peace,
Kalin  

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