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How to heal anxiety with Dr Russell Kennedy

Dr Russell Kennedy, the 'The Anxiety MD', explains his novel and nontraditional way of healing anxiety.

April 29, 2021
4 min read

Dr Russell Kennedy believes anxiety begins in the body. The neuroscientist, medical doctor, and bestselling author of Anxiety Rx has a deep understanding of the challenge of overcoming anxiety, because he's been there himself.

Today, Dr. Kennedy explains why traditional treatments and therapies for anxiety may be missing the mark. We discuss the difference between anxious thoughts and anxiety, and the role that nutrition plays on our nervous system. 

Dr. Kennedy on his healing anxiety

After thirty years, fifty therapists, and dozens of antidepressants, Dr Kennedy had reached a dead end. He had exhausted all his resources, and his battle with anxiety didn’t seem to be ending any time soon. It wasn’t until he took psychedelics that he realised his mind wasn’t the source of his anxiety at all—it was his body. 

As traditional methods such as talking therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy weren’t working for him, he took it upon himself to develop a novel, nontraditional method of healing. 

You can’t heal a feeling problem with a thinking solution.

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What anxiety is, and why traditional therapies don’t work  

Dr. Kennedy separates anxiety into two entities—anxious thoughts of the mind called ‘anxiety proper’, and alarm in the body.

Traditional methods like CBT and talk therapy operate on the premise that changing the thought process will treat the anxiety. According to Dr. Kennedy, this method won’t work on the underlying cause that’s creating the anxiety in the first place. When trying to treat just anxious thoughts, traditional therapies will only help in reframing the thoughts of the mind. 

If your body thinks it's in the combat zone, your mind is going to be a passive reflector of that.

What is alarm? 

Dr. Kennedy’s theory is that the body is the source of anxiety, and not the mind. Painful energy, which he calls ‘alarm’ is the younger self frozen at the age it experienced trauma. The child stays there until it eventually comes to the surface, at which point it needs to be dealt with in order to heal. 

Society places far more energy on words and thoughts as opposed to fixing the underlying cause—alarm in the body.

The new way of healing anxiety 

The Anxiety MD moves away from traditional medicine with his new way of healing anxiety. His process involves finding the source of alarm in the body, identifying its colour, shape, and texture, and focusing on healing 

Is your body in check?

Do some bookkeeping—get a checkup to ensure that your anxiety isn't being caused by an underlying medical condition. Your mind sits on top of your body, not the other way around—it’s your foundation. If something is wrong, like your blood sugar levels, your mind is going to reflect that. Your body is the first thing that needs to be taken into consideration before treatment. 

As Heights co-founder Dan Murray-Serter, says,

Quite often, if you’re having a mental health problem, you’re not necessarily having a psychological problem—it might be biological in which case nutrition is the solution.

Read more about how Dan overcame his mental health problems through nutrition here

Top tips 

  • Make sure you’re feeding your body the right things. More on….

  • In order to take care of your body, you need to take care of your brain. Make sure you’re feeding it the right things

  • Remember to exercise—30-minute HIIT workouts aren’t the only option, even a 10-minute walk will benefit you. 

  • Avoid sugar and coffee—these two things rev up your system, so be cautious of how much you’re consuming. 

  • Seek out somatic therapy.

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