Stress & Anxiety

Last week at the Adult ADHD support group that I co-run in Montreal we had a guest speaker, Sheila Southon. She works at the Yellow Umbrella Wellness Centre and is a Chopra Certified Instructor, Naturotherapist & Counsellor. Sheila came to speak with us about the effects of stress on your body and practicing mindfulness.

There was one slide in particular that caught my attention. The slide was originally from Dr. Deepak Chopra. I’ll do a summary of the info here. It isn’t nearly as pretty as her slide was but you’ll get the idea:

Reactive Responses to Stress


  • Chronic judgement/criticism
  • Social exclusion
  • Verbal attacks/gossiping
  • Blowing up
  • Being mean


  • Avoidance
  • Being unreliable
  • Appeasing/flattering
  • Complying/sabotaging
  • Depressive symptoms


  • Being unresponsive/unavailable
  • Avoiding social situations
  • “Going along” with powerful figures
  • Not getting involved

Have you seen these three words before? I have! Fight, Flight and Freeze are usually related to anxiety. I started to wonder.. is there a relationship between anxiety and stress? Is the huge rise in anxiety that we are all seeing/experiencing really stress that we are labeling as anxiety? Can I tackle my stress and in turn help deal with my anxiety? I do know that implementing systems in my life like using a planner, making a routine have helped with my anxiety but is it really just helping to manage my stress which looks like anxiety? I guess it doesn’t matter which it is as long as the symptoms are diminishing!

At the end of the meeting I chatted with the speaker and I mentioned that I cannot fully allow myself to become engrossed in the meditation. I become very uncomfortable and I feel the need to open my eyes. She then said something that was a huge “aha moment” for me:

It might be that you don’t feel safe.

Stay tuned for the next blog post all about what the speaker said to me and why alarm bells went off!

How do you feel about the above “symptoms” of Fight, Flight and Freeze in relation to stress? What are you thinking about what I said about what I thought was anxiety really being stress? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! <3

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