To say Dr Jodie Lowinger knows a thing or two about anxiety is an understatement. The clinical psychologist and founder of the Sydney Anxiety Clinic has helped countless patients struggling with the condition. Now she’s sharing her knowledge via The Mind Strength Method, a new book detailing “four steps to curb anxiety, conquer worry and build resilience”.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. “Even prior to COVID-19, anxiety was the most prevalent mental health challenge in Australia,” Lowinger says. Since the pandemic, those levels have skyrocketed. The reason, she explains, is that anxiety thrives on uncertainty. And these are nothing if not uncertain times.
Anxiety is our physiological reaction to a perceived threat in our environment, Lowinger says. In caveman days, we would experience a “fight or flight” response when faced with a potentially deadly situation. That response, fuelled by the sympathetic nervous system, was useful in helping us avoid true danger. However, when we experience anxious thoughts nowadays, we react as though we’re facing a life-threatening situation.
“So we get this adrenaline and cortisol [rush] in our bloodstream, which sets up our body to fight or run,” she says.