With the seemingly ever-rising number of people struggling with anxiety issues, it's perhaps no surprise that many are now looking to hypnotherapy to possibly help them through the symptoms.
Anxiety is essentially a normal, natural response that we are designed to experience in relation to threat, danger and a risk of harm. Throughout history, that ability to be primed for action, alert and switched has enabled us to survive. However, in the modern environment, threats are more likely to arise from our internally generated thoughts, perceptions and beliefs rather than any external threat.
And so we can find ourselves feeling anxious, tense and filled with dread about people, places, situations or circumstances. For some, their anxiety may be very specific and linked to events such as work presentations or exams, whilst for others those uncomfortable feelings and unwanted thoughts can seem to infiltrate each and every part of their life.
How does anxiety affect the body?
All that anxiety and stress can lead to experiencing unpleasant physical sensations such as shallow breathing, a racing heart and feeling hot and sweaty. You can find yourself with a dry mouth, feeling nauseous or like you need the toilet and unable to think clearly.
Many people report how they struggle mentally and with sleep and can’t seem to ‘switch off’ from their thinking. You can be filled with a sense of dread, fear and worry that may be so overwhelming that you avoid certain things and it can impact on your work, friendships and relationships.
Anxiety also brings certain thinking patterns which can amplify the dread. You may find that your mind is filled with an endless stream of worst-case scenarios of things going wrong or badly in the future or replaying things that you perceive went badly in the past. You may find that you are focused on catastrophic things occurring and those, ‘what-if this happens?’ type of thoughts.
When you feel anxious, your imagination will always find something worrying to link the feeling to, so that even as one thing ends, another stream of fearful thoughts will fill its place.
Personally, when I used to struggle with anxiety, I felt every tightening feeling of dread as I ran through all sorts of both realistic and fantastic imagined scenarios. One of my main triggers used to be group situations, such as meetings at work or social events, and my mind would fill with worries about saying the wrong thing or even not saying enough, making an idiot out of myself somehow or people just not liking me.
You may feel like your anxiety starts to feed itself so that you worry about feeling anxious, which leads to stressful thoughts which then leads to feeling more stressed and then on to even more anxious thoughts. This pattern can then become much more habitual and seemingly automatic so that it just grows and grows to the point where you need to seek professional help. This is when perhaps hypnotherapy can be a very powerful, positive and beneficial tool in regaining control over thoughts and feelings.
Benefits of hypnosis for anxiety and panic attacks
An effective hypnotherapy treatment plan may help you to regain control over your thoughts and feelings so that you find yourself feeling more mentally calm, physically relaxed, confident and in control rather than stay suffering with panic attacks.
There are many myths and misconceptions about hypnosis, most of which relate to concerns about being out of control or under the control of the hypnotist. In fact, this couldn’t be further from what actually occurs as hypnosis helps you to take control over your thoughts, feeling and responses so that you take control over anxiety, rather than feeling controlled by it.
Hypnosis for anxiety involves using the same psychological processes that you use every day. By engaging your imagination, beliefs, thoughts and motivation, you can make desired changes to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. In many ways, you turn the patterns of anxiety on their head and instead of, for example, feeling anxious and imagining worst-case scenarios, you can learn how to feel mentally and physically calmer and focus on what you do want to do.
Of course, effective hypnotherapy will also involve understanding when, where and how you experience anxiety so that your sessions can be focused on achieving the outcomes that you want. Whilst this may involve addressing past issues, often it is about understanding how your anxiety keeps itself going now so that you can interrupt and change those existing patterns.
As well as utilising hypnosis and other therapeutic approaches, the aim of hypnotherapy is to help you reach a place where you are able to control your thoughts and your feelings yourself. By learning effective strategies and techniques that you can use day-to-day, you may find yourself feeling calm, confident and in control more and more.
In many ways, anxiety is a state of heightened awareness where the imagination gives shape to those stressful feelings. Effective treatment using hypnotherapy can possibly help you to become mentally calmer and physically more relaxed so that you feel more confident and capable to handle whatever challenges come your way. Make sure to do your research for a recommended practitioner before you seek out help. Good luck!
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