Hypnotherapy for Stress and Anxiety
“Stress is a reaction to a problem, and anxiety is a reaction to the stress.”
Anxiety is the fear of what might happen. It may feel like a sense of vague dread, or perhaps you often feel panicky or nervous. Perhaps there are situations that you avoid, because you know they will trigger your anxiety. Maybe you have panic attacks. Perhaps something happened in the past, and you are unable to leave it behind you.
How can Hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for stress and anxiety. Hypnosis itself is relaxing, and most people find being hypnotised very pleasant. During the Hypnotherapy session we can work together to replace the old, anxious patterns with new ways of thinking. This enables the brain to let go of the unhelpful triggers, and bad thinking patterns that are feeding the anxiety. I will also show you some different techniques you can use if you do find yourself starting to feel anxious.
So what is anxiety?
Anxiety is actually your brain’s instinctive response to danger. The oldest part of your brain - the caveman part - is ensuring you react swiftly to danger in order to survive. Whenever your subconscious mind perceives what it considers to be a danger, the Fight or Flight response is triggered, to prepare you to run away or fight.
Hormones and chemicals flood your system:
Your digestive system slows or stops - making you feel sick, and like you need a wee.
Veins in your skin constrict to send more blood to your muscles, so you may feel cold. You may also sweat, as your body tries to prevent potential heat exhaustion in flight mode.
Your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure increase sharply, heightening your fears that something is really wrong.
Your muscles tense up, fuelled by the extra glucose and adrenaline your body is releasing.
Your brain activity changes - you are unable to think clearly; reactions are instinctive for optimum speed. You are also on high alert in this state, primed to see threats even where there actually aren’t any.
All this gives you a powerful boost if you are about to sprint away from a sabre toothed tiger - but it’s rather less useful if you are reacting to a negative comment in a meeting at work! In modern times, ‘threats’ are a little more sophisticated, and we don’t tend to react to them physically. So the natural way of using up these hormones and chemicals (running or fighting) doesn’t usually help us to get rid of them.
Unfortunately too, the subconscious mind is not always able to accurately assess what is a threat in this complex modern world, and sometimes the fear or flight reaction gets triggered too often. This is basically what happens in Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
The process can also go wrong if the subconscious associates threat with things that actually are harmless. The subconscious mind is great at making habits and patterns - which is great when you are riding your bicycle automatically without having to think about each different physical movement - but not so good if your subconscious has associated a moment when you were startled by a moth with danger, and now makes you fearful whenever you encounter one - sometimes leading to a full blown phobia.
This is where Hypnotherapy can help. In trance, we can use a variety of different techniques to reprogram the way your subconscious mind runs these patterns, and reset the response back to a more appropriate level.
Anxiety/Stress and Insomnia
Insomnia often goes hand in hand with stress and/or anxiety. We are all familiar with that feeling of lying awake in bed, with our mind still hyper-alert and unable to slow down. Hypnotherapy can help reduce your stress/anxiety, giving you a chance to actually sleep. Hypnotherapy is also a brilliant tool for resetting sleep patterns and dealing with sleep-related issues.
Hypnotherapy is a great tool to reset habits, including your sleeping habits. Why not use the power of your hypnosis and your own subconscious mind to reset your sleep patterns and help you to get a good night’s rest? Your subconscious mind never sleeps - and in fact we’ve all had the experience of our subconscious waking us up just before the alarm goes off - but the rest of you certainly needs to!
So what’s the difference between Stress and Anxiety?
According to the National Health website, Stress is “the feeling of being under too much emotional pressure.” All of us experience stress in our daily lives, and indeed some stress can be a positive thing. If we never felt any stress, we’d have far less motivation to accomplish goals in our lives. With stress, we know what’s bothering us, and it tends to be something external like an exam, financial worries or relationship difficulties.
Anxiety however is “A feeling of unease, worry or fear”, or a vague sense of dread and impending doom, and it’s origin is more from our own internal processes. Anxiety can be a reaction to stress.
How can I control my stress?
Hypnotherapy is a useful tool for dealing with stress. You can relax very deeply in hypnosis, and get a better perspective on things that may be bothering you. You can also make changes to unhelpful thinking patterns, and replace them with more useful ways of dealing with stress. We all know that smoking, drinking alcohol and eating too much of the wrong kinds of food aren’t a good strategy for dealing with stress long term! Hypnotherapy can help you to actually change these unhelpful, unwanted patterns for something better.
Taking exercise regularly and eating well, as well as avoiding caffeine and alcohol can help. Also you can learn self-hypnosis and practice hypnotic relaxation. Why not have a look at the free Audio Resources on this site?
It’s important to note that many people experience anxiety without having an anxiety disorder. There are 6 specific types of anxiety disorders, which all usually respond well to Hypnotherapy:
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
As the name suggests, this is characterised by excessive worry and a general feeling of doom. The subconscious mind has learnt to be too vigilant in identifying things as a threat, and the Fight or Flight response is being activated too frequently - rather like that annoying smoke alarm that starts beeping every time you make the toast. As with other forms of anxiety, in a hypnotherapy session we can look for the causes and triggers of the anxiety and install new and more helpful behaviours.
Phobias can limit your life, but they don’t have to. Hypnotherapy and EMDR can resolve most phobias for most people. You don’t have to live with limits due to irrational fear.
Social anxiety is an intense fear of certain social situations. It can lead to sufferers avoiding social situations as far as possible, and becoming lonely and depressed.
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental disorder in which a person feels the need to perform certain routines repeatedly. It can be extremely debilitating.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Everyone knows that PTSD can affect soldiers, police and firefighters - people who have seen horrible things and been in unimaginable situations. PTSD can affect people in normal life too. Sometimes we can just get ‘stuck’ on something that has happened in the past. Hypnotherapy and EMDR offer a different way of releasing the past and moving on into a positive future.
Help for Anxiety
If you are struggling with some form of Anxiety or Stress, why not fill in the contact form on this website or give me a call, and find out how I can help? I offer a free 30 minute consultation, so that you can get a better idea of how Hypnotherapy can help you to live the life you want.
Or call me on 07981 082454