Anxiety: What is it? Why do I have it? Can hypnotherapy help me?
We all experience feelings of anxiety at some point in our lives. In fact, it's a completely natural response to stress, new situations or tests and exams. In certain circumstances, therefore, having some anxiety can be helpful and motivational. For some people, however, anxiety can start to really affect their daily lives.
Here, I'll explain more about anxiety and how hypnotherapy can help.
A long time ago, we evolved to protect ourselves. One of the ways we do that is through the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ reaction. When we perceive a threat, our brain releases hormones to prepare us to run away, fight, or freeze. These hormones make us feel more vigilant of what’s happening around us and make our hearts beat faster, so blood is sent where it’s needed the most when we’re 'under attack' - however, in more recent times the original risks to our safety have pretty much disappeared, and therefore our need for this primitive response is massively reduced. The trouble is, many of us can still experience this 'response' activating when there is absolutely no physical danger present. For example, this when a boss gives us even more work when we're already feeling at full capacity. We can then end up sitting at our desks, with our chest pounding, sweating profusely, feeling shaky, with no idea how to make it stop.
What are the common signs of anxiety?
Anxiety will feel different to everyone, however, common symptoms include:
difficulties sleeping or concentrating
fast or irregular heartbeat
restlessness, feeling on edge, wound-up or irritable.
There are actually many different types of anxiety, and because anxiety is a normal part of life, it can be difficult to recognise when it is becoming a problem. However, if you are experiencing strong feelings of anxiety, or they are lasting for a long time, it can feel exhausting and overwhelming so what's most important is when you decide it is affecting your life too often or too much.
How can I reduce anxiety?
Anxiety is a difficult thing to live with and can affect both our mental and physical health. If you suffer from anxiety, in any form, you’re not alone and there are tools to help.
What works best for you will depend on the nature of your anxiety and your personal circumstances; so try not to be disheartened if one approach doesn’t seem to help you.
For some people, meditation, breathing exercises and journaling can help manage anxiety symptoms. For others, counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) are often helpful. Your GP may also recommend you take medication.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety is also gaining in popularity and, for many people, brings about positive change not only in anxiety symptoms but in your relationship with anxiety itself.
Does hypnotherapy really work for anxiety?
Hypnotherapy for anxiety can help boost confidence and self-belief while reducing feelings of fear and worry. It can help you access the relaxed state of mind needed to overcome the often-overwhelming emotions that come with anxiety.
Using the power of suggestion, hypnosis accesses your subconscious mind to promote positive change. Hypnotherapy can also be helpful in discovering the cause of your anxiety. By working with a qualified hypnotherapist, you can get to the root cause of your anxiety: the fear that is leading you to feel unsafe, on edge, or stressed. By identifying this cause, they can help you reframe negative thoughts or beliefs, to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
How many sessions of hypnotherapy are needed for anxiety?
The number of hypnotherapy sessions needed to help with anxiety can vary from person to person. Typically, around four to six sessions can help you to learn new methods of coping, to replace unhelpful or harmful thought patterns or past negative associations with new, more positive ones. Before starting with a hypnotherapist, it is worth discussing what you hope to gain from your sessions, including any specific goals.
Can hypnotherapy make anxiety worse?
Hypnotherapy can be an effective method of helping people reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Research suggests that hypnosis is effective in reducing anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. However, it is not always helpful for everyone. If you have a history of psychosis or certain types of personality disorders, you should speak with your GP first, as hypnotherapy may not be recommended for you. Some people do experience headaches, dizziness, or anxiety following hypnotherapy, however, this usually fades quickly following a session.
I hope you've found this blog useful, and if you would like to talk about your anxiety, or ask any questions about how Hypnotherapy could help you, please get in touch.