A New Approach to Anxiety
So one year on from when the pandemic hit we are slowly emerging from another lockdown. Getting ready to leave the security of our homes and face the world again. Many of us have experienced some negative or unsettling thoughts at the prospect.
How can we escape from this sense of anxiety? Perhaps, as this is the traditional time of year for spring cleaning our homes, we could also ‘spring clean’ our minds! So that we can dampen down our anxiety and face the future with confidence and hope.
Human beings are very adaptable and our brains are more than capable of adjusting to an ever changing world. This natural ability of the brain to change and grow in response to learning and experience is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means that we can change our response to stress and anxiety and start to live the life we want.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is one of the most common of all mental health conditions. Anxiety is experienced by all age groups in our society and research has shown that it has significantly increased during the pandemic. Not just through lockdowns but also when restrictions are eased. Its prevalence can be linked to many factors but generally it is because humans are naturally wired to be negative.
Anxiety is a behaviour designed to capture your attention and to protect you. In a situation of imminent danger this is helpful, but our natural tendency to worry about things also triggers anxiety. We have an amazing ability unique to our species to imagine the worst!
“Our brains are wired for certain conditions, but our surroundings no longer match those conditions, We have stone-age brains in modern environments.”
Professor Glenn Geher
Symptoms of Anxiety
Thoughts can release brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) and electrical impulses that create pathways in the brain. This is why it’s important to learn how to use your thoughts in a positive way. If your thoughts are negative your brain will interpret this as a threatening situation, regardless of whether the threat is real or perceived. This can trigger a cascade of neurophysiological activity leading to the typical anxiety symptoms.
Symptoms of anxiety can be very different for each person but include:
- Being unable to catch your breath
- An intense feeling of overwhelm. So much to do yet getting nothing done
- Avoidance behaviour – making excuses not to go out or see family and friends or go to work
- An endless cycle of ruminating and worrying about everything that is disproportionate to the situation
If you are suffering from anxiety you naturally want it to stop. My clients will often say the reason they have come to see me is ‘ to stop feeling anxious.’ But the science tells us that stopping it for the time being is not enough. Unless you create competitive wiring in your brain to counter your anxiety it will remain there. Your anxiety is just waiting to be triggered, so that you end up in a stop start situation, unable to break the hold that your anxiety has over you.
Breaking the Anxiety Cycle
In your initial consultation I explain how your brain works. This is such an important part of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy. When you understand how your brain works you can start to ‘rewire’ it.
This understanding is a lifetime resource that I give to my clients. They take it away with them and can tap into it whenever life presents them with challenges or difficulties.
What Do You Really Want?
Subsequent sessions focus on what’s important to you. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and Coaching is oriented to the future, on finding solutions in your life. We don’t dwell on your problems or on why you are experiencing negative thoughts. We concentrate on the positive change that you want to see in your life. Together we find out what it is that you want to feel instead of anxiety. This could be calmness, confidence, happiness.
The longterm solution lies in the detail. My clients learn to think about a life that perhaps they have never thought about before. They think about their preferred future at a deep level. The more depth and detail you can give to this picture of your preferred future the more your potential for achieving it increases. Thinking in depth and detail changes your focus and begins the process of competitive wiring in your brain. The details are specific and personal to you and they encourage your brain to focus more on what you want, and less on what you don’t want.
Eliminate Anxiety With A Positive Outlook
With this detailed picture in your mind we move on to hypnotherapy, using guided relaxation and visualisation to embed it in your thoughts. Hypnotherapy helps you to use your mind in an alternative way, shifting your perspective and helping you to focus on the positive.
In these sessions you also learn how to calm the mind, how to sleep better and how to feel more confident and in control.
The Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and Coaching process encourages us to focus on our hopes, on our strengths and on solutions. So that we are able to achieve positive change in our life, whatever obstacles we face.