How the anchoring technique can help reduce anxiety
In these unusual times we find ourselves in, it’s hard to not let our anxieties run wild. There’s so much information about the pandemic hitting the news and social media, that this constant search for the latest updates has even been given its own name: ‘doomscrolling’. And I’m sure it will come as no surprise that ‘doomscrolling‘ has been directly linked with having an adverse impact on people’s mental health.
But even if we’re not actively hunting down the details, it’s hard to cut ourselves off from it all completely. At a time when we need to surround ourselves with the people we love the most to help us through our low days, we instead have to settle for virtual chats and socially distanced walks.
While some people can keep these anxious feelings under control, for others, it can become a debilitating condition. Even reading about it now, in this article, may be causing you some level of discomfort. And not just about the pandemic. Anxiety can be triggered by many events, both big and seemingly small. So why is this?
What is anxiety?
Well, anxiety, believe it or not, is actually a huge asset to the human race. It’s a reaction that has evolved to keep us safe from predators. So when our brains perceive us to be in danger, our fight, flight, or freeze mechanisms kick in.
This is great when the danger is real, but unfortunately, our brains cannot filter between real threats and our worries or concerns. Therefore, the same hormones are released, regardless of whether we are being chased by a tiger or worrying about some upcoming exams.
While it would not be appropriate to try to eliminate all anxiety completely due to the protection it gives us from danger, the good news is, there are many ways in which hypnotherapy can help us to manage and overcome these extreme levels of anxiety.
This may be by helping you with breathing and relaxation techniques, so that you have a coping mechanism when you start to recognise that your anxiety reaction has been triggered. Or it could be by working on overcoming the initial fears that have led to this reaction. This may help someone who gets anxious about leaving the house which has stemmed from a fear of catching Coronavirus, for example.
Anchoring your control
But one of the most useful tools that a hypnotherapist has in their toolkit is a technique called anchoring. This is where, under hypnosis, the therapist would work with you as a client on bringing your anxiety levels down. Often, this can be through using a dial technique where you are asked to both raise your anxiety and then to drop it back down again. While you may wonder what the benefit is to increase your anxiety levels, this can actually support the process by giving you your power back, within a safe and controlled environment.
At each stage, as you move up, it’s about recognising where in your body you feel the anxiety. Does it increase in one area, as you become more anxious? Or do you start feeling it in multiple areas across your body? It’s this awareness that will help you to identify the early signs, so that you can work on bringing them down before you reach the stage of a panic attack.
In contrast, by then dialling back the levels of anxiety, it’s giving you the control. Taking that moment to recognise that the perceived threat is not a danger to you and allowing you to address the balance once again.
If you have something you’re looking to gain back control over and anchor it to an action, then why not look at the range of hypnotherapists that can offer this treatment?
Like any muscle in our bodies, the more we exercise our brains in an area, the stronger it will become. And so, by using a dial to ramp up and bring down your anxiety levels, you strengthen the process, enabling you to quickly and effectively bring it back down to an acceptable level.
The anchoring technique is then used to create an association in your mind. We do this naturally all the time, where something may trigger a memory or cause us to respond in a particular way. But under hypnosis, the therapist can put a suggestion to you that associates a particular action to calming down and feeling more relaxed, at a time when you can feel the levels of stress building in your body. This then replicates the effect of the dial bringing it back down again. So in the future, you can use this as a tool to manage any anxious feelings.
And the beauty of it is, it doesn’t just work for anxiety. Think about how effective it can be for pain management for people who have chronic conditions. Pain is another useful tool that our bodies have developed over time to keep us safe and well, and it should never be ignored. It’s what reminds us to not put weight or try to walk with a broken leg, for example. When you’re experiencing pain, you should always see a doctor in the first instance to get a full diagnosis and treatment plan.
But for some, many conditions result in long periods of pain. As time goes on, painkillers become less effective as our body develops a tolerance to the dosage. And as such, we need to keep increasing the amounts to feel the same level of comfort. Just think about how effective it could be if you were able to consciously dial this back and anchor it to an action in your body. A nice, natural way of putting you back in control and helping you to regain your quality of life, where you can learn to manage your illness instead of suffering with it.
So, if you have something you’re looking to gain back control over and anchor it to an action, then why not look at the range of hypnotherapists that can offer this treatment?
To learn more about hypnotherapy, read Melanie’s latest article, Does hypnotherapy really work? Or, to discover the power of self-hypnosis and learn why we should all introduce these skills into our every day, read writer Jessica’s article, Self-hypnosis: A powerful instrument in our self-care toolkit.
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