How the imagination can help conquer our fears
The human imagination is an amazingly powerful tool which can work for or against us, depending on how we choose to use it.
To demonstrate how our imagination can affect both our body and our mind, allow yourself to think about a lovely, yellow lemon. In your mind, cut it into segments; you can smell the tartness, you can see the juice running as you cut. Now imagine lifting a segment to your mouth and sucking on it. You’re probably experiencing a tingle in the saliva glands at the back of your mouth - in other words, a physiological reaction to something you’ve only thought about.
This mechanism applies to many different situations and can cause us to create and exacerbate stress, anxiety, fears, phobias and lack of confidence. For example, we have a flight to take, a talk to give, a social occasion to go to. We remember in our imaginations how awful it was the last time this happened, we imagine how awful it will be when we next do it. We go over in our mind countless times how panicky we’ll become, how nervous or sick we’ll feel. Every time we imagine our negative reactions, this contributes to the building of a neural pathway, or connection in our brain. The more we repeat our worried thoughts, the stronger this connection becomes until we become convinced of the inevitability of the reaction, often leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The good news is that we can turn this power to our advantage and start using our imaginations to help rather than hinder us. Solution-focused hypnotherapy helps us to imagine how we want things to happen; our preferred future, how we want to feel and react when we take that flight, give that talk or go to that party. When we use our imagination vividly to project our desired thoughts, emotions and physical reactions, we build a new connection in our brain. The more we repeat these thoughts, rehearsing the positive outcome in our mind, the stronger this positive connection grows and the more likely it will be to turn out as we want it. The talking part of hypnotherapy helps to set new patterns, whilst the hypnosis part induces a state of focused concentration aiding consolidation.
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About Michele Lazarus
Michele Lazarus is a solution focused, clinical hypnotherapist working in Gloucestershire with practices in Stroud and Cirencester. She is also a trained counsellor and has worked with people for over 30 years. Michele is passionate about helping people to get the very best out of their lives.