5 things to reduce anxiety without seeing a hypnotherapist
Anxiety is one of the most common issues people will seek out the help of a hypnotherapist, one of the key reasons for this is that hypnotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, has been proven to be very effective at reducing anxious feelings. It can be the case, however, that you're not quite ready to start therapy - whether this is a financial reason, not wanting to open up yet or you're still deciding about the whole thing.
That's why I'd like to share with you five different things that you can do to help reduce anxiety without having to see a hypnotherapist (or at least, until you're ready).
1. Finish your day with daily positives
This is something that I personally do to keep myself mentally healthy and to finish my day in the most positive way that I can. Before going to sleep I will open the notes app and make a list of all the positive things that have happened on the day. These can be tiny things, such as "getting the kids the school on time", or bigger things like, "I finally plucked up the courage to apply for a job".
Make a list with everything you can think of.
This is more important to do on bad days than on good days. On good days, it is really easy to just reel positive things off, on a bad day, you might feel like there is nothing to be positive about.
It takes some practice and skill to pick the positives out of bad situations, but they are there. For example, if you and your partner have been arguing for a while and they've now ended the relationship, yes that is awful and heartbreaking undoubtedly, however, the positive you might write from this is that you now have clarity on your situation. No, it won't stop the heartbreak but you'll have found a positive. I hope you see where I'm coming from with this, if not feel free to drop me a message.
So, number one, make a list of positives from every single day.
2. Start mindfulness, self-hypnosis or meditation
You'll probably have heard this a million times but the reason behind that is that it actually helps! Quite often my clients will say, "Yeah, I've tried it but my mind just wanders off and I realise I've not been listening - I'm really bad at it...".
Your brain is a literal thinking machine, you cannot turn it off, it is going to think. If you are doing meditation and realise you're thinking about your shopping list, that's OK, just tune back into what the instructions are telling you to do. If your brain wanders again, bring it back again. It isn't a test, you're not going to get a scorecard at the end, it's a bit of peace, quiet and a time for reflection.
YouTube is chock full of meditations to listen to. I'd recommend starting with one of about 10-15 minutes, my top tip is to listen to the first minute before you set yourself up and get comfy. It's really important that the person's voice doesn't wind you up or grate you, and it's also good to check the audio quality is good enough too.
Once you've found a good quality audio, simply follow their instructions and don't judge yourself. Worst case scenario, you sit peacefully for 10-15 minutes, which will never do you any harm. I have a few different audios to listen to on my YouTube Channel and on my podcast if you'd like to check them out.
3. Treat yourself like your best friend
We tend to hold ourselves to a completely different set of standards from everyone else. We'll happily tell a friend they look good when they're overweight, but we'll tell ourselves we can't possibly look good because we're overweight. We'll show compassion and kindness to our anxious friend but tell ourselves that we're stupid for feeling the way we do when we're anxious.
We'll happily accept our friend cancelling plans because they're not up to it, but we'll beat ourselves up when anxious thoughts get the better of us and we feel we have to cancel. This is ridiculously unfair on us and it needs to stop.
So next time you're giving yourself a hard time about anything, stop and ask yourself, "would I be treating my best friend like this, or would I be showing more compassion?"
4. Start doing things outside your comfort zone
When it comes to anxiety, we tend to have a mental list of the things that we're OK doing and the things we're not OK doing.
What tends to happen, in my experience of helping anxious clients, is that the list of things they're comfortable with gets shorter and shorter over time. They'll then reach a point where they realise anxiety has stopped them from living all together and that's when they seek help.
The problem is that the more we let anxiety define what we can do, the more we let it take control. This is why you have to push back against it.
Have a think about the things that you avoid doing and find the things that make you just a little bit uncomfortable - these are the things you need to do more of. Repetition of tasks that make you uncomfortable will make your level of discomfort decrease. As this decreases, other things on your list which seemed impossible can begin to feel less daunting, so you can start doing more of them.
In short, anxiety is a bit of a spiral, it's your decisions and actions which define the direction you're heading on this spiral. Choose up, choose to do things slightly outside your comfort zone.
Tip: Try meditation before doing something outside your comfort zone to make it more palatable.
5. Do a brain dump
If you ever feel overwhelmed by what's going on in life, then it can really help to get all of what you're feeling out of your head. Writing/typing it all down can be a powerful and cathartic way in which to release what's going on.
People can have resistance to doing this because "they're no good at writing" or "they're spelling is bad" or "it's not going to make sense". But, here's the beauty of a brain dump...
- It doesn't ever have to be seen, read or looked at by anyone ever again - including you!
- It is a release from your feelings, worries and concerns - it is the process of getting it out of your system which is the benefit not what is written or how it is written.
- In writing it out you can or may find some answers or solace but if nothing else it just gets it all out of your head for a bit.
I really hope you find one or all of these anxiety tips helpful and that they help to reduce your anxious feelings in some way. Should you find that you would like the help of a hypnotherapist, then do please get in touch about a completely free, online consultation from the comfort of your own sofa.