An end to worry and rumination

Why you're telling yourself scary stories and how to stop

Do you worry a lot, sometimes about nothing? Do you dwell on what could go wrong or what did? Do you keep chewing it over with no resolution? Are the stories you’re telling yourself the stuff of nightmares or dreams? Would they make a good bed time story or terrify the listener into staying awake? Are they holding you back from achieving your goals?

Life is full of stories. The ones we tell ourselves about our past, present and future, those we keep to ourselves and those we share with others. Stories can fill us with joy, sadness, excitement or fear, that's why people like books and movies so much. They have the power to empower us or to hold us back.

So why do stories affect us so much? Well throughout time humans have used stories to pass on information. It's really not practical for every human to figure out that lions are dangerous by walking up to one and being eaten. Therefore the story of someone else's experience is enough for us to realise we should keep away from lions. As it's such an ingrained learning method when we're told a story, we search for the meaning in it. When things happen to us our minds link it to the emotions we feel at the time and start to build a story around it so we can learn from it, either avoiding repeating the experience in future if it was negative or seeking it out again if it was pleasurable.

Once our brain has categorised an experience/story as bad it will look out for associated activities, thoughts and places in case it needs to worry about those too. Thus the negative association can grow and you can find what are essentially innate experiences now making you feel uneasy, scared or worried.

So why is it often the negative stories that are prevalent in our lives rather than the positive? Well in the case of movies a happy person with no problems doesn't lead to a very exciting plot. When it comes to real life avoiding danger is more important to our self preservation than being happy. So it's only natural that often these negative stories tend to have more weight in our minds than positive ones.

We may enjoy the scary thrill of a horror movie at the cinema but would we want to carry that feeling around with us all the time? So what's the solution? With movies it’s often the camera angles, editing, music and light effects that tell us whether to be scared or amused. If you Google 'recut trailers' you'll find a number of films reimagined. With some choice editing and a change of soundtrack even Mrs Doubtfire can morph from a family comedy into a psychological thriller. The angle we look at things from and what we hear/tell ourselves about it changes our perception.

Hypnosis can’t blank out memories or rewrite your history however it can help you to change the camera angles and turn off the scary soundtrack. You’ll still know what happened but it won’t have the emotional charge for you that it once did. Once those old stories are resolved you're free to have fun creating your own positive future stories with an uplifting soundtrack of your choice.

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