For many people suffering with an anxiety disorder, not being able to understand where their condition came from can make it feel all the worse. For some, anxiety has been a part of their life for so long that they can’t remember a time when they didn’t have it. For others, it seems to come from nowhere, hitting them suddenly and then hanging around to keep tormenting them daily. For all those who seek my help, one thing is the same: anxiety is affecting them in such a way that it is limiting their life.
What is anxiety?
Most of us will be familiar with anxiety on some level. It is a feeling of nervousness, unease or worry typically about some uncertain future outcome. It could be the worry you feel as you rush to catch a train, or when an electricity bill arrives and you’re not sure you have the money to pay it. Perhaps you have an upcoming public speaking event or are going on a first date. For each of us, different experiences will cause us different levels of anxiety.
For those with an anxiety disorder, those feelings become an everyday part of their lives, causing disruption and distress.
Where does anxiety come from?
Not being able to understand why they feel the way they do can be a great concern to the clients who come to me for anxiety hypnosis. Explaining a little bit about what’s going on can be reassuring. In basic terms, anxiety disorders are the symptom of a consistently faulty message in the brain about the safety of the person. It’s like an alarm bell set too high, picking up signals from the environment or from a person’s thinking that cause a reaction designed to prepare or to protect them from danger by fighting, or by fleeing.
You see, we still have the brains that evolved over hundreds of thousands of years living in tribes in the wilderness, where most things that caused us to worry were genuinely life-threatening (oh, hello Mr Sabre Toothed Tiger…). That’s not so true in modern society, however. It’s highly unlikely that giving a best man’s speech, or taking your driving test is going to result in death – but that’s what the brain is getting itself worked up about. So anxiety comes about when the brain gets the incorrect message that we’re somehow under consistent threat, and it’s urging us to stay small, remain hidden, retreat. Which is exactly what so many people with extreme anxiety do as they become more and more afraid to leave the house.
How can cognitive hypnotherapy for anxiety help?
Well, you weren’t born with anxiety so the chances are you learned it along the way somewhere. Cognitive hypnotherapy has an excellent track record of changing that faulty message and teaching a new message that you are safe, you are OK. Cognitive hypnotherapists also have techniques that we can use to resolve traumatic life events that might be at the root of your anxiety, stripping them of their emotional content and transforming them into benign memories. Cognitive hypnotherapy can help to reduce or resolve anxiety completely, and then guide you to find the resources you need within you to get your life back on track.
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