Can hypnotherapy help with anxiety?
Anxiety is on the increase; more and more people seem to be suffering from this perpetual state of fear. In fact, a whopping 40% of all disability in the UK is reported to be from either anxiety or depression.
So, you might be wondering what causes these feelings of fear and worry that keep appearing? If any physical causes have been ruled out, then it is most likely that our anxiety stems from negative thinking. In today’s world it’s all too easy to imagine a bleak future. Every time we turn the news on or look at a newspaper, we hear about wars, drugs, violence, shortages, lack of jobs, unaffordable housing, threatening environments etc, and we can very easily imagine a life that is difficult and dangerous – we can feel as if we are struggling every day to cope with many of these stressful factors. Even events occurring thousands of miles away can feel relevant to us as we sit in our living rooms tuning into all of the world’s dramas. We worry and work ourselves into a state over things that haven’t happened yet – things that probably never will happen too.
What’s more, we can turn our attention to our past and worry about things that have happened there also. Maybe events that have shaped us, our failures, our let-downs and personal demons that hound us through
We need to stop.
And whilst our over-worked medical practitioners will hand out beta blockers and anti-depressants, these are only masking the symptoms. Beneath the medication, the stress and anxiety still simmers away. We can be medicated to feel zoned-out, spaced-out, tired, confused, muddled and as if the edge of things is a little less sharp. Is that the reality we want to be living in?
The other treatment our medical practitioners can offer us is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). It’s a therapy that has been trialled and found to have some effectiveness, which is why it is available on the NHS. The waiting lists can be long, however, and many of my clients have told me that their results from CBT have been less than they anticipated.
So, what options are you left with?
It’s true that some people just live with their anxiety. They find a few coping mechanisms and accept their limitations. The problem with this is that it can stop them doing many enjoyable things, like going on holiday or socialising with friends.
Others, however, look at alternative therapies and find new and successful ways of changing their thoughts and feelings so that they can learn to be optimistic, happy and positive people once again. This is by far the preferred way of doing things.
Hypnotherapy is one such therapy that can stand out as being highly effective as a treatment for anxiety. It works because anxiety is a subconscious response to our environment. Something makes us fearful and concerned – it doesn’t even have to be a real thing, because our imaginations can activate all the unconscious systems of the body to stand on red alert. Our physical body will be flooded with adrenalin and stress hormones like cortisol, preparing us to fight or flee from the perceived danger. If the danger isn’t a physical threat and we don’t work off those stress hormones, we will be left in a state of highly-charged arousal for a longer period of time. We will feel jittery and on edge, ready for the next challenge or danger that we think will be just around the corner. We won’t be able to relax.
Hypnotherapy works directly with the subconscious mind, where all of these unwanted responses are being manifested. During a hypnosis session the part of the brain that is active during the REM sleep cycle is accessed, so that negative stored emotions and behaviours can be processed. This means we can reduce the amount of stress we are feeling and often start sleeping better too.
We can learn to calm our systems down, to feel more in control and to build up a stronger resilience for the future so that we can take things in our stride. It’s an extra wonderful feeling when we naturally learn how to worry less and enjoy life more.
When choosing hypnotherapy as our preferred treatment for dealing with anxiety, it’s worth bearing in mind that the only reason hypnotherapy is not available on the NHS is not because it isn’t effective, but because it’s difficult for researchers to conduct the relevant research to clinically prove how effective it is. This is due to many hypnotherapists working in a variety of different ways to create tailored and individualised treatment plans for their clients. The world of hypnosis and hypnotherapy is a fascinating one and when we use the power of our minds for the positive instead of the negative, then there’s no telling how great life can become.
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