Some tips for beating anxiety

Anxiety is an apprehension or fear of a situation that lies in the future. It has roots in a person's thoughts and is a response to a perceived danger, not an actual danger. This could be a situation in the future that a person has experienced in the past, the repetition of which causes them to feel anxious.

Anxiety is all about keeping us safe. Maybe something in the past has caused a negative emotional response such as fear, and anxiety is the body's way of getting us to avoid that in the future. Like stress, a certain level of anxiety is completely natural, but sometimes our imagination about what a situation could be like works overtime and anything that is remotely like the threatening trigger situation becomes a source of anxiety. Once anxiety kicks in, the body goes into overdrive with racing thoughts, increased stress hormones as the mind tries to find a way to avoid this anticipated situation. The things that make us anxious are usually not real dangers so there is nothing we can immediately do to avoid the situation, so the mind just keeps going over and over those thoughts, all the while upping our stress levels.

However, once this process is understood you can start to take action. Instead of projecting your mind into the possible future, bring it back to the here and now, noticing what is immediately around you, what you see, hear, feel and smell. Come back to the present. Concentrate on your breathing; breathe slowly and deeply as though through your stomach. Distraction is your friend - the more you focus on the anxiety the worse it becomes, so try to do something different; literally, take your mind off it. Incidentally, this is where those popular adult colouring books come in - a great way of just being in the present! Other things can work just as well - jigsaws, books, going for a walk.

Hypnotherapy can be very effective in treating anxiety, but I've been seeing even faster results with a newer therapy called BWRT, a psychotherapeutic approach that works in the way the brain works, breaking the negative feelings and emotions that are associated with situations so that anxiety is no longer felt. It is a very private therapy - the therapist will only require a minimal amount of information from you and, unlike some other forms of therapy, you will not have to extensively relive unsettling past experiences. Perhaps most importantly for many people, BWRT is a fast therapy, and, depending on the presenting issue, can often be resolved in only a few sessions.

Change can be easier than you think.

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Written by John Taylor

John is a hypnotherapist with clinics in Northallerton and Skipton, North Yorkshire, specialising in stress and anxiety, confidence building, sleep issues, weight-loss and smoking cessation.… Read more

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