Winding down the whirl of worry
Do you tend to worry? Have your fears or anxieties been increasing? When is worry a normal reaction and when is it problematic?
Worry is anxious or repetitive thinking. Of course, the current situation presents much to arouse our anxieties and keep them active. We are experiencing an overload of news and information. We feel the need to inform ourselves about the science, the risks, about every aspect that could have an impact on our lives or loved ones.
This feeds our own health anxieties, as we naturally seek to do whatever we can within our control. We reduce risks to protect our children or parents, as well as ourselves.
The worry spiral
Did you know that our minds are drawn to negative news and worry-inducing headlines through a natural bias? This focus can become addictive, leading to a downward spiral of worry. In fact, the process of staying up to date with news and informed of all the facts can itself become extremely addictive. It makes sense to reduce the impact where we can, dialling back the news-checking to once or twice a day.
Something you might notice amid this focus on negativity is the appearance of negative automatic thoughts. These are repetitive thoughts that just seem to pop into your mind. We all have them to some extent. But as you start to notice them you may become aware that your thought patterns are becoming more negative. Particularly if you start to ponder or to ruminate on these thoughts making them the focus of your attention.
How can hypnotherapy help you to let go of your worries?
Excessive worry is a habit. Some people think they must do it as a sort of insurance policy so nothing bad happens to them. It can act as a kind of coping strategy to protect yourself from disappointment. But the habit of worry is not helpful.
Hypnotherapy can help you to change or let go of a habit. Anxiety or worry can easily become habitual. This is why you may have seen that after you become anxious about one situation, you find yourself becoming anxious about something else. It’s as if the anxiety transfers from one situation to another. This is because the mind has become used to this way of thinking, and it has a sort of attraction that is quite addictive.
In neuroscience terms, the anxious thinking has created neural pathways in the brain that are followed and strengthened whenever you indulge in that worry habit. Hypnotherapy can help you to break the habit and replace it with new ways of thinking, which themselves can become habitual in a positive way.
With the guidance of a hypnotherapist, you can reverse the downward spiral of anxious thought and direct your mind to a pattern of thoughts that are positive and supportive.
You can also learn self-hypnosis. This will give you an ongoing means of coping and can help to reinforce the changes made in a hypnotherapy session, by creating positive thoughts and pictures in your mind.
Meditation and mindfulness practice are further ways to help to train your mind into a more positive stream of thought. They can help you to live more comfortably with uncomfortable thoughts.
Through mindfulness practice, we can learn to notice negative thoughts without being drawn in by them. For example, we might view them as clouds crossing the sky. We notice that, like clouds across the sky, the thoughts are just passing through our minds, and then pass away.
There are other practical ways to deal with negative automatic thoughts and to start to turn your thoughts in a more positive direction. A very effective way of dealing with such thoughts is to counter every negative thought with a positive thought. By swapping your thoughts in this way you gradually train your brain to become more positive.
How to help yourself reduce worry
Despite all the challenges of our current situation, we can still take the view that life will improve, and the world will be a better place in the future. While we focus on positive thoughts and create a positive vision for the future, we fully accept our current reality. Part of that acceptance is about feeling grateful for what we have in our lives right now.
People who practice gratitude, for example by writing a daily gratitude journal, expand their universe of positive thoughts. It helps us to focus on the positive in the present and the future.
Healthy habits can help to get fit to deal with the pressures of life. You could try to make time in your day for a daily relaxation habit such as ten minutes of morning meditation or self-hypnosis. This can be the first step towards building daily habits like physical exercise, a healthy diet and adequate sleep, to build the best possible foundation for your health.
It is sensible to be cautious and aware of possible danger. Worry becomes problematic when it’s excessive or directed to those things over which we have no control. Sometimes it can be helpful to give yourself a ‘worry time’ – a scheduled time of the day, say half an hour, during which you will express your worries, in thoughts, or speaking or writing in a journal. The rest of the time you can allow yourself to forget them.
We may feel that we have no control over our lives, that we are facing an unknown future. Ask yourself ‘Is there anything I can do to affect the outcome?’ You might consider if there is anything you personally can do or whether it’s a case of accepting that uncertainty.
Hypnotherapy can help to change your perspective, to help you to feel positive about such acceptance of uncertainty. Through using these techniques you can quickly start to reverse the trend of anxious thinking and replace it with a calm positivity that works in your best interests.
If you would like to find out more, please get in touch. I use hypnotherapy and BWRT to treat anxiety issues.
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