Do you suffer from anxiety? Perhaps you’re struggling to control anxious thoughts and feelings?
Hypnotherapy can be a very useful tool when it comes to managing anxiety. In this article, we look at the positive effects of hypnosis when used to help people deal with the negative thoughts and feelings associated with anxiety.
How Anxiety affects us
Anxiety is a normal human response to situations where we feel under threat.
At the first sign of danger, our bodies produce cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare us for a ‘fight or flight’ response. Our breathing rate and heartbeat increases, as we prepare to either face down the problem or run away at top speed.
Unfortunately, modern-day living has caused many people’s panic response to become completely out of kilter. Thousands of people experience almost constant feelings of anxiety throughout the day and night, and this has led to widespread health and mental problems.
Anxiety can make us feel stressed, panicky and fearful, often without any specific cause. Where there is an underlying issue, anxiety can often manifest itself and completely take over our lives.
If you suffer from anxiety, you may start feeling light-headed, which is then followed by a rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing and an impending sense of doom; all of which can have a highly damaging and negative impact on our daily lives.
Every year, thousands of people contact their doctor or ring for an ambulance, thinking they are suffering from a heart attack, when they are actually experiencing a ‘panic attack’.
Living with anxiety is tiring, since that ‘always alert’ feeling makes it difficult to relax and switch off. When we live in a state of heightened tension, everything takes on more significance, leading to further problems with work and relationships, as our physical and mental health takes a downturn.
Worrying about the anxiety itself leads to even greater feelings of panic, creating a devastating spiral that can quickly leave the sufferer feeling out of control.
Hypnosis for Anxiety
If you’re suffering from anxiety, hypnosis might not be your first consideration, as you may worry about being able to relax and ‘switch off’. However, hypnosis is actually a very powerful tool for helping to control those panicky feelings and can restore a sense of calm and wellbeing.
Hypnosis has some very profound physical and mental benefits.
First, your therapist will help you reach a deeply relaxed state of hypnosis whereby you will be more susceptible to positive suggestions. You will be in full control at all times; you cannot be made to say or do anything that you don’t want to when in a hypnotic state.
In fact, being hypnotised doesn’t lessen your ability to control your own body and mind at all. At any point during your session, you will find that you are able to move, talk or even leave the room, without any difficulty, if you choose to do so.
The hypnotic state merely allows you to quieten your thoughts and enables you to give complete focus to a single idea, allowing you to make positive suggestions with the aim of correcting any unwanted thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Can hypnosis work for anxiety?
If you’ve been experiencing negative thoughts and anxious feelings for some time, you will be looking for relief.
Anxiety uses up a great deal of energy, but it also leads our thoughts down some very unwanted paths, which in turn can stir up even more anxious feelings.
Many sufferers actively avoid places and social situations because they fear these will trigger feelings of anxiety.
For example, if you’ve had a panic attack on public transport, this may have left you with feelings of dread. So, you may find that you avoid all forms of public transport afterwards, which creates ongoing problems when you need to travel to work or visit friends and family.
Before you know it, you may find that you’re reluctant to leave your home. This can affect your work as well as your relationships with others. You might find that you actively avoid certain situations because of your fear of experiencing anxious feelings, but this is simply no way to live your life.
People suffering from anxiety tend to struggle to relax, so it may seem counter-intuitive to suggest hypnotherapy as a form of treatment, since this relies so heavily on a relaxed response.
However, a person subject to anxious thoughts actually has plenty of experience of creating scenarios within their own mind, making them the perfect subject for a hypnotic state.
Your therapist will begin by taking a detailed history of your symptoms and will establish whether there are any medical or emotional reasons why hypnosis might not be suitable for you.
Some mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and psychosis may not be suitable for hypnosis, but for most people the process is completely safe and harmless.
You will then be invited to sit or lie comfortably, as the therapist guides you into a deep meditative state.
When we enter a hypnotic state, our brains begin to produce theta waves, which is similar to the brain waves produced while we are sleeping. However, hypnosis allows us to remain fully conscious, albeit in a state of deep and restful relaxation.
This allows the conscious mind to take on board positive suggestions that encourage the relaxed state, minimising the effects of stress.
Does hypnotherapy work for anxiety?
Surprisingly, a person suffering from anxiety is almost certainly a seasoned practitioner of self-hypnosis!
If you’re prone to anxious thoughts and feelings of stress, then you’ll be used to telling yourself that you’re anxious, that you’re scared, that you can’t cope, and that you need to avoid triggering certain situations.
To some degree, you will have created a self-fulfilling prophecy about yourself, which you may be reinforcing on a daily basis.
The fact that you’ve been able to psyche yourself into a state of anxiety may not be welcome, but at least proves the power of your own mind. And it makes it much more likely that a highly-skilled, experienced hypnotherapist can help you ‘overwrite’ those negative affirmations, leading to positive outcomes.
Seeking help for anxiety
For the best results, you need to choose a therapist that you feel comfortable with. It’s also important to select a therapist who is qualified and accredited with a professional body.
Depending on the root cause of your anxiety, your therapist may suggest a specific number of sessions. When it comes to anxiety, it may take extra sessions to unlock the underlying causes.
You may find it helpful to practice some self-hypnosis techniques too, which will help to establish new patterns of thinking – see below…
- Sit or lie comfortably and focus your attention on your breathing.
- Your thoughts may wander, which is normal okay – try to concentrate on bringing your focus back to your breathing again.
- Aim to spend a few minutes every day quietening your mind and focusing on your breath, and this will soon become second nature.
- Once you become more practised, you’ll find that you can apply your affirmations to keep your anxiety at bay by yourself, so that you have a readily available, personal toolkit to help you deal with anxieties on your own.
Anxiety can take over your life. Managing anxiety is challenging, but hypnotherapy can help to ease the symptoms, allowing you to take an active part in everyday life free from fear.
You’ll learn effective ways to control negative thoughts and feelings, so you can move forward and enjoy a more fulfilling life.
If you are struggling to control your anxiety, then hypnotherapy will help you manage any negative thoughts and feelings. Search our directory to find trained, qualified therapists in your local area, so you can start living your life without fear.