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Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
By Jennie Kitching, Hypnowoman, Senior Adv. Hypnotherapist & Trainer
Can hypnotherapy help me with anxiety?
Anxiety begins with the mind, and hypnosis can certainly help all things that involve the mind. What we call anxiety is our awareness of a heightened state within the body and mind that preoccupies us entirely, though sporadically, causing imbalances and disturbances in our usual calm countenance. It can often come without warning and the conscious mind may berate us for it as we argue the merit of it.
The cause of the anxiety may be known or unknown consciously, though often in our search for meaning, we may not truly know what is at the heart of this state. Often when the apparent cause is fixed, it manifests in something else to focus upon and the anxious state continues, often about things we have no control over and that is the turbulence to our sleep, our good mood, our sense of balance and to our health and wellbeing, as continuous stress depletes our immune system.
The symptoms of anxiety
Pounding heartbeat, involuntary trembling, perspiring unduly, shortness of breath and snapping at loved ones, are just a handful of signs that anxiety may be beginning to rule our life. Excusing yourself from social interactions and seeking safety at all costs, though not totally really feeling safe, are other indications. If you are having unexpected bouts of anxiety which increasingly affect your balanced outlook on life, creating avoidance of situations and causing you to maybe turn to solutions to damper the intensity, such as self medicating behaviours or radical divergences, then there is a part of your mind attempting to bring issues into your awareness to have them dealt with once and for all.
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How does hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy can address the root cause of your anxiety, even if you are not consciously aware of why it began or why it continues to happen. If you do know the cause of your anxiety but you are too scared to share it, you do not need to tell the hypnotherapist what you are anxious about - the hypnotherapist can guide you through the process without knowing your specific issue, or alternatively, can guide you through the interventions needed to dampen your response to the subject, allowing you to talk about it comfortably and freely without agitation.
Furthermore, if you have grown angry at yourself for how your mind has been making you feel, hypnotherapy can restore peace and understanding from within, positively affecting the way you talk to yourself, view yourself and treat yourself, which is a huge step in regaining trust in your capabilities and rejuvenating a lasting sense of safety.
Anxiety is there to protect you from something which consciously you may not feel is a big issue, though to part of your mind, often beyond conscious understanding, it is a perceived danger. In a hypnotherapy session, I will communicate with that part of the mind which is creating the dilemma and negotiate more appropriate means of protection, to keep you feeling safe and welcoming back a little excitement into your life from time to time.
Quick Tips for You
1. Recognise your physical symptoms of anxiety.
When you start feeling anxious, take note of how you feel anxious. Perhaps you begin to shake, or feel nauseous, or notice your heart rate increase. It's different for everyone, so simply recognise what anxiety manifests as for you.
2. Write down what triggers your anxiety, and how long it lasts.
After experiencing physical symptoms, keep track of what happened beforehand to set these feelings off. After the feelings have subsided, come back and make a note of how long you experienced these symptoms for.
It is difficult to rationalise a situation when we are in heightened states of anxiety. By recording our feelings like this, we can recognise patterns in what sets our anxiety off, and it can also offer comfort to ourselves that no bout of anxiety will last forever.
3. Metaphorically visualise your physical feelings.
This is a quick and simple exercise to get your anxiety ‘heard’ and addressed, rather than ignoring or trying to deal with it in your head. Create a metaphorical 'image' of your symptoms in your mind, by asking yourself questions like these:
are these feelings heavy or light?
are these feelings hard or soft?
are these feelings moving or still?
are these feelings hot or cold?
are these feelings sharp or blunt?
what colour would these feelings be if they had a colour?
what shape are these feelings?
4. Move the visualisation outside of the body.
Now that you've got, for example, a hot spiky ball of butterflies rolling about inside your abdomen, place your hand over that area and imagine pulling that uncomfortable shape up and out of your body.
5. Change your visualisation into the opposite.
For example, if the feeling was heavy, make it light. If the feeling was moving, make it still, if it was sharp make it blunt, if it was red, make it blue – you get the idea. When it feels comfortable, take a deep breath and breathe it back into your body, placing or pushing your hands onto the area, and replace those old uncomfortable feelings with this new calming one.
When you're feeling bad, please keep reminding yourself that this moment too shall pass, and that you are not weak or flawed for having a mind that simply wants to protect you. Often the most imaginative people are those that ruminate on circumstances that have either passed, or have not yet come to be.
They say the point of power is in the present moment, so being present is the key, followed with the awareness exercises given above. And of course, though it can seem daunting, hypnotherapy is always here to give you a helping hand. You can send us a message at any time, and we'll overcome this together. Just let us know when you're ready.