Anxiety in today’s world comes up in many areas of life and can feel very overwhelming and often times debilitating. Because people generally are not taught how to manage anxiety naturally, the fastest way most people cope is turning to drugs, intoxicants and drinking as a coping mechanism to reduce symptoms. Anxiety is sometimes looked upon almost as an illness, something that one has to cope with and live with, like “I have anxiety” as though you have caught the flu.
The truth is, anxiety is something that develops slowly and when it becomes part of your life, it literally becomes something that you automatically respond to emotionally, here are some examples:
- A feeling of impending doom
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tension
- Nervous stomach
How do you “do” Anxiety
Anxiety isn’t something that ‘just happens’, the above are all connected with an emotional response, which in turn slowly becomes a habit, like “something you do”. If you think about it the above are physical ways, the body responds. You feel doom or worry and the body responds when this becomes a habit you are “doing it” automatically, responding to a feeling automatically. The first step is starting to recognize that its something you can monitor, with awareness yes awareness! So how do you “do” that? A hint is to begin noticing what are you doing when anxiety starts to take over? The more mindful you become and seriously want to nail what brings “it” on, you will start noticing how your thoughts will cause the “knee jerk” reaction when your anxiety (emotion) starts to take over?
How we “Think” about Anxiety
This is where hypnosis works because thinking sets off a feeling. Here’s an example: YOU are running late for work and looking at the clock, how are you feeling, what is going through your mind at that moment? If you are in the habit of running late for work, then you have set up a pattern which on its own is quite difficult to change, because you have literally “set up” a pattern of anxiety or a response mechanism.
However, when you decide to address this with hypnosis to treat your anxiety, it could have effects similar to those of meditation. The hypnotic induction would help put you into a relaxed state, just like meditation. You can then use this state to address anxieties and phobias. Hypnotherapy should be used as a complementary treatment to cognitive behavioural therapy in cases where anxiety is more severe or traumatic.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you have a fear of flying, you can visualize yourself going back to the first time you were scared of flying where you imagine a past situation and do a replay of how you would have liked it to have been then. You may need to do this over several days, then project yourself into the future, replaying it but feeling calm and peaceful while on the plane. In this dreamlike state, the mind becomes more open to suggestion. This allows either you or a therapist to suggest to you how easy and confident you will be the next time you sit on a plane. The relaxed state makes it easier with avoiding escalating your anxiety (symptoms) to the usual critical levels you have been used to’ replaying to yourself.
Hypnosis with a Therapist
If a hypnotist uncovers trauma while doing hypnotherapy, they need to know how to treat trauma, so its worth having a qualified trained hypnotherapist to diagnose and treat such conditions, which is a key component in the success of hypnotherapy.
Trials have been shown that with the average participant receiving hypnosis, anxiety reduced more than about 79% of control participants. At the longer follow-up, trials demonstrated the average participant treated with hypnosis improved more than about 84% of control participants. Hypnosis was more effective in reducing anxiety when combined with other psychological interventions when multiple issues needed treatment.
Hypnosis for Pain
The patient group receiving hypnosis therapy showed a statistically significant decrease in pain and anxiety and a significantly lower risk of increasing pharmacological pain treatment in a long term follow-up after 1 and 2 years compared to the control group. Clinical hypnosis has been shown to be an effective therapy for pain and anxiety control in cancer as well as in severe chronic diseases for patients receiving palliative care.
The world for someone with anxiety isn’t easy. You’ve probably tried to deal with it in many ways. I have a feeling you have had a long journey to get here, where you probably weren’t taken seriously in some cases.
I take every one of your feelings seriously. And I believe you’ve got what it takes to escape the grip of anxiety for good. All you need is just a helping hand to get there…