Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common reasons for coming to hypnotherapy, especially after the stresses of the last couple of years. If you have been feeling anxious for some time and it’s been having a significant impact on your day-to-day life, it can seem as though you’ll never feel any other way. But hypnotherapy can be one of the best ways to overcome anxiety, as you’ll see in this blog, and it’s all down to how the brain works.
What is anxiety?
We all experience feelings of worry and unease from time to time and that’s perfectly normal. It’s part of the body’s “fight or flight” response when we’re faced with a threat or danger.
In some doses, this anxiety can be motivating and give us the focus and impetus to avoid danger or find solutions to problems.
But when it’s happening most or all of the time and affecting your day-to-day life, it can cross the line into an anxiety disorder. For most people with chronic anxiety, the “threats” aren’t proportionate to the anxiety that’s being felt.
Anxiety and stress often go hand in hand but they’re not the same thing. Anxiety is a reaction to stress.
Different types of anxiety
Anxiety can take several forms, including:
Generalised anxiety – This involves worrying excessively about lots of different things and can mean that you feel anxious most or all of the time. You may also feel “on edge” and “hypersensitive” to threats.
Panic disorder – With panic disorder, you may experience very frequent panic attacks that come out of the blue and don’t seem to have an obvious trigger. Because panic attacks can be so random, they can create a lot of fear about when the next one will occur.
Social anxiety – Social anxiety is characterised by an intense dread and phobia of social situations. You may try to avoid meeting new people, doing any form of public speaking or eating/drinking in public.
Health anxiety – Health anxiety is characterised by worries about your health, both now and in the future. You may find yourself constantly checking your body for possible signs of illness, Googling your symptoms, seeking assurances from medical professionals about symptoms, worrying that test results aren’t correct and mistaking the physical symptoms of anxiety for serious health problems.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – OCD is characterised by obsessions (intrusive and unwanted thoughts and images) and compulsions (rituals that must be carried out to reduce anxiety such as washing your hands repeatedly or checking that doors and windows are locked). These compulsions must be acted on to ensure that something awful doesn’t happen.
Phobias – A phobia is a severe and often irrational terror that has a specific trigger, such as a certain situation, object, place or animal. This is much more than fear – if you have a phobia, you will often do pretty much anything to avoid exposure to the trigger.
Symptoms of anxiety
The symptoms of anxiety can take many different forms.
You may notice physical symptoms such as:
- Racing heartbeat (sometimes accompanied by heart palpitations)
- Hyperventilation (breathing shallow and fast)
- Panic attacks
- Dry mouth
- Digestive issues
- Dizziness and feeling light-headed
- Frequent urination
- Pins and needles in your hands and/or feet
Or you may experience emotional symptoms such as:
- Racing thoughts, overthinking and being unable to silence your busy brain
- A heightened sense of awareness
- Finding it difficult to focus
- Feeling panicky and having a sense of “impending doom”
- Constantly imagining worst-case scenarios
- Feeling disconnected from your body and/or the world around you
- Feeling irritable
- Sleep issues, including insomnia
- Wanting to withdraw from your relationships and/or avoiding situations
The symptoms of anxiety can be intense and frightening, especially if you’re experiencing them for the first time.
The impact of anxiety on the brain
Anxiety can quite literally change the way that your brain responds.
Anxiety signals to your brain that it’s time to enter “fight or flight” mode. This triggers the release of an influx of stress hormones, notably adrenaline and cortisol. Once a “threat” is over, the parasympathetic nervous system will usually take over and restore calm. But this can be overridden by chronic anxiety, meaning that stress hormones are released continuously and “fight or flight” becomes the norm.
Anxiety can make certain areas of the brain hypersensitive. Chronic anxiety can change the amygdala, the part of the brain that helps regulate moods and emotions. The amygdala is always on the lookout for threats so that it can activate the “fight or flight” response and this can become even more sensitive when you’re anxious most or all of the time. It can begin to react to anything that seems vaguely threatening (even if it’s not at all dangerous) and put your body in a state of hyperawareness.
Anxiety can increase the potential for irrational behaviour. When the amygdala signals a threat, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) will normally zoom into action to promote a rational response to the danger. But since anxiety can affect the connection between these areas of the brain, this can be compromised and the rational side of your brain doesn’t take over.
How hypnotherapy can help with anxiety
While anxiety has a huge impact on how the brain functions, this can be reversed.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety can be incredibly effective. One of the biggest reasons for this is the ability to relax the mind and body. If you have anxiety, it’s likely that you rarely or never feel relaxed and being able to do so gives your brain an all-important break from feeling anxious and on edge.
When you’re in a state of focused attention, your brain is much more receptive to suggestions and much more likely to act on them.
By accessing the subconscious mind and taking advantage of this, you can reframe your thoughts and reframe your responses so that you can react differently in the future. Visualisation can be a powerful technique for imagining a future in which you aren’t controlled by your anxiety. Through hypnotherapy, we can give you tools that can help you to manage anxiety and change the way your brain responds to stress and threats.
For more information on how we can use hypnotherapy to manage your anxiety and reduce the impact on your life, you can contact me on 0786 2255131 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you’re ready to book your initial consultation, you can do so by visiting https://hypnotherapyloungeleeds.com/book-now/