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Anxiety Symptoms and Causes; How Hypnotherapy can Help

by Sandie Maylor(more info)

listed in anxiety, originally published in issue 266 - November 2020

 

In the current climate it’s safe to say that we’ve all had an anxious moment, but severe or prolonged Anxiety is affecting ever-increasing numbers in the UK. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, an NHS Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in England.[1] conducted in March this year, revealed that almost half of the UK’s population were between 6 and 10 on a scale of 1-10 for anxiety. This is an increase of 21% from 2019, which means that more than 25 million people are suffering from anxiety in the UK and these were the figures before the world-wide pandemic brought the world to a stand-still.

We now have an unstable economy, political instability and an ever-changing Coronavirus pandemic, so it is no wonder that we’re seeing unprecedented levels of anxiety across the country. Even more alarming, but understandable, is the rise in cases amongst those previously unaffected.

Anxiety is a natural response to threatening or overwhelming situations. It is coined the ‘flight-or-flight response’ and originates from our ancestors who were on guard from predators in the wild. If our brain identifies danger, or a direct threat, it releases certain hormones to prepare us to either flight-or-flight the imminent threat. These hormones – cortisol and adrenaline force us to feel on ‘high-alert’, our hearts beat faster, so that blood is quickly distributed to where it is vitally needed when under attack. It is therefore a useful, key mechanism in protecting us from threats, when the threat is real.

However, today the same response is initiated for more modern-day threats, such as loss of a job, fear of illness, or financial instability, or even from an overwhelming ‘to do’ list and can escalate to irrational fear and a constant feeling of threat, which leads to chronic anxiety. We then end up suppressing these feelings and find ourselves, even in social situations, with our hearts racing and no idea how to control it, or stop it happening.

 

Maylor 266a Anxiety

 

Anxiety manifests itself in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Digestive problems, stomach-ache/pains, lack of appetite
  • Migraines
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia
  • Overthinking
  • Tightening or pain in chest
  • Shaking or sweating episodes
  • Feeling tense, restless or faint
  • A constant sense of disaster, or “the world is against me”
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Teeth grinding
  • Nail biting
  • Self-harming

Anxiety can be caused by a range of factors, such as:

  • Stress from a major event in your life
    A relationship breakdown, job loss, or bereavement;
  • Childhood trauma
    Something that happened to you in your past that is unresolved can cause ongoing anxiety, or anxiety around a certain activity or situation. The traumatic event caused you to initiate the fight-or-flight response and you froze in that position, perhaps as you couldn’t get away from it. You are then triggered into the fight-or-flight response when you are in a situation that reminds you of it;
  • Hormonal changes and imbalances
    Hormones play a huge part in governing our bodies, so any imbalance in hormone levels, for example as we age, or when women go through pregnancy can affect our mood dramatically;
  • Drugs, including alcohol
    Alcohol and drug abuse can spark anxiety;
  • Medical Conditions
    Certain illnesses can cause anxiety, for example heart conditions and lung disorders;
  • Hereditary
    Some individuals are more genetically prone to anxiety, brought on by a combination of environmental exposure and certain personality traits, which are passed on to the next generation.

When you’re in the grip of anxiety, it is hard to think of a way out, which only exacerbates the problem and while the world feels like it’s free-falling at the moment, it is even more important to do all we can to remain calm in order to stabilise ourselves. Easier said than done, but there are tactics. When I treat patients for anxiety I look at the whole picture, as more often than not, the presenting problem (what they state is making them anxious) is being caused by something else.

What is Hypnotherapy and how does it Help with Anxiety

Hypnotherapy is a reliable and safe treatment that is now recognized by many branches of orthodox medicine as an extremely effective therapy. It is a completely natural state of mind and something that we experience daily, for example just before waking and before sleeping. You are not unconscious while in Hypnosis; your ‘focus of attention’ has simply altered and you remain in control at all times. Hypnosis itself does not relieve the symptoms; it is the therapy applied while under Hypnosis that attains the desired results. Hypnosis enables the patient to experience very deep levels of relaxation which helps to reduce levels of stress, uneasiness, angst and apprehension.

As mentioned above, anxiety manifests itself in a variety of ways and therefore when you seek help from a Hypnotherapist you are usually asking for help with the symptom, as it is interfering with your daily life. A patient is often completely unaware that there is a different reason for whatever is causing the problem. It is then the therapist’s job to work out the cause, known as the ‘‘causal event’’, while you are under Hypnosis.

Under Hypnosis the therapist speaks to the subconscious mind (the ‘inner you’), rather than the conscious mind (the part of you that you show to the world), which makes Hypnotherapy a fast method of treatment, requiring less sessions than a conventional ‘talking therapy’.

Why – because the subconscious mind only tells the truth and holds every memory from the day you were born, which enables the therapist to quickly and effectively treat the patient, as they have access to all of the correct information and history of the patient first-hand – what they have lived through and experienced. Hypnosis acts as a vehicle to transport the therapist, with the patient, back to the memory or ‘causal event’ that is creating the problem, in order to treat it accordingly. Having found the ‘‘causal event’’ the therapist can for example, alter the emotion attached to it, so that the memory is retained, but the feelings connected to it have switched, known as ‘reframing’.

Hypnotherapy for anxiety can instil and boost feelings of self-worth and confidence and can eliminate strong feelings of panic and worry. It can also help patients to attain a relaxed state of mind whenever needed, to overcome the situations that cause the patient the most anxiety.

Suggestions given under Hypnosis can be tailored to treat the specific triggers of the patient’s anxiety and the reason for it. Positive suggestions can be anchored with the patient under Hypnosis, so that when the anxiety-causing situation occurs, the patient has a physical coping mechanism to take away with them, to use whenever they need it (often a physical action such as the squeezing of two fingers), which immediately overtakes the anxiety and brings about feelings of calm already subconsciously instilled in the patient under Hypnosis.

How does a Hypnotherapist Treat Anxiety

To begin with we will chat about what is interfering negatively with your daily life. I’ll ask about the situations that are causing you to feel anxious. I will then explain the process of Hypnotherapy to you, so you are fully aware of what the treatment will entail

Following an initial consultation, I will help you to achieve a very deeply relaxed state. We will look at a time in your past when you felt anxious and I will ask how you felt physically in that situation and from that and other details, we should be able to ascertain the main trigger of your anxiety. We may look at several instances to see if there’s a pattern, or whether it is one main ‘causal event’ that has caused it

Once we have pin-pointed the physical sensations in the event or instances, I will put forward positive suggestions (specifically tailored words to calm you in the situation). We will work through the various instances ‘reframing the memory’ and changing the emotion connected to the triggers

This method works so that when you are then in a situation where you may be ‘triggered’ and are  starting to feel panicked, the positive suggestions that I have given you will come to the forefront of your conscious mind, offering you the mechanisms to manage it. I will also have given you certain techniques that will enable you to calm yourself down and feel more relaxed when you feel anxiety rising. Within several sessions you will see yourself react in a totally different way to what used to be very challenging situations.

The power of the mind has always fascinated me, and more than ever at the moment we need to capitalize on its positive power to help us navigate these challenging times.

Reference

1. NHS Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in England. Source: Anxiety UK.

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About Sandie Maylor

Sandie Maylor BA (Hons) GQHP  DHP  DHA Clinical Hypnotherapist and Hypno Analyst, trained at the Kent Institute of Clinical Hypnosis which offers instruction utilising the methods of the highly respected Hypnotherapist Terence Watts, whose publication: Warriors, Settlers, Nomads is used globally as a seminal text in the field of Clinical Hypnotherapy. She has been a qualified therapist for more than ten years.

As a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist & Hypnoanalyst she uses Hypnosis as an effective tool to conduct the necessary analysis and subsequent treatment, that enables individuals to facilitate a more enjoyable daily and future life. Using Psychotherapeutic techniques while under Hypnosis she offers effective, tangible results.

She works to a strict code of ethics, the terms of which stipulate ongoing training, which ensures that she practices the very latest techniques and therefore can offer the very best treatment available in the field of Hypnotherapy. She may be contacted via sandie_maylor@yahoo.co.uk   https://www.sandiemaylor.co.uk

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