“Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.”
Anxiety is the mental process of worrying, ruminating and catastrophizing future events. In my practice I find many people deaing with anxiety daily, more and more so as we live in a societies in which we work more, sleep less and have little time for social activities and relationships. Overcoming anxiety is often a double edged sword, as the thinking mind, attempts to resolve anxiety with further thinking. This only results in the cycle being repeated, since the roots of the anxious thinking pattern are subconscious and irrational. This pattern is usually learned and adopted in a child’s formative years as a way of coping with a high stress environment in which the child had to face unpredictable or even painful events. This then becomes a subconscious pattern in relating to all possible events that could trigger stressful outcomes, as a way of protecting the individual from pain. This defense mechanism is automated and functions from the subconscious mind. Since anxiety is largely subconscious it is often difficult to overcome through talk therapy, since this only results in further thinking. A very effective way of working with anxiety, as seen in several clinical studies is therapeutic hypnosis. Hypnotherapy allows for direct access to subconscious material and irrational thinking patterns.
To Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Follow 3 Major Steps:
- Anxiety is a neck up, thinking problem. Meaning being disembodied, feeling isolated from the body, the breath and the present environment. To stop the cycle the first step is to get out of the head and into the body. This can be done by a simple mindfulness task of breath awareness. Just begin to notice the inhalation and exhalation, the rise and fall of the breath. Then begin deeper diagrammatic breathing, this will calm the entire nervous system. Finally take note of the room you are in, your surroundings. Becoming embodied, creates present moment awareness. This can also be achieved through a progressive relaxation in hypnosis. Closing the eyes, deep focused breathing, attention to each major body part from the toes to the tip of the head, while suggesting to self, with each breath letting go and becoming more and more relaxed.
- Once the body is calmed, the nervous system relaxes and the brain stops producing stress chemicals and fight or flight responses. At this time, the state of hypnosis can be deepened through further relaxation techniques. In this state anxiety can be worked with through two types of hypnosis. Analytical or suggestive. Through analytical the deeper fears and original function of the anxiety can be explored, understood and a new healthier response can be learned. Through symptomatic therapy we can bring up the feelings of anxiety and desensitize the person to this reaction, by teaching a healthier reaction or ‘anchor’, suggesting this as the new way of thinking and feeling. Once a new subconscious pattern is learned in hypnosis this will begin to be the new way the person will respond to situations that were previously anxiety provoking.
- Lastly a successful hypnotherapy program works through repetition and in conjunction with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A client should for maximum benefit, listen daily to a hypnotherapy recording and see the the hypnotherapist once weekly to identify irrational ways of thinking and recondition the brain to think in healthy, empowered ways.
By following this process, the individual is empowered to completely overcome anxiety by identifying learned subconscious patterns. These patterns are released and new patterns are learned, training the brain to react in new positive ways.