Stress is normal; we need a certain amount of stress to function normally, but anxiety is more akin to fear. Anxiety could be described as ‘super-stress’; it is defined as something which affects daily functioning and underpins mental issues such as generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder and panic disorder, where there is a definite emotional link and where learning and memory are also affected.
Anxiety is probably the most frequently-diagnosed mental illness in the Western world with 30% of the population of the UK and USA being diagnosed during their lifetime. Where everyday stress is a fact of life, the human body is not well-designed to deal with excess of it.
It is well worth consulting with your GP if you are experiencing severe anxiety symptoms. There are medical conditions which can contribute to anxiety, such as thyroid problems, hypoglycemia, or asthma. Some drugs and supplements can also cause anxiety e.g. amphetamines, asthma drugs, steroids, decongestants, oral contraceptives and even some antidepressants.
How can hypnotherapy help anxiety disorders?
Under hypnosis, hypnotherapists can help uncover emotional triggers so that you can learn to deal with them appropriately and rationally. By using repeated positive language and visualisation to over-ride negative thoughts, triggers are likely to disappear sooner rather than later.
Hypnotherapy encompasses periods of deep relaxation, when anxious thoughts are allowed to come and go without the need to correct them. You will be taught to self-hypnotise and given relaxation CDs to use when not with your therapist. When not under hypnosis, anxious and negative thoughts should be written down and banned until the relaxation period.
Everyone has an innate optimism which hypnosis can tap into to over-ride the negative. Learning to accept that not everything in life is predictable and often there are no immediate solutions can also help replace reactionary scripts with a calmer, more circumspect outlook which allows you to get on with your life.
What other methods can help with anxiety?
Looking after yourself is very important. Eating well at frequent intervals, sleeping for 7-8 hours a night and exercising aerobically for at least 30 minutes every day will all help to relieve stress and anxiety. Stopping smoking/using nicotine replacement products and reducing alcohol intake is very important as these all lead to more anxiety, not less.