Hypnotherapy, when used for anxiety and stress, can be very effective for reducing those worries about the future. Anxiety is really a fear of the future, though as if it’s happening right now. Things, of course, might be okay in the present, but occasionally our minds can runaway, thinking about things that haven’t even happened yet.
Let me tell you about a client that came to see me in London. To the casual observer, she was doing well. Life in general was going well. She had a good relationship and had young children. However she was constantly worrying about things about her business and about in the future. She had a high level of anxiety.
Using hypnotherapy, we looked at all of the things that were on her mind. Sometimes it was just over thinking. Often she would find that she would fantasise about things that could happen even though they were really unlikely. These might be some bad events that might happen to loved ones or just general concerns about which she would worry about happening in the future. Those ranged from financial matters to excessive worries about health or other things to do with her family.
During hypnotherapy sessions, we talked through her fears and we really got to the root causes. Sometimes for many people, the causes are back in childhood. We might have grown up with parents that communicated to us that we had to always be on guard or worry. Sometimes parents can expect us to be high achievers. These expectations continue on into adult life. As adults, with this ‘programming’ running, we may then have high expectations of ourselves or worry excessively about being ‘good enough’. Often this can be perfectionism, or expecting excellence all the time. This can get very tiring. It can also show up as workaholic behaviours, or being very concerned about our boss or those around us being happy with our performance. All this can be the result of ingrained expectations rooted in childhood. But like a computer programme, it is possible to take these thoughts and work to refresh or even change that programming. I help clients, in London, do this, using hypnotherapy and other interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
The client who I mentioned earlier saw some wonderful results from her hypnotherapy sessions. I helped her reduce her levels of over worrying and over thinking. We’re all human, so of course we worry. It’s perfectly normal to have fears about the future. It’s when those fears or worries seem a bit exaggerated or when those fears or worries get in the way of doing well in everyday life that you may need to take action.
In London, I see clients on a regular basis who have fears and worries that they want to work on. However it is sometimes hard to differentiate between anxiety and stress.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety and stress and fears about the future
Anxiety is really, as mentioned, a fear of the future. Whereas stress can be more about events very much happening in the present. For example, right now you might be stressed because you’re late for work. This is a different experience from having a strong underlying anxiety about events that may or may not happen in the future. Of course, there can be an overlap and there can be a similarity.
Often with stress, it’s about lowering the overall nervous system alert levels and doing better with prioritizing your well being. Do you get any exercise? Do you have time in your week to relax? But again, of course, it can also come down to those inner thoughts and programming that we have. And again this programming can, as mentioned, be from childhood. What sort of ‘programming’ do you still have running from childhood? Is it causing any conflict or stress for you? What would you prefer to think and feel?
Hypnotherapy for anxiety and stress explained
During hypnotherapy sessions for anxiety and stress, I really work hard to help you look at those thoughts and change them around. After hypnotherapy sessions people often feel not just calmer but a greater sense and awareness of themselves. It’s as if the pressure has been taken off.
Stress, unfortunately, is a fact of life. But stress, when you think about it, is also a thought. If you think about it, there are many events that happen to us in our lives. It is a choice that we make as to whether we get stressed about them or not.
Sometimes it’s the language we use. Have you noticed that at times you might say, “oh, work really stressed me out today”. But is it true that work stressed you out? Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that, “work felt stressful” or rather you “allowed work to cause you stress”. We each have a choice about how we choose to feel about a situation or event.
Hypnotherapy will help lower your anxiety and stress levels
I really enjoy seeing clients lower their stress levels. What I really enjoy is seeing clients, after a couple of sessions, realising that they have a power of choice and they can make a decision as to what they allow to cause them stress or anxiety. Of course there are things that will always cause anxiety and that’s normal. But we can make a choice.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety and stress tips to cope with anxiety
Here are some expert tips about how to incorporate healthy ways to de-stress and relax more on a daily basis. As well as providing therapy in the form of solution focused hypnotherapy, I often discuss with clients at my London clinic how they can feel calmer and more relaxed. It’s so important to discuss other ways you can help lower stress levels.
Mindfulness is such a simple and wonderful tool. Here is a short video from Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the research-backed stress-reduction program Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). He explains some of the theory behind Mindfulness. I often teach people Mindfulness, which is a great way to notice our thoughts, beliefs and reduce anxiety and stress.
I often talk about how valuable Mindfulness and meditation can be. In fact let me give you now some brief instructions if you would like to try for yourself some Mindfulness to lower stress and anxiety.
The following meditation focuses on noticing breathing in and breathing out. That’s not because there is something unique about it, but because the physical sensation of breathing in and out is always there. So, you can use breath as a type of anchor, helping you stay more with what is happening in the present moment. So, it is totally normal to find that you lose focus and daydream and get caught up in thoughts, emotions, and sounds etc. It’s really all about noticing that and always bringing your attention back again to the your breath. Even if you only come back only once, that’s totally fine. Don’t beat yourself up since minds wander off, that’s what they do!
- Sit comfortably. Find somewhere to sit where you can have a stable, relaxed and comfortable seat.
- Notice what your legs and arms are doing. If you are sitting on a cushion, perhaps cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, rest the bottoms of your feet on the floor. There isn’t a set pose, but the aim is to sit comfortably but not so you will fall asleep.
- Straighten your upper body—Sit with good posture but don’t stiffen up. So you’re sitting ‘at attention’ but not in a forced or uncomfortable way.
- Rest the palms of your hands on your legs or wherever it feels most natural.
- Soften your eyes and allow your shoulders to relax. Drop your chin just a bit and allow your gaze to fall gently downward. You don’t have to close your eyes. You can just allow what appears before your eyes be noticed but without the need to focus on it.
- Notice your breath. Bring your attention now to the physical experience of breathing in and out. This might be moving your attention to notice and be present with the rising and falling of your belly, or chest, or the air moving through your nose or mouth,
- Notice when your mind wanders off. It’s simply a fact that your mind will leave the breath and wander off. Don’t be dismayed, it’s totally normal. Don’t block or eliminate thoughts. Just simply, when you notice your mind wandering off, with kindness, gently return your attention to the breath again.
- Be kind to your wandering mind. Even experienced meditators find that their minds wander off constantly. Rather than criticising yourself for this or berating yourself, simply observe that wandering off and with kindness and love bring your attention back to the breath. All minds wander. the aim is not to stop the wandering. You can’t! The aim is to simply bring the attention back again and again to the breath. Just sit and pay attention. As hard as it is to do, that’s really all there is to Mindfulness. It’s a constant coming back to your breath over and over again, without judging where the mind went or having any expectations.
- Set a timer. You can find many apps and meditation timers. Here is one. However look on your phone’s app store for others. Start off with just one minute and use that to mindfully notice the breath. You can on the next go increase the time. Don’t see it as a competition as to how long you can meditate for.
- When you’re ready, if your eyes are closed, open them. You can move the attention away from the breath and take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.
- Open your eyes and give a stretch. Well done on your first Mindfulness meditation. Why not do this for 10 minutes daily?
Create a daily routine of gentle exercise and look at foods you eat
Creating a daily routine of gentle exercise is important. You can find a local class or even some great channels on Youtube including yoga and Pilates. Though I am not a dietitian, discussion can include your use of alcohol or caffeine. These we can reach for when stressed. However they can really have a negative affect on your mood or feelings of agitation. Many people will recommend nutritional supplements or inhaling essential oils for improved mood. Examples can be Valerian, turmeric (curcumin), or Lavender.
As with many nutritional supplements, it is important to do research and ensure what you are taking is really of benefit.
So I hope that you’re able to think about the choices you make about your wellbeing and your levels of stress. I hope that you have a peaceful and relaxing day ahead.
Looking forward to talking to you again soon. For information about my sessions in London or online to help with stress and anxiety, click here.