I use hypnotherapy to help people with anxiety in London. If you would like to learn more about my services, please click here for information about hypnotherapy sessions for anxiety in central London.
This article will give you some helpful and practical tips and advice to cope with anxiety. We will look at some immediate coping methods and some more short or long term strategies. I will also suggest which common and some also less recognised anxiety signs to be on the lookout for. I will offer some advice on when it may be time to seek professional help for your anxiety.
Hypnotherapy for Anxiety London Advice and Tips
You might notice when you feel anxiety, you experience certain physical anxiety symptoms. Common anxiety symptoms may include experiencing a racing heartbeat, sweating palms, or a dizziness in the head. You may be very familiar with those symptoms you commonly feel and also when they tend to show up. For example, you might get sweaty and nervous before a job interview orgiving a presentation. Anxiety can also be raised when confronting somebody about their behaviour or simply about expressing your needs or wants.
Having some anxiety is totally normal
Anxiety is simply the body’s natural response to a situation which feels a little fear inducing. You may be familiar with the phrase ‘fight or flight’. This is an ancient nervous system response of the human being to external danger or concern. If you take your mind back to many thousands of years ago, remember humans used to live in the open and were exposed to real dangers to life on regular basis. For example, if there was a big bear running towards you, how would you have responded? This is where the ‘flight or flight’ response clicked in. You would either have stood your ground and fought the bear or alternatively you would have opted to flee and get away, saving your life from the clutches of danger. Society and our rational objective levels of danger have improved, however our nervous systems have not fully caught up. Today we still have that same ancient response to situations that we know rationally do not have that high level of danger attached to them.
This means that in the moment it can be beneficial to have tools to lower your nervous system’s levels of alert. To ensure it is soothed and calmed. A fundamental tool is using the breath. This is because anxiety will often cause breath to become shallow, fast and short. If you actively do the reverse, you can help calm your nervous system caught up in the ‘fight or flight’ response.
So use the breath to renew, refresh and instil a renewed sense of calm. With hypnotherapy for anxiety clients in Central London, I will frequently teach or use techniques such as Mindfulness or visualisations to help lower feelings of anxiety.
Identify Anxiety trigger situations
Here are some common examples of situations that can either trigger anxiety or exacerbate it:
- Driving or travelling
- Confrontations or threat of violence
- Overuse of drugs or medication
- Traumatic experiences
- Phobias, for example, crowded places
- Chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, etc.
- Friction within the family
- Lack of sleep
- Stressful work or home situations
- Financial worries
It’s advised and helpful to become aware of your common anxiety trigger situations. These are times, situations or places in which your anxiety may run high. Identify those situations and consider healthy ways to lower stress. For example, you may notice certain work meetings raise your blood pressure or driving in traffic causes you to feel uneasy. Consider ways to lower stress and anxiety.
Remember that anxiety can come and go. You may feel very calm one moment and then suddenly feel a feeling of high anxiety or almost panic. Suddenly your heart beats very fast and your focus and attention becomes extremely narrowed. You can only think about that fearful situation or concern. Anxiety symptoms can be quite short lived or they may grow into a longer extended feeling of anxiety over days, weeks or even months. You may even experience a panic attack. Here are some ways to cope with such anxious feelings.
Notice your thought patterns
You may notice that you have several frequent or commonly found anxiety thought patterns. These unhelpful or fearful thoughts might be about the risks, anticipation or severity of situations. Many thoughts may centre on questioning your own abilities to act or do well in those situations or in life in general. Many thoughts might start with ‘should’ or ‘must’ or ‘I can’t’. In other words they are quite inflexible or even self critical. If we insist that things have to be a certain way, then we WILL feel stressed when they aren’t. Let’s face it, often life is not as we expect or want it!
Notice also if you are putting yourself down or telling yourself off and evaluate yourself as not good enough compared to others. If you do notice these thoughts, then, with help, you will be able to start thinking and therefore feeling differently.
Note down your thoughts
To reduce anxiety it is very useful to note and see those unhelpful thought patterns. It is recommended to write your thoughts down and then question whether they are rationally accurate and represent reality as it truly is. For example, before giving a presentation at work, you may notice that you have a familiar thought pattern which may be along the lines of, ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I’m silly’, ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about’. By noting these thoughts down, you will become more aware of them. You are then in a better position to question their rationality, asking simply if they true. Let’s use the presentation example again. You may know rationally that you have an expertise in the area about which you are talking. You also can evaluate that you have created a fairly good quality presentation. By noting the rationally accurate picture, you can start to feel calmer. You will realize that your heightened fear that you do not know what you’re talking about, was more of an emotional response than an accurate representation of the true reality.
It can be useful on a regular basis to keep a diary or journal of unhelpful thought patterns that leads to anxiety. Anxiety thoughts are often quite fixed and inflexible. We can get trapped in a cycle of unhelpful thoughts and self criticism. Simply writing those out can be very helpful to even notice what those thought patterns are. Sometimes we will talk to ourselves in a way and berate ourselves in a way that if a stranger was to talk to us in that way, we would get extremely angry and feel that they are being abusive. Do not talk to yourself in such an abusive way. You can notice these thoughts by getting out a sheet of paper on a regular basis and noting them down
Practice focused, deep breathing or Mindfulness
When we feel anxiety our breathing can often become shallow and quick. In order to counteract that, it’s often beneficial to slow down the breath. A quick tool you can use is that as you breathe in, you breathe in for a count of five and then breathe out for a count of seven. You can download apps that can help you practice breathing in this calmer manner. One app that I like and use myself is called The Breathing App. It is available at the Apple Store and Android Google Play Store. **
Use relaxing smells, essential oils and aromatherapy
Lavender, camomile, sandalwood and other calming smells can help you feel calmer and relaxed. You might wish to drink camomile tea before going to bed or put a couple of drops of lavender oil in the bath next time you have a relaxing soak. These essential oils have a relaxing effect on the nervous system. If you feel heightened anxiety, then these smells can help. During hypnotherapy for anxiety sessions with clients in Central London, I may often offer visualizations involving using the sense of smell and images that are calming and relaxing. These hypnotherapy visualisations can then be used on the spot during a time of heightened anxiety.
Move your body
Shake it up, go for a walk, or even jump up and down if you must! Anxiety has very physical symptoms. It’s like emotions of frustration and anger have gotten trapped in your body. You may notice that your whole posture or body will slightly collapse or you might go into a more contracted posture, hunched over. This is because your attention is becoming more focused and narrowed so your body mirrors that too. So do the opposite. It can therefore often be useful to take up the opposite posture. So stand up, stretch, and breathe in deeply. Fill your chest up large, move your posture into a stronger and firmer stance. Go outside and get some fresh air. Do some jumping jacks and shake out that dull feeling. I will often recommend to my London hypnotherapy anxiety clients to include regular exercise and increased movement to their week. Anxiety is in the head so it is very advised to become more in touch with the body in a positive way. If you can bring more relaxation and calm to the body, your mind will be calmer as well.
Long-term strategies for anxiety
Anxiety is a normal part of our lives. It would be abnormal in the face of real danger to not feel a heightened feeling of anxiety. However, if it feels that anxiety or panic attacks are becoming too regular a part of your life, it’s important to have some strategies to ensure you’re feeling calmer. To keep those anxious thoughts in check, you may want to consider a number of different strategies. For example, you might consider looking into meditation, Mindfulness or some sessions with a therapist or anxiety hypnotherapist. It is also useful to consider physical or movement tools such as yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. These can be helpful to help you feel and notice more the sensations of the body.
You might notice some easy to change unhealthy diet or lifestyle habits, which if reduced would ease anxiety also. Anxiety can get exacerbated by drinking too much alcohol, smoking, excessive caffeine, a lack of sleep, or general poor diet and eating too much sugar.
You may have ongoing life situations that are causing you anxiety and need to be resolved. If they can’t be easily resolved you do need a plan to cope with the emotional and stress fallout of living with what is troubling you. These stresses may be at work or at home, relationships, finances or illness.
As I hear from many hypnotherapy anxiety clients at my London office, anxiety can be caused by more underlying life questions or concerns. These might be questions around where, overall, you feel your life is now or heading. Do you feel that you are in a relationship that is good for you? Would you prefer to be in a different job?
Anxiety affects us all and it is important to have in place emotional support. Whilst interventions such as hypnotherapy for anxiety can really help you reduce unwanted anxiety patterns, it’s going to be ongoing good support that will be beneficial in the long-term. Do you have sufficient emotional support? Are there friends or family close by whom you can rely on and share your feelings with? Have you someone to go to if in distress? Having emotional support is extremely important. Often we feel we don’t want to burden others or feel embarrassed to admit we are finding it a struggle to cope. If you feel distress and do need someone to talk to, you can call the Samaritans. They are trained to listen and will provide support at the end of the phone line. Opening up about your feelings means they don’t stay inside. Anxiety can often be increased when we do not feel we have anyone to talk to.
Consider different ways to help reduce anxiety
I provide hypnotherapy for anxiety in London. Hypnotherapy has the benefit of helping you look at the subconscious drives and meanings of your thoughts and behaviours. Often we can identify those anxiety provoking thoughts and know very well which situations can trigger those thoughts. However, the real question is how to change and feel differently. Hypnotherapy for anxiety can be a very effective tool to really bring about change in a relatively quick timeframe. Another tool I use is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a structured way to think differently about those thoughts and situations. CBT also helps you develop coping strategies and positive ways to view your life. Alonside hypnotherapy for anxiety or CBT, there are other different therapy approaches that can help you reduce anxiety. It’s always important to remember that one size does not fit all. In other words, hypnotherapy for anxiety may bring results but also other types of therapy can help alongside as well.
I often recommend to my London hypnotherapy for anxiety clients that they may benefit from a regular calming self care routine for their mind as well as their body. Consider what, on a regular basis, can calm and still the mind. I recommend Mindfulness and meditation, yoga, or even just simply going for a walk more often. When can you turn your phone off and take time for yourself free of life’s responsibilities? Can you take time to be in nature and really breathe in fresh air and be present with what you are seeing and enjoy simply walking or exercising?
Notice also your diet, consider how much television you watch and what time you go to bed. You might find benefit from reducing watching the news or anything else that raises your anxiety levels.
When is it time to seek medical professional help?
For some people, their anxiety is so strong that it troubles them on a daily basis. Often anxious thoughts can lead to anxiety around places or objects that you were not originally concerned about, phobias or panic attacks.
At my London office I will sometimes encourage hypnotherapy for anxiety clients to discuss with their doctor if a short term course of medication would be helpful. It’s important to go to your local doctor rather than a hospital. This is so your local doctor can supervise and monitor the medication over time. It is important to note that medication, though it will help lower your anxiety levels, will not address directly those thought patterns and triggers that caused the anxiety in the first place. Medication has the advantage that it can help soothe and clear the mind in order to then do the needed work with a therapist, anxiety hypnotherapist or other psychotherapist. To really deal well with the underlying drives and causes of anxiety, medication alone is not a long-term solution. For some people some medication is recommended for a longer term. This can be for a variety of reasons. There is no shame in taking medication in the same way that for a physical ailment you would also take medication.
Is anxiety harmful to my health?
It is true that anxiety, if left unchecked over time, may over several years lead to some chronic conditions and health concerns. This can be also due to the unhealthy coping methods we can turn to. For example, if you drink alcohol or overeat when stressed, over a number of years, these patterns will negatively effect your health. However, in general, anxiety in the short term, is not normally harmful for you.
It can be quite common for people who experience panic attacks to think that they are having a heart attack. This is because anxiety symptoms feel very real and very physical. Somebody having a panic attack may have extreme pain or discomfort in their chest, dizziness, shortness of breath. It can be confusing to know what the cause is. However, I can inform you as I do my hypnotherapy for anxiety clients in London that it’s simply untrue that you can die of a panic attack, worry, nervousness or unease. We feel stress and anxiety in the body just as we feel physical disease in the body.
Signs of an anxiety attack.
We’ve already mentioned some of those symptoms that you can experience when having an anxiety attack or panic attack. These can be a feeling of nervousness, restlessness, sweating, trembling, tiredness, IBS and gastrointestinal (GI) problems (diarrhoea, constipation, regurgitating food etc), hyperventilation, feelings and thoughts of danger, panic or dread. Everyone experiences anxiety and panic slightly differently.
I hope that this article has suggested some ways that you can cope better in the moment. I help people in London using hypnotherapy for anxiety. At my Central London hypnotherapy practice, anxiety might in fact be the most common symptom that people come seeking help for. I very much enjoy seeing people move from a state of stress or anxiety and to feeling calmer and more relaxed. If you feel anxiety is a concern for you or somebody that you care about, please get in touch today about my hypnotherapy for anxiety sessions in London.
** I have not been asked or paid to endorse the Breathing App and gain nothing from mentioning it here.