Anxiety can come in different forms, both mentally and physically. It can take hold of you when you come face to face with an uncomfortable situation, such as speaking publicly, or when you are under a lot of stress.
Does anxiety stem from worry and/or stress?
Anxiety can be similar to experiencing worry and stress. But worrying is helpful only if it leads to change - not if it turns into obsessive thoughts.
Stress is a physiological response connected to an external event. When our body experiences stress overload, our fight-or-flight response kicks in.
From our first descendants, the likeliest threat a human being would encounter to spark this response would be the attack of a wild animal, someone screaming at you, or weeks without food. It makes sense, then, that you’d need the strength to fight back or to run away fast. However in this developed world, this response is not necessary needed.
When our body is in fight or flight mode, adrenaline and cortisol is released. The heart rate goes up and blood gets pumped to our limbs and away from our digestive and reproductive system.
In a healthy stress response, the cortisol level rises and falls quickly - as soon as the presumed threat is out of the way.
So what is anxiety?
Anxiety can culminate from stress and worry. Anxiety is experienced in both mind and body.
Anxiety is a response to a false alarm and can be seen as a general term for a number of disorders that cause feeling of apprehension, fear, worry and nervousness and is a normal part of being a human being.
Everyone experiences anxiousness at some point in their lives and it could be over temporary events. However, anxiety can be really persistent for many, feeling overwhelming and making it hard to manage everyday life, especially when new or unfamiliar situations arise.
Many things can trigger anxiety, but here are some tips to help handle and even overcome anxiety.
Accept that anxiety is a learned behaviour Remind yourself that the feelings of anxiety do not belong to you. When you feel any of those old unwanted sensations, look around yourself and reassure yourself that there are no dangers. Then say “Thank you, but I don’t need protecting right now”
Distraction To fend off any sudden symptoms of anxiety, distraction can be a good way to settle the thoughts of worry (although not to be confused with avoidance). Distraction tools can be anything from counting backwards from 200 in multiples of 2 or visualising, while deep breathing, being in your favourite holiday destination - imagining the sounds, the colours and what it feels like to be there.
Talk to yourself in a confident manner Make big, bold positive pictures in your mind. The more we think and focus on how we want to be in life, this is how it will be. Taking time to visualise yourself in a confident manner before facing a situation that you think will make you anxious, can really help lower levels of anxiousness when faced with the event in reality.
Be neutral It is easy for people to say 'think positive' or 'get over it' but anxiety can be difficult to calm when people say this to you. However, knowing you can have control over your thoughts (hypnotherapy can help with this by talking to your sub conscious), and being mindful of the expectations of the event. You can consider three possible outcomes of the event - good, poor or neutral. But you have two possible reactions, good and neutral. Not building expectations of an event can really dissolve worried thoughts and feelings and help to command the thought process.
Get plenty of sleep Good quality sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. Insufficient sleep can have a detrimental effect on your mood, and sleep deprivation increases anxiety levels.
So how can hypnotherapy help with anxiety?
Hypnotherapy can help to bring a gradual change to your mindset and give you a set of tools that can help recognise triggers, and enable you to let go of the things that don't matter, focusing your energy on what you can control.
Get in touch to find out more.