What is Anxiety?
Most people can relate to feeling tense, perhaps at the thought of sitting an exam, making a speech or attending an interview. Some people experience anxiety as a result of short term or long term stress, and with others it can manifest itself as a phobia, an irrational fear of something, for example flying, driving on motorways or spiders. This reaction can actually be very useful; for example, feeling nervous before an exam or an interview can make you feel more alert and enhance your performance.
So feeling anxious is perfectly normal – it is simply the subconscious mind’s reaction to something which is being perceived as stressful, dangerous or upsetting and generally, once we are removed from the source of the problem, our anxiety gradually dissipates. However, if the feelings of anxiety are so strong that they overwhelm you, your ability to concentrate and do well may suffer.
The fight or flight response
This is your body’s natural survival mechanism. Whenever your subconscious mind detects a threat (physical, emotional or psychological), your body releases a particular hormone called adrenaline. This then causes a chain reaction – your heart rate increases, your peripheral blood vessels constrict, driving the blood deeper into your core muscles, which in turn increases blood pressure. Your body’s emergency sugar stores are released to provide extra energy to your muscles and breathing rate increases to help metabolise that energy.
All in all, a great way to provide extra immediate energy for running away from something or fighting it. And once the threat has disappeared, the body returns back to normal again.
However, if the threat is strong and ongoing, such as an overbearing boss at work for example, or recovering from bereavement, then the fight or flight response may not return back to normal and adrenaline flow may be constantly triggered. Under these circumstances, anxiety may become part of everyday life and may even become severe, leaving people feeling powerless, out of control and generally unable to cope effectively. This can then have a knock-on effect to other aspects of our lives, such as relationship problems and social issues.
With anxiety, you may also experience effects such as:
- a nagging sense of fear
- sleeping problems
- problems with sex
- loss of confidence and motivation
- loss of appetite
Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass. But they can also last much longer and you may get stuck with them. In some cases they can take over your life, and can hold you back from doing the things you need or want to do. In severe cases, they can cause panic attacks, an exaggeration of the normal fight or flight response, when the subconscious mind feels so threatened that the reaction becomes very intense. Ultimately, they can affect your health.
Without professional help, it can be very hard to break this cycle. More and more people these days are less inclined to takes drugs such as antidepressants and beta blockers, because of their psychologically addictive properties. Talking therapies such as counselling or CBT can help up to a point, but they generally only work on a conscious mind level. The most effective way to combat anxiety is by working directly with the subconscious mind, to reprogramme it and to get it operating in a logical way once again.
And this is why hypnotherapy can be so powerful – it gets to the root cause of the problem and helps the person get back to normal and enjoying life once again.
steps to make
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