Anxiety is pretty rubbish, isn’t it? I had it for years almost day at some level or another. Some days I’d wake up and just feel anxious – and I had no idea why. I hated this nameless fear which gave the days a jittery shape and seemed to tinge everything I did and all the interactions I had. Thanks anxiety!
Anxiety is common
Anxiety is really common. One of the most searched word on a therapy directory I use is anxiety, which suggests there are a lot of people out there looking for help. One group for whom anxiety is on the rise is young women between 16-24 (ONS, 2020). I personally believe that there are some aspects to our society which can create or exacerbate it. Stuff like money worries, health concerns and loneliness.
Types of Anxiety
Some people will be like me and have what is known as generalised anxiety, whereas other people will have it in relation to something specific. Everyone is different. One thing that therapists understand is that many people are subject to stress during their childhood. This could be acute stress originating in a traumatic incident such as the divorce of parents or it could be something much smaller which was still enough to trigger anxiety in your child mind.
The Effects of Anxiety
In Cognitive Hypnotherapy, a trauma of any size is called a Significant Emotional Event (SEE). This triggers a physical flight, fight or freeze response which releases chemicals cortisol and adrenaline into your system. These are both really useful chemicals because they are your body’s way of sensing that you are under threat (thanks lads, keep up the good work).
The problem is that anxiety can become chronic if it’s allowed to accumulate over time until it becomes ‘normal’. This is what happened to me. it was just something I had, a part of me. I even called it ‘my’ anxiety. Experiencing anxiety over time, however, can actually impact on your physical health as well as emotional health.
Anxiety is Physical
Anxiety is a physical feeling as well as an emotional one. For me, it lives in my upper chest. It’s worth taking some time to think about where yours resides as well as it’s different for everyone. For some it’s in their stomach, for others in their throat. This is really important for your Cognitive Hypnotherapist to know as they can help to give you tools to tone these unpleasant feelings down to manageable levels. The goal is not always to get rid of them altogether because we do need some anxiety to let us know when we are genuinely under threat. Yay.
When to get help for Anxiety
There are many people out there dealing with this invisible problem alone. I would say that it’s time to get help when it’s interfering with your quality of life. Or that you are experiencing more bad days than good. If you give a score out of ten to the anxiety you feel and it’s anything above a five, you may want to get support.
Anxiety & Cognitive Hypnotherapy
Cognitive Hypnotherapy can really help – I speak from experience. First of all, there are practical tools you can be taught very quickly to reduce the severity and let you be in control of both your emotions and your stress chemicals. The approach can also use a regression technique to see whether the anxiety is linked to a SEE and if this is the case, to work with you to reframe this. In short, Cognitive Hypnotherapy is solution focused and may just work quicker than you ever thought possible.
ONS, 2020 Young People’s Wellbeing in the UK. Office for National Statistics. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/bulletins/youngpeopleswellbeingintheuk/2020
*A brilliant book that covers the link between the impact of anxiety on the body is When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate.