One key to reducing anxiety is understanding that a thought is just a thought. It is not a fact and just because you think it, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. It is just a mental event in the brain. Perhaps you have worried in the past that you wouldn’t cope in a particular situation but then gone on to actually do ok? For example, I remember worrying about my driving test – I was worried someone might step out in front of the car, I was worried the examiner would be horrible, I was worried that I’d forget everything I had learned! Well the examiner wasn’t the nicest person but I did pass. All that worry, all that wasted energy and sleepless nights and everything went ok. I had suffered all those nasty symptoms of anxiety and worried over nothing.
It can be incredibly helpful to remember such times when things went ok. In this way you are challenging your anxious thoughts by recalling all the previous situations in which you survived, coped and perhaps even flourished. I find that #hypnotherapy and #self-hypnosis are great tools for helping my clients to do this, while feeling relaxed, comfortable and safe. They learn how to remember these good feelings of coping successfully and how to recall them in their minds and bodies instantly whenever they need to shift into a healthier more helpful state of mind.
Billions of people around the world are feeling anxious right now. Some of them have felt this way for years. They have spent thousands of hours worrying about worry, trying desperately to think their way out of this spiral of anxious thoughts. Perhaps you believe that if you think about something for long enough or hard enough you will come up with a solution….but then worry even more when you haven’t yet found it. This over-thinking or ruminating is tiring and stops you sleeping properly. People who constantly ruminate often dream more than other people as their tired brains try hard to make sense of what is going on both day and night.
So, despite what we may believe, perhaps the answer doesn’t lie in more and more thinking. To compound this even further, the more you try not to think about your anxiety the more you do. We have probably all played the game of ‘don’t think about a blue elephant’ – what’s the first thing your mind does? In the same way it can be very easy for you to get trapped between worrying about your anxiety and trying not to think about it.
One helpful strategy is to adopt a completely different approach. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, and ruminating on the same old problems, you can focus your mind on better things to think about. We do tend to get what we focus on. A professional footballer for example will train mentally to see the goal going into the net when the ball is kicked, not on the ball going over the post. So how would it feel to focus on doing things that are enjoyable or fun, or that make you appreciate the world around you, or sharing good times with your friends or family, rather than focusing on what may or may not go wrong or cause problems? Keeping your mind focused on positive activities that give you pleasure leave little room for ruminating and worrying. The key is to take action and do something new, interesting or different that gives your mind something better to focus on. Have you ever booked a holiday and then enjoyed the build up to the day you go away, looking forward to and focusing your thinking on all the fun activities you will be doing, all the new, interesting places you will see and the novel experiences you will have? If you haven’t, then start practicing this skill now – find things to look forward to and imagine things going well and yourself enjoying them. Really get into the experience and imagine doing these things in specific detail – and imagine things going well, imagine looking good and feeling good and allow yourself to feel your enjoyment, however fleeting it may feel.
If you suffer from anxiety then you might find this hard to do, or even think about doing at first. For this reason, I use #hypnosis to help my clients to experience carrying out these positive activities in their minds. You have a very powerful imagination. If you doubt this, then think about how powerful it has been, making you believe your anxieties are real and happening. Did you realize that you have been using negative self-hypnosis to sabotage your happiness and well-being? There are ways of harnessing your powerful imagination to help you rather than hinder you. A skilled #hypnotherapist can show you how to do this and help you to experience what you can achieve with a calm, relaxed, positive focus on life’s events.
I specialize in hypnotherapeutic techniques and I work in #York. I can be reached via my website at: www.mindmakeoveruk.com/contact.html
In my next blog I will be talking further about how you can effectively deal with anxious thoughts and feelings.