Anyone who has experienced anxiety, or has been close to someone who has, knows how debilitating and destructive it can be.
Some commentators are quick to dismiss anxiety as a ‘modern illness’ and indeed there has been a marked increase in reported anxiety amongst the general public in the last few years, but the truth is it is a difficult condition to live with.
Of course, sometimes anxiety is a perfectly normal and useful way to respond. It is our body’s natural response to a perceived threat. When we are faced with potentially harmful situations it makes sense for our ‘fight or flight’ response to be triggered.
When this happens, cortisol and adrenaline are released into our systems. These cause our heart to beat faster, our body to sweat, and our muscles to tighten.
In a demonstration of the power of primordial genetics, blood is also diverted from the brain to our extremities, ensuring our arms and legs are fully primed and ready for whatever action is needed.
Collectively, this leaves us a bit ‘foggy,’ but fully focused on dealing with whatever threat we perceive to be close at hand.
Considering all that, imagine how exhausting and disturbing it would be if your fight or flight response was triggered too easily or was on all the time, even without any threat or danger.
Anxiety often develops around things that are important to us: work, money, family, health, tests, public speaking, and other areas that often need our daily attention.
These areas can lead to executive stress, financial anxiety, health anxiety, social anxiety, test anxiety, performance anxiety, and more. Sometimes this anxiety can manifest itself as a panic attack or a phobia – for example, a fear of flying, or crowds, or confined spaces – but the underlying structure can sometimes be similar.
In the following examples, the names of the clients, who I helped very recently, have been changed to protect their anonymity
Richard was a salesman who had increasingly been asked to present to larger groups and more senior people as his career progressed. What his bosses didn’t know was that the presentations were causing Richard sleepless nights, anxious days, and he was using alcohol to try to manage his feelings.
Prompted by his partner, Richard finally came to see me when it all became too much, and he was considering quitting his successful job to avoid his forthcoming most high-profile presentation to date.
After two sessions he was much more confident about the big presentation and his future in the company. Afterwards he told me: “It went very well, no doubt as a result of your help”. Since then, he has had no more performance anxiety, his career has gone from strength to strength, and he has recommended the services of Zoë Clews & Associates to family and friends.
People with anxiety can experience endless loops of intense feelings of fear, terror or panic that can dramatically undermine and interfere with daily life. They can be overwhelming at the time and can take hours, days, weeks or even longer to subside.
This kind of anxiety can be difficult for an individual to control without support, even when they know, on an intellectual level, that these feelings are likely way out of proportion to the actual trigger.
When clients come to see me for help with their anxiety, phobias, and stress, they have often lived with their issue for a long time, and have tried various solutions on their own, but things have finally come to a head.
In some cases, they have already tried relying on willpower to push themselves through challenging situations. Sometimes they succeed for a while, but the cost is evident in the mental and emotional energy they expend and the time they need to recover afterwards.
In other cases, they have moderated their behaviours to try to navigate around their anxiety – for example, avoiding social situations, avoiding public transport, and working from home, avoiding work promotions that would lead to more public speaking, and even adopting extreme lifestyles.
Some have attempted to self-medicate to try to soften the impact of the anxiety: alcohol, weed, and prescription drugs are all quite common. These are rarely successful and, of course, if people become dependent on these to function, they can quickly become serious problems linked to addiction.
Julie had been scared of flying for years. She had been self-medicating with increasing amounts of Valium, topped up with copious quantities of alcohol before and during the flight.
She knew it wasn’t sustainable when she had a panic attack in the air, whilst under the influence, and had to be physically restrained by the air crew.
Julie came to see me to finally tackle the problem a few weeks before she had several long-haul flights scheduled. After two sessions she was satisfied her long-term issue was resolved and she was ready for the flights.
When she got back, she reported simply, “Back in London. Flights were great. Relaxed on all of them. Our work together really worked. Thank you.”
The good news is no one has to live with that level of anxiety. Hypnotherapy can be such an effective treatment, providing rapid results for anxiety, stress, and phobias because it is a personalised treatment that can be used to target all three key components of the condition: physiological, psychological, and emotional.
As a master-practitioner in hypnotherapy, Time Line Therapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming I have extensive resources to draw on, meaning your individual treatment plan is targeted, safe, fast and effective.
We start with a detailed history to understand the nature and structure of the problem, and then work to create a personalised treatment plan to tackle it.
The treatment plan itself may include several separate elements, sometimes drawn from different disciplines, and focused on different aspects of the issue, to ensure the work is powerful, thorough, and permanent.
If you’re looking to escape the prison of anxiety, stress or phobic behaviour, hypnotherapy can help you – all you need to do is get in touch and we’ll work together to set you free once and for all.