by Bryan KnightAnxious? You probably agonise as I did many years ago as a young community organizer. I was frequently interviewed by radio, TV and print journalists. Blushing suffused my face while my hands became sweaty and my stomach churned. In other words, I felt drowned in anxiety. Similarly with my phobia of dentists. Just the anticipation of having to see a dentist would trigger off the anxiety symptoms.
Much anxiety revolves around the desire to be approved by other people. And the fear that we will be rejected. Often anxiety symptoms arise from worries about performance.
Typical questions an anxious person may ask him or herself:
- Will I pass this exam?
- Can I maintain an erection?
- Will she accept my proposal?
- Will the audience like me?
- Why does the boss want me in her office?
- Will I survive the surgery?
One common fear is that of failing an exam. But you can easily rid yourself of that anxiety.
Another type of anxiety is less physical and more mental. It focuses on existential questions such as:
- Why are we here?
- What happens after we die?
- What should I do with my life?
For example, most of us live as though we are not doomed to die. Some rejoice in the anticipation of our eventual death by assigning religious significance to the inevitable.
What is the role of hypnosis in this realm of philosophy and religion? It can help you to answer your questions about the meaning of life by enabling you to relax and use your imagination in creative ways.
Anxiety is nourished by negative thinking and strangled by positive thoughts.
Your imagination sends messages continually to your internal organs. These chemical and electrical messages have effects on your endocrine, nervous and immune systems. When the messages are peaceful you feel fine; when they are frightening, you feel anxious.
Since hypnosis is essentially the focused use of your imagination it can change those messages. And thus deal with the symptoms of anxiety, or get to the root cause.
So, to exercise control over troubling thoughts or the physical symptoms of sweaty hands and butterflies in the stomach you practice effective hypnotic techniques. Or use another hypnotic approach to uncover the root of your particular anxiety.
Anxiety and Panic
Excess anxiety can result in the horror of a panic attack. Like Ken.
He frequently suffered with chest pains and the feeling that he was about to pass out. Ken became convinced he was going to die of a heart attack.
Several doctors examined him and declared he was physically healthy. Nevertheless, he became anxious about his anxiety. Finally one of the physicians referred Ken to a hypnotherapist.
As soon as he was relaxed in hypnosis Ken became aware of the origin of his anxiety: he felt guilty about wishing his mother had died the previous year instead of his father. In addition, he was uneasy about behaving irresponsibly towards his sick father.
Several sessions of psychotherapy with Ken in hypnosis enabled him to come to terms with his feelings.
Organic and physical causes of anxiety
Before you concentrate on psychological causes rule out the possibility that your anxious feelings are coming from some organic or physical cause such as disease or organ malfunction. Physical causes range from smoking cigarettes to drinking colas.
Anxiety and Panic about public places
Anxiety can escalate into a full-blown phobia, especially if you suffer a panic attack in a specific place. Such as Rose and her nervousness about experiencing another panic should she go into a restaurant. Safer to avoid restaurants.
Fortunately, Rose learned how to relax into hypnosis. Then the hypnotherapist used his favourite approach to the control of anxiety: the Comfort Measure.
He asked the hypnotized Rose to picture a ruler. The hypnotherapist suggested she see it marked off from 0 to 10. Ten represented the most anxiety and 0 the least discomfort, that is, no anxiety.
When asked to read off the comfort level she was experiencing at the moment Rose said "Six."
Then the therapist suggested Rose see how far down she could push the line marking off her comfort level. Soon she reported the marker was down to 3. The therapist congratulated Rose and asked her how she was feeling.
To her astonishment, Rose felt quite relaxed. From then on Rose used this method to feel comfortable in restaurants and other public places.
Many people don't realise that their feelings are under their control. The key is, like Rose, to engage your imagination, not just your willpower.
Hypnotherapy will also help you to stop those anxiety-arousing messages that seem to float automatically into your head. Rose, for example, used to be flooded with the certainty that everyone was watching her whenever she entered a restaurant. She would blush deep red and people would notice how much she was perspiring. Such self-sabotaging thoughts were replaced during hypnotherapy with positive affirmations. So Rose enjoyed the results of these post-hypnotic suggestions and further enjoyed the increased self-control they gave her. A virtuous circle had replaced the vicious.