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What is Anxiety?


Some people have a very identifiable cause for their anxiety; it could be a traumatic incident, or they may have experienced a significant life event like getting divorced, having surgery, or bullied at school.  However, some people don’t have an identifiable cause for their anxiety and that causes them some distress.  So, one way of thinking about anxiety is to imagine your stress levels as being like a bucket of water.  If we keep adding stressors to the bucket, even tiny ones, like the school run or the commute to work, over time this bucket fills up until one day it overflows.  This can be a good way of looking at anxiety as it explains why sometimes it can seem to come out of the blue with no significant trigger.  However, what has happened is that the trigger was just a very small stressor that tipped us over the edge and allowed our bucket to overflow.  What we need is a way for the water to escape to maintain an even balance.


Anxiety is often, but not always the bodies natural response to stress.  It manifests when there are constant feelings of fear and apprehension.  This in moderation is not always a negative thing, it can be felt when you are starting a new job, taking your driving test or taking part in something that is out of your personal ‘comfort zone’ for example.  It is normal in these instances to feel anxious.  Anxiety in this type of situation is a positive reaction…. It shows that you care about the outcome.  But, if the anxiety that you experience becomes regular, extreme or it interferes with your daily life, then it may well point to an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety can affect you both physically and psychologically, it can cause a change in your behaviour and the way that you view the world.  You may have negative thoughts not only about yourself, but others around you.  It can make you feel constantly on edge and irritable, you may experience feelings of constant dread and helplessness.  These feelings can lead to withdrawal from social contact and inevitably make everyday things like going to work stressful and difficult.  This in turn can lead to days being missed, which leads to the anxiety growing stronger and more deeply ingrained.

These symptoms point to the “fight or flight” response being apparent.  The response is triggered by the release of hormones (adrenaline) that prepare your body to either stay and deal with the threat (fight) or to run away to safety (flight).  Because in most if not all cases you neither fight nor run, the adrenaline is unused…. It has no where to go…. So, it stays in your body and causes the above symptoms.

These symptoms are often misinterpreted as genuine illness.  This if misunderstood can obviously lead to a deeper state of anxiety and in some cases a panic attack.

Some of the most common psychological symptoms (the thoughts or altered perceptions that we have) of anxiety are:


  • Thinking that you may lose control and/or go “mad”

  • Thinking that you might die

  • Thinking that you may have a heart attack/vomit/faint/have a brain tumour

  • Feeling that people are looking at you and observing your anxiety

  • Feeling as though things are speeding up or slowing down

  • Feeling detached from your environment and the people in it

  • Feeling like you want to run away and escape the situation

  • Feeling on edge and alert to everything around you

Some of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety are:


  • Increased heart rate

  • Increased muscle tension

  • “Jelly legs”

  • Tingling in the hands and feet

  • Hyperventilation (over breathing)

  • Dizziness

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Wanting to use the toilet

  • Feeling sick

  • Tight band across the chest area

  • Tension headaches

  • Hot flushes

  • Increased perspiration

  • Dry mouth

  • Shaking

The most common behavioural symptom (the things we do when we are anxious) is avoidance.  Although avoiding an anxiety provoking situation produces immediate relief from the anxiety, it is only a short-term solution.  This means that whilst it may seem like avoidance is the best thing to do at the time, the anxiety often returns the next time that you face the situation and avoiding it will only psychologically reinforce the message that there is danger.


Anxiety can be a positive reaction it helps us to survive when faced with real danger.  Unfortunately, our subconscious cannot differentiate between real danger and imagined danger, it can misinterpret an incident or a memory (apparent or not) as always being a threat to our safety.  Say for instance you fell from a boat as a child, you would then see all boats as dangerous, even the thought of going anywhere near a boat would fill you with a sense of dread and create feelings of anxiety.  This is the subconscious kicking into action and stopping you from ever falling from a boat again.  Our subconscious cannot allow our safety to ever be threatened and it cannot reason with the here and now.


How can Hypnotherapy help?


Hypnosis will allow you to experience very deep levels of relaxation.  It is impossible for fear, panic, stress, anxiety or any adrenaline- based sensations to co-exist with deep and pure relaxation. Here at Emergence Hypnotherapy You will not only learn how to relax but you will learn to anchor your relaxation, the more you do it, the easier it will become.

This is used alongside usual classical behavioural therapies such as ‘systematic desensitisation’. Two important elements of this therapy are the ability to clearly imagine something that makes you feel anxious and then to attain a deeply relaxed state.  Hypnosis helps to achieve both techniques more easily and quickly than many other forms of treatment.  By using the power of suggestion hypnosis aims to access your subconscious mind and promote positive change.  The suggestions themselves will be tailored to your individual needs and circumstance, you will learn what triggers your anxiety and why, as well as being able to manage the way that you react towards them.

Sometimes it is necessary to clear out past experiences, this is done by safely guiding you back to the first time that a traumatic experience occurred, you will be helped to process it so that you can release it from your subconscious.  you will learn to accept it for what it was and focus on the positives from it. 

There are numerous ways to beat anxiety, to triumph over it.  

By acknowledging it you have taken your first step towards beating it.

Just remember…. big problems are best solved in small pieces…. It will take time, there is no “quick fix” but you will get there. 

Start to live your life on your terms!