Anxiety is a very natural thing, felt by all humans. A little anxiety is useful as it alerts us to risks in life and in prehistoric times anxiety kept us on our toes and on the lookout for danger.
It can be experienced by anyone, and, like stress, it initiates a response that is commonly known as the fight, flight or freeze response. If it starts to interfere with your day to day activities though, it might be time to seek some help.
Research shows that anxiety affects 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives. Anxiety will affect twice as many women as men and can have a debilitating effect on your life.
When you imagine that you are in some kind of danger or you imagine something dangerous could happen, the fight/flight/freeze response is activated. Anxiety is often a response to an indefinable threat.
I can help you to understand how anxiety works and you will begin to see how, using simple mindfulness practices, you can take back control of your life... and how easy it can be.
Fears and Phobias
Fear is one of the most basic human reactions - It's a survival instinct. We are born with two fears. Loud noises and Falling; these are hardwired on an evolutionary level and form part of our autonomic responses, like blinking and breathing.
As we go through life, we gather knowledge and experience of different things. Depending on how we experience a thing, the brain can categorize it as dangerous...or not. This can be healthy and useful for things that can harm us.
With a phobia, the fear is out of proportion to the potential danger. But to the person with the phobia, the danger feels real because the fear is so very strong.
Phobias can often be created by a traumatic experience in your early life which you may not even remember. Alternatively, new phobias can arise as our general stress level goes up.
Hypnotherapy is used to release some of the emotional attachment and create new positive patterns of thought to replace these fears. It can be very effective and is a safe, comfortable way of reducing fears and phobias.
Low Mood and Depression
Sometimes negative things can happen in our lives. Things can get on top of us and this can increase our risk of developing 'low mood' or depression.
It could be a series of smaller events or something really big in our lives. We lose interest in our life, our friends, family and the hobbies or activities which would normally inspire us.
As we withdraw into ourselves our energy levels go down and we often develop poor sleeping habits such as finding difficulty in getting to sleep at night and then difficulty in getting up in the morning.
We often turn to comfort habits like eating too much or drinking too much. These comfort habits often make the low mood worse.
Hypnotherapy helps you to understand what's going on and to establish new positive patterns which replace the negative thoughts and habits produced by low mood. This relieves the low mood and often eliminates it, helping you get back to the real you.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a disorder which causes people to have obsessive, insistent thoughts and behaviour patterns.
These can have a significantly disruptive effect on their day to day lives. The troubling thoughts continue even though you may try to ignore or forget about them.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can develop as a way of coping with a combination of guilt or fear about something. The sufferer is driven to carry out their compulsive behaviour as a ritual, in order to interrupt the troubling thoughts and to try to alleviate the worry. These rituals could be things like frequent hand washing, continual checking of light switches, locking and unlocking doors repeatedly, touching things in a particular way or a certain number of times.
The brain then 'learns' that these rituals provide some form of safety or benefit, even if only fleeting, and embeds them as a kind of security net.
Hypnotherapy can lower overall anxiety levels and then lead on to reframing and refocusing the original beliefs and troubling thoughts, lowering the emotional arousal and helping you to cope more easily.
Sleep problems are very common, and many of us will suffer from some form of insomnia at some point in our lives. This can involve waking up during the night, often several times, difficulty in falling asleep, waking up early in the morning, or just not getting enough sleep.
The effects of prolonged sleeplessness can range from general tiredness, mood swings, reduced concentration, inability to cope with stress, lowered immune system levels and weight gain.
It is important for us humans to get a good night’s sleep.
Not only is this a time when the body repairs itself and restores energy levels, but REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the part of sleep when dreaming occurs, is important for dealing with stress, processing life and finding solutions.
REM also replenishes feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which make us function as happy people.
Using a variety of relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy can help you to relax mentally and physically and to re-train the mind to expect a restful and restorative night's sleep.
If you are not comfortable with your weight, hypnotherapy is a helpful way forward.
Stress has a huge impact on how we lose and gain weight. Hypnotherapy can help you minimise stress, and to understand how it affects our mindset and behaviour patterns around food, guiding you toward a more healthy and rewarding experience of life where you are in control of your eating.
Weight can be gained from habits like simply eating too much, eating the wrong types of high-calorie foods, eating too late at night, comfort eating, living too sedentary a lifestyle etc. A lot of these bad habits are stress or anxiety related and become entrenched over the years.
Many of us have tried numerous different diets in the quest to lose weight. These can be unsuccessful as they don’t focus on how you, as an individual, manage stress and how you live your life.
We will work together to find the reason you are finding it difficult to control your weight and together we will find a focus that will inspire and encourage you.
By looking at your life and the easy adjustments you can make, achievable goals are set together so you have the best chance of succeeding in making a lasting change.
Chronic pain is experienced by a large number of people. Various estimates suggest around 1 in 7 of us are living with a chronic pain condition.
It can affect your whole life and can produce an environment of hopelessness, depression, sleep disturbance and isolation. Personal relationships can also suffer as a result.
Unlike acute pain, which signals a warning of harm to the body, chronic pain serves no biological purpose. Our brains process these pain signals differently. Causes of chronic pain are many and varied and this type of pain is often resistant to traditional pain killers.
Hypnotherapy can help you to understand what happens in the brain when we experience chronic pain, whilst reducing the anxiety and fear around the condition. It can have a restorative effect on how you perceive this type of pain and can help put you back in control of the situation.
Most people dislike needles, but a true needle phobia feels overwhelming and uncontrollable to patients.
Needle phobia is a relatively recently defined medical condition that affects at least 10% of the population. There are several different types of this phobia.
Needle phobia can result in sufferers avoiding seeing the doctor or dentist when they need to and therefore not getting the health care they need in a timely way.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps you to understand what is happening in the brain when you experience this phobia. Working together we can create a different experience, based on your best hopes, and then form a plan with mechanisms to help you cope better with the situation.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common, functional disorder of the digestive system and gut that causes the bowel to be very sensitive. The condition causes recurring pain or discomfort in the abdomen and often, the nerves and muscles do not work as they should.
Hypnotherapy for IBS can help you learn relaxation techniques, as well as learning new ways to manage stress.
Our state of mind can have an impact on our physical well-being. Therefore the tension, stress and anxiety often caused by IBS may undermine the immune system and further compromise health.
Symptoms can include:
pain and discomfort in the abdomen
Learning how to relax and manage stressful feelings can become useful life tools. Hypnosis can help to promote positive thinking and develop coping strategies. I can help you recognise the problem and access your unconscious mind to lower the emotional link to the distressing physical symptoms.
A number of clinical studies have found hypnotherapy for IBS to be an effective treatment. Suggested benefits include improved well-being and quality of life, as well as reduced constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pain.
Hypnotherapy for IBS is now recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a possible treatment.