We have every reason to be fearful and anxious if we run into a lion, tiger, or bear, in fact without the ability of our fear response in a situation like this our chances of survival are going to be pretty slim...
Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energised muscles, among other things. This is also known as the fight, flight, freeze response. This response will give you the best chance of surviving a real dangerous situation. It is your primitive instinct and its main purpose is to keep you alive. If you come face to face with a Lion for example, you definitely want your primitive survival part of the brain to help you out! The adrenaline can make you faster, and stronger! So why is it that you suffer with anxiety or fear in situations that are not really going to cause you any real danger? The amygdala. This is our trusty internal alarm associated with the primitive part of your brain that sends out the signals to let your mind and body know you are in a crisis, emergency or dangerous situation. The problem is for many people this alarm gets activated in their brain too often, leaving them with an overload of stress chemicals released and an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety in situations it would be much more beneficial to remain rational, calm and confident. The reason for the unnecessary fear and anxiety chemical release is because our conscious, analytical and critical part of the brain is in control of what we perceive as frightening, and our extremely powerful emotional subconscious mind learns from it!
If you read my last blog post 'when life gives you lemons' you may remember that our brain does not know the difference between imagination and reality. We can use this to our advantage with positive visualisation, unfortunately it can also play a disadvantage when we create false beliefs and scenarios about ourselves or situations. EXAMPLE: Driving test ^^^^
Scenario 1: You believe you have learned everything you need to, and you have the ability to pass your test. You feel confident, enter the test confident and remain calm and in control throughout the test, and sail through it nicely. Scenario 2: You think about all the things that could go wrong. You go into the test worrying about the roundabouts. When you approach the roundabout your subconscious remembers this is something to be fearful of, the primitive mind helps you out with the freeze response, you hesitate too long, someone behind beeps and you fail your test. This whole fear response was based and created on a negative thought, creating a problem that most likely wasn't a problem at all. A thought, not a fact. The roundabout could have been completed absolutely fine if you had remained calm and in control. When anxiety becomes overwhelming
The more that stress builds up the harder it is to feel capable and in control of our mind and body, allowing the primitive autonomic mind to keep taking over "to keep us surviving" life. Anxiety creates more overthinking and stress and it becomes a viscous cycle. This can lead to panic attacks, sleep issues and fatigue, social withdrawal, low moods or mood swings, physical illness and pain... among many other symptoms.
How do we change this negative cycle? The good news is, because you trained your brain to be fearful and anxious; you can also re-train it not to be. Old pathways, thinking habits and beliefs can be broken, and new ones formed. Hypnosis allows a hypnotherapist to quieten down the analytical, critical conscious mind and bypass it to access the subconscious mind, where your beliefs, patterns of behaviours and emotional responses are stored. Using techniques and positive suggestion a hypnotherapist can help to change the way you perceive a situation or yourself, and help you to create a positive, calmer and confident cycle of thoughts and responses .
If you would like to learn more about anxiety, fears or phobias and how hypnotherapy can help. Please contact me to book a free consultation. https://www.lauracullingfordhypnotherapy.co.uk/contact-book If you are not in Swindon, Skype sessions are available.