Dan Regan Hypnotherapy & Coaching

Anxiety & Your Imagination - Dan Regan Hypnotherapy Vlog:

This is the transcript page to my hypnotherapy vlog about anxiety and your imagination. You can watch this awesome hypnotherapy video by clicking on this image:

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Hello, Dan here. I hope you're good. And today I just want say a few words about anxiety and your imagination. This past weekend I took the family down to Rochester in Kent for the Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival. Absolutely fantastic experience. If you've never been to one of their Dickens Festivals, they have a summer one and a winter one. I love them. I love the fact that you walk down their kind of main street, there are people there, you can see Scrooge is there, Fagin is there, there's every character you can think of, there's Miss Haversham, two or three of them. You walk down the street and it's a bit like going back in time to that kind of period. There's street entertainment, we saw a great band playing, an absolutely fantastic kind of rhyming kind of very funny version of A Christmas Carol, snow machine, everything. They don't have that in the summer one.

What really struck me is when we look at the Dickens novels, what Dickens did is he took aspects of his life and the times around him, things he saw, things he heard about, people he met, and he transformed those into those fantastic stories that pretty much most of us know today. They've endured all this time and I think a large part of that is because they're very real, they're real people, based on people, places. You see all those kind of plaques outside buildings - this bit of this story was filmed here, was written about this room here, or this meeting took place, or so and so who appeared in this novel lived here and it really is fantastic. It's a bit like going back in time. Absolutely wonderful.

But what Dickens did, he took that realism, he took those things around him to make those fantastic stories and I think that is one of the reasons that we really enjoy them now is because they are very real even though they're set in a different time obviously, a different period, we can really relate to those people and what's going on and all the kind of details, and how it all intertwines, fantastic stories. Yet he did that in his imagination, he took those real things, he took those things around him, used his imagination and created those kind of tales, wove them all together in that way that we still enjoy today, whether that's in films or in the actual books.

Anxiety can be a bit like that. If you're struggling with anxiety, all that emotion feeds into your imagination and you find yourself running all sorts of worse case scenarios through your mind. The more anxious you feel, the more of those things tend to be there and we can get very focussed with that anxiety on that kind of worse case. A lot of the other stuff just goes out of our mind, this is going to happen, what if this happens, it's going to be terrible, and bang, bang, bang, I'm going lose my house, I'm going to lose my family, my life is over, what if this happens, what if I feel anxious when I go and do this, what if I mess up in that interview, what if this person doesn't like me, what if I say the wrong thing, all those kinds of things. The more anxiety there is, the more it drives all those kind of things.

And when we think back to those kind of times I was talking about with Dickens, Dickens took real life, imagined stuff, in that kind of way that made them stories. Anxiety takes real life, the people, the places, the situations that are around you right now and distorts them through your imagination into all sorts of worst cases. And we know anxiety is doing that, it's kind of protecting us to avoid us feeling bad and yet it can be very overwhelming and we can get really stuck in that pattern of feeling those feelings, thinking those thoughts, and either having to endure them or avoiding stuff in that way.

So we want to recognise, a bit like with the Dickens stuff, that just because we imagine something, just because we think it, doesn't make it fact in any way whatsoever. We can imagine all sorts of stuff, crazy stuff, things that haven't been invented yet. When I was a kid, I used to imagine what it would be like to walk on ceilings, if everything was upside down. We still have that kind of imagination. It's a wonderful thing. It means we can plan, we can think ahead, even basic stuff, what am I going to wear later, what will I do if it rains, what am I going to have for dinner, what sounds the nicest on this menu, we use our imagination in those kind of contexts, but of course with anxiety, we need to remember that, just like a good Dickens story, these are just things in our imagination, they are not facts, we don't have to get emotionally involved in that way, we can keep that separation like we do when we watch a good film, or read a good book. We can get really absorbed in it, we're imagining kind of stuff, particularly reading novels. We bring it to life in our minds, if it's a good novel, that's why we can look forward to the next day going back to it.

Yet just because we can do that, means that we can keep that separation in our minds, that this is not fact. We can learn to calm down those emotions which starts to take away a lot of the worst case you imagined anyway. But, also, even when we imagine stuff, we want to really keep in mind that this is not fact, this is my imagination portraying its perspective, it's thinking what might happen and just because that's one option that might happen, there are many other options, it's the future, if we think about anxiety we're generally thinking about stuff that might happen in the future. There are many other options - so come up with more options - if that was the worst case, what was the best case, what was one of those in between. Just because we think it, we don't want to buy into it. We can interrupt it, we can redirect it, certainly calm down those emotions but certainly we want to keep that perspective of although we can get lost in a good story, it is just a story, it doesn't have to have that ending.

And as you learn to take control of anxiety, you can turn the page and start a fresh chapter, a new novel, all those kind of metaphors. But certainly there's a lot that can be done to calm that anxiety, but always remember anxiety drives your imagination down that path, and just because you think it, doesn't make it fact, doesn't mean you have to buy into it, so rein it back, bring it back to the now, be in the present and you'll find yourself feeling a lot better very quickly. So I'm going to leave you with that. You take care of yourself and I will speak to you soon. Take care now.

Dan Regan

10 December 2018 

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