Anxiety Help in Ely and Newmarket - Dan Regan Hypnotherapy

When you struggle with anxiety, it can seem like there's no escape from all those unwanted thoughts and unpleasant feelings. Those intrusive thoughts, filled with worst case scenarios, negativity and dread can dominate your mind and your thinking. And those uncomfortable anxious feelings just lead to more worry and uncertainty.

It can be exhausting trying to cope with everything you are battling with internally, as you try and get through each situation or each day. 

And, of course, the natural reaction to anxiety and dread is to avoid things, to get out of them or get away from them as quickly as possible. Yet that avoidance just exacerbates anxiety and means that the same unwanted pattern keeps repeating over and over. 

Whether your anxiety is about something specific, like work or social situations, or is much more generalised, anxiety has a way of creating its own cycle of misery. You feel anxious and struggle with negative thoughts and you avoid things or have to struggle through them. There may be moments of relief when you feel a bit better, but that same anxiety pattern comes right back at you when faced with a similar situation or circumstance again.

In fact, because anxiety is so unpleasant you may even start to dread the anxiety itself and worry about being anxious, all of which just adds to that internal mixing pot of unwanted thoughts and feelings. It could be said that the more anxiety you experience, the more anxiety you will experience. It can take over, stop you thinking straight, keep you awake at night, make you feel tense and sick, destroy your confidence in yourself and curtail your ability to engage in things and enjoy the things that you used to.  

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Disputing Your Irrational Anxious Thoughts

There can be few greater simple pleasures than spending half an hour or so reading at night before going to sleep. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved reading detective stories, with anything containing Sherlock Holmes always being a favourite (in fact, I seem to recall that I based my English GCSE exam story composition upon a Sherlock Holmes story I'd been reading beforehand!). Agatha Christie's Poirot is another favourite, and I love anything in the British Library Crime Classics collection. 

In these stories there's no need for excessive violence, there are no computers or mobile phones or DNA to call upon, and it's all based upon deduction and reasoning to bring the plot to a successful conclusion. Perhaps it was this love of the logic and rational thinking and reasoning that led me to study my law degree (or maybe it was watching LA Law on TV, if you're old enough to remember that one!).

Poirot calls upon his 'little grey cells' to evaluate, analyse and solve cases, and there's perhaps no detective more famous that Sherlock Holmes for rational thinking and calling upon the facts (although he never actually says 'Elementary, my dear Watson' in any of the Conan Doyle stories).  

And so I was delighted and excited recently when I found out that my daughter's English class were studying Victorian Crime and Detective Stories, and particularly Sherlock Holmes' stories. I'd have loved that at her age, and even now I would happily go and sit at the back of the class so I could listen in! Ah here, I thought, was a shared thing that my daughter and I would be able to discuss and dissect with a shared passion for old detective fiction. Only it turned out she wasn't that bothered about the stories, so that was the end of that! 

So why am I talking about these great-thinking detectives here today? It's because very often, inside our own minds, our thinking gets distorted, generalised, embellished, catastrophised and we suffer from all sorts of thinking errors and biases. We can jump to conclusions, give meaning to things, make assumptions about what other people are thinking, make erroneous predictions, catastrophise and imagine and create all sorts of worst-case scenarios. Emotions like anxiety can lead to these kinds of negative and irrational thoughts, and the thoughts (which may or may not be accurate) can create emotions like anxiety.  

If you struggle with anxiety then you will be familiar with the overthinking, worst-case scenarios and 'what if' thoughts. Your anxiety can latch onto a train of thought and before you know it, it has been amplified and magnified inside your head and your anxious feelings increase.  An initial thought can move down that rabbit hole of thinking that moves further and further away from the current situation, and where things get worse and worse in your mind. 

So there is certainly benefit in bringing thoughts back to the present, and to the facts, rather than letting emotions like anxiety, stress, fear and worry take over. To take control over our thinking and feel better in ourselves, perhaps we all need to think a bit more like Sherlock in these moments when he said, "whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things" (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign Of Four). 

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Hypnotherapy For Anxiety in Ely - Client Video Review

My own personal experience of hypnotherapy for overcoming anxiety, and the many, many people I've helped with hypnotherapy to find freedom from anxiety (many of whom have kindly left reviews on this website), provide ample evidence of how effective hypnotherapy for anxiety can be. Rather than being ruled by your anxious thoughts and feelings, you can take back control and start feeling happier and better in yourself.

We also have the scientific research to support its effectiveness in alleviating anxiety. The review, which looked at the overall effectiveness of hypnosis as a treatment for anxiety, found that hypnosis is a highly effective intervention for anxiety (Valentine, Milling, Clark and Moriarty, 2019).

From the evidence they concluded that:

"The findings of this meta-analysis show that hypnosis is a highly effective intervention for anxiety. Our results indicate the average participant treated with hypnosis achieved more anxiety reduction than about 79% of control participants at the end of active treatment and about 84% of controls at the longest follow-up".

That's a hugely significant and impressive level of effectiveness. And once you add in other potentially positive factors, such as individual support around your own needs and working face to face with a therapist, alongside all of the other strategies and techniques that I've covered in the articles on this website, the likelihood of a positive outcome can only be enhanced. 

Certainly that's the experience of a client who has very kindly shared a video of her experience of our sessions of hypnotherapy for anxiety and panic attacks.

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Boost Your Well-being and Reduce Negative Thoughts and Feelings

I hope you are keeping safe and doing well. It's hard to believe how quickly this year is racing by!  I hope that you have been able to stay safe and healthy during lockdown and the pandemic, and that you are doing well as things open back up again. And if you've had your jab then I hope you didn't suffer as much as I did for the few days after mine!
 
One of the best things about lockdown easing is that, as effective as online hypnotherapy continues to be, it's wonderful to be able to now meet people in person at my locations in Ely and Newmarket. Welcome back! I've missed you!
 
Outside work I've been keeping busy with my running and continuing to learn the guitar, as well as having lots of fun with my girls (and the odd stern word too!). Within work, I've had time to write many articles that can help you to boost your sense of well-being, positivity and optimism, as well as helping you to reduce anxious and negative thoughts and feelings. I've highlighted a few of these later on in this article to bring them together in one place for you.  
 

Developing a Positive Mindset: Turning Negative Thoughts To Positive

Could you do with developing a more positive mindset? Thinking negatively can lead to you feeling low, down or anxious. The more those thoughts fill your mind, and the more time, energy and focus you give them, the worse you can end up feeling.

What's more, the more low or anxious you feel, the more of those thoughts there tend to be, leading to a cycle of not feeling particularly great. You may also find yourself thinking about all the things that could go wrong and then talking yourself out of taking action on the things you want to do.

Your habitual thinking patterns develop over time and from experience. The more negatively you think, the more low, down, stressed and anxious you feel, and the more it colours and feeds into your attitude, expectations and how you typically think, feel, act and react.

That's not to say that you should switch to always thinking positively and being uplifted into every moment. That could be equally exhausting and limiting. And there are times when it is reasonable and appropriate to feel a bit low or negative about some specific thing you are experiencing.

Yet the more you can undermine and replace habitual, unnecessary, casual negative thoughts, the more positive your mental attitude and mood will be, and you feel better in yourself. You can start to feel  more positive about life, yourself and the future, and to feel self-assured enough to believe in yourself and your abilities, and to take action on your goals. 

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Reducing Anxiety and Take Control Over Your Thoughts and Feelings

There's no doubt that the pandemic has had a massive impact upon many people's mental health and well-being. There has been stress, worry and anxiety through the many stages of restrictions, lockdowns and opening up that have taken place over the months. 

You can find many articles about the mental health impact of the pandemic on this website, and I've written about anxiety, fear, sleep problems and alcohol consumption, among other things. Covid 19 related anxiety, stress and worry has become a serious psychological issue.

If your mental health has been impacted upon by the pandemic then you may well be experiencing elevated levels of anxiety, stress or health anxiety. And I've certainly been helping people who are finding the removal of restrictions and the opening up of more aspects of our 'normal' lives to be causing problematic anxiety. Covid 19 anxiety syndrome can lead to avoidance, checking and heightened levels of worry and distress.

Covid 19 anxiety syndrome can involve issues such as avoiding public places (such a shops) due to the fear of contracting coronavirus, checking yourself (and others) for symptoms of Covid-19, becoming absorbed in news about the virus at the cost of getting on with other things, and imagining what could happen to family members if they contracted coronavirus (Nikčević and Spada, 2020). In essence, this anxiety syndrome, whilst pertaining specifically to Covid-19, involves the usual elements of anxiety, with avoidance, excessive worry, a heightened awareness of potential threat and all the accompanying unwanted thoughts and feelings.

Many of these anxiety issues may well continue to affect you even after the pandemic has passed, as anxiety certainly has a tendency to filter and generalise onto other aspects of what you think, feel and do. The good news, however, is that it is definitely possible to reduce your anxiety, interrupt unwanted thought processes and feelings, and to take back control over your thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions in ways that mean that you feel calm, confident and in control. 

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Mental Health Awareness Week - Mental Health and Nature

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the focus is all about  noticing nature and making a habit of connecting to nature every day. Of course, every day of every year should be about helping and supporting everyone to promote their good mental health and well-being (along with their good physical health too), yet an awareness week helps to remind us all of the importance of self-care and looking after ourselves better.

Spending time in nature has a lot of research to support its benefits for your mental health. It can help you to reduce your anxiety and stress levels, and can help boost your mental health and well-being.  I certainly find that running and walking in nature helps me to feel calmer, more positive and boosts my own sense of well-being (and exercise, such as walking or running, helps with mental health too).

In my opinion, few things beat finding a nice quiet place to enjoy and explore nature on a nice day. Getting away from the usual daily load at home and work, and switching off from screens, means you can just focus on the sights, smells and sounds of what is going on around you.   

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Anxiety Triggers and The Covid Vaccine

The other Saturday I went and queued in line to have my Covid vaccine jab. It was a beautiful sunny day so I walked there and joined the line of about thirty people, all calmly waiting our turn to get the jab. 

I felt good that day. I'd been for a lovely ten mile run along the river and was pleased with how strongly I ran. I walked the five mile round trip to get my vaccine. I came home feeling fine and then later I felt quite tired but nothing else.

By the early hours I was shivering, burning up, moaning, unsettled, uncomfortable and feeling like I'd been hit by a truck! I know some people had no reactions to their Covid jab, but I was knocked for six. For someone who had run ten miles the day before, I struggled to sit up in bed to have a drink! And it's no secret in our house (just ask my wife) that I'm a very bad patient indeed! My kids did me more than proud though while I was out of action (and my wife had a reaction to the jab too) and did things together nicely, fetched and carried and were all around pleasant and helpful (apart from the sniggering because they've never seen me so ill and incapable before!).   

The jab itself is a doddle. Answer a few questions about medical type things (most of which I'd never even heard of) and within a painless second it's all over and they give you the 'I've had my Covid vaccination' sticker and send you on your way. If you do struggle with things like needles and injections though, get in touch because I can help you with that. 

However, vaccinations and needles aside, there was one thing during my appointment that reminded me of an old anxiety trigger that really used to get to me and send my anxiety soaring. 

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Clearing Out The Mental Trash To Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Worry

With so much information coming our way each day, and so many sources of information, opinion, commentary and fact that we encounter, it's no wonder that sometimes it just seems too much. We can feel bombarded with negativity, argument, speculation, opinion and more. Sometimes we deliberately think and talk about some of these things, yet other times  things just seem to get inside our heads and go around and around, often gathering momentum as they do so.

So many people that I work with for overthinking, anxiety, stress and worry describe how their mind seems full, how it never seems able to switch off, and how they find their heads filled with all sorts of thoughts. And on top of this, when there is emotion attached (as with anxiety, stress and worry), it can really exacerbate things.

It could be someone else's opinion that gets into your head and leaves you doubting yourself and questioning things. It could be some world event that you find yourself thinking about. And you may well find your mind is full of things outside of your control, things form the past, imaginings about the future, little things that seem like big things, small things you even know you don't need to be thinking about. And there can be a whole range of other negative, limiting, depressing, anxious thoughts that dominate and occupy your thinking.  

All these things can get inside your mind and become part of your thinking processes and can influence how you feel in unwanted ways. That means we all need effective ways to 'de-clutter' our minds, to interrupt unhelpful thought patterns and to take out the mental trash that contributes to your anxiety, stress and worry. 

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Reappraising Negative Emotional Memories: How To Reduce Distress From Past Events

Life can throw all sorts of challenges and problems our way. Sometimes it can feel like we are hurtling from one problem to another, and at other times, just as it seems everything is settled, something else crops up to occupy us. Perhaps the only certainty (apart from death and taxes!) is that we will face problems and challenges as we navigate our way through life.

To help us face life's challenges, we can develop our confidence and self-esteem, our resilience, positivity, optimism and ability to be in control over our thoughts and feelings. We can get better at problem solving, at letting go of things we can't control and at how quickly and effectively we recover and move on from stressful events we encounter.

Often we move on from these challenges over time, and the emotions attached to them wither and deplete. Time can lessen the initial emotional impact; we make sense of what happened, we find solutions and plenty of other things come along to occupy our attention. And there are plenty of therapeutic strategies and techniques that can help to lessen emotions on past events and to help you feel better when you think back, and as you progress forwards.

We have all encountered negative emotional events in our lives, whether it's the death of a loved one, illness, an argument, a perceived failure of some kind, or something else. Our memories are our perceptions of past events and how we think about things can change over time and based on how we feel right now. If you feel bad or low then that will colour how you think back upon events in your life and those feelings can lead to more negative thoughts, feelings and memories that match that feeling coming to mind. And when you feel better in yourself, those past things may not carry the same weight and you may find it easier to think back upon earlier negative things (and easier to recall more positive things too).

When I used to struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem, I could easily recall many, many past events that I consider negative, most of which involved (in my view) me making an idiot of myself in some way. It used to be that anytime I thought back on one of these things I felt a pang of regret and embarrassment. Now, if I think back on them much at all, I shrug, remind myself that was back then and move on with my day.

Here today I'm covering recent research that provides you with a way to reflect on your own capabilities, to boost your self-efficacy and resilience, and to reduce distress on negative emotional memories. 

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