My Go To Two For My Anxiety and Stress

I've lost count over my last decade as a hypnotherapist of how many times people have asked me, because I seem to so calm and upbeat when they meet me, whether I'm always calm or whether anything phases me. Of course some things do push my buttons and there have been times of stress and worry in my life (I'm only human after all!). 

Being a bit of a thinker, I need to keep an eye on where my mental focus and thinking is going sometimes. Thankfully, as with my clients, by learning to not worry about things outside of my control, and to take action (rather than being passive) about things I can control, problems become challenges to find solutions to. On top of that (again, as my clients get to learn), there will always be ways to tackle the kind of stuff that goes on inside your head that help you to cope better with the things you are facing and experiencing.

Recent weeks have been a particularly challenging period with my hypnotherapy practice, not just because of covid-19, but because of the consistent and persistent anti-social behaviour of another tenant in the building. I won't go into all the details but sadly discussion failed to improve things. As I mentioned above, I believe in taking action to deal with life's problems and challenges, so as the other business owner and my landlord have been unable or unwilling to help, I'm going to soon be sharing some super exciting news with you about an awesome new location I'll be operating from (it's a fantastic venue and I can't wait!).  

But in the meantime, I wanted to share my go to two techniques that I always call upon first for anxiety and stress, because they are easy to implement and because they work so well.

Dealing with Anxiety and Stress

When you feel anxious or stressed, those feelings and emotions can drive your thinking into some very uncomfortable, negative places. You may find yourself going over and over the worst case scenario until it seems pretty real in your mind, or you may worry about whether you'll be able to cope with things and what the consequences of that might be for you into the future. And it's always worth keeping in mind that anxiety and stress are things you can inadvertently get better at through unwanted repetition until it seems to just happen in certain situations or circumstances.

Anxiety and stress often come with other impacts, such as a loss of appetite and lack of sleep, so you feel tired and don't have the energy to tackle things or to counter them by doing the things you usually enjoy. It can become a bit of a negative spiral that fills you with dread, tension, fear and worry (and sometimes a feeling there's no way out).

I know with my recent situation that I had to work really hard to keep doing the things that make me feel better (like exercising) and to stop my thoughts from running away into the evening and night-time.

So what are my go to two for dealing with anxiety and stress?

my go to two for anxiety and stress hypnotherapy ely

Well firstly, I've just realised there are three things. If you aren't exercising to strengthen and support your good mental health then you are missing out on one of the most evidence based ways of tackling unwanted thoughts and feelings. Whatever form it takes, get active and persist with it! The science speaks for itself on this one.

And then do these two simple things:

1) 7/11 breathing. Simple and effective; by breathing in for a slow internal count of seven, and out for a slow internal count of eleven, you extend your out breath. That is the opposite of the shallower type breathing we do when anxious or stressed, and it stimulates your relaxation response. There are two key elements with this. Firstly, when you do it, the out breath needs to be longer than the in (so your bell inflates as you breathe in and deflates as your breathe out. Secondly, you need to practice and practice it until it becomes  second nature. Many people wait until they are anxious or stressed up to their eye balls before trying to do something about it and by then it's going to take much, much more time and effort to calm things down. So practice, practice and practice some more when you feel ok and even when you don't need it, so that you get good at it.

2) Counting backwards. Usually counting backwards form 300 in three's is enough for me but you can make it harder if you like! This works on two levels. At one level it's complete mental distraction, so instead of thinking those unwanted, negative thoughts you get busy with numbers (and we know that the more you think anxious thoughts the bigger they grow' inside your head and the more other negative stuff gets dragged in there too). So starve your focus of unwanted things and break it up with counting. Remember it's not a maths exercise! It's a thinking exercise and if you lose track you can just start again (you aren't aiming for zero here). Over a couple of minutes your brain will feel calmer. 

When you are anxious your emotional thinking runs riot, you feel restless, your mind races and you can't settle because your brain wants you to take action to deal with the perceived threat. Yet often there is no action to take because you aren't in the situation and you are just imagining things unhelpfully. You actually shut off your more objective, logical thinking whch is why it's so difficult to reason yourself out of what you are feeling. The counting gets the more objective, logical, rational part of your brain working harder, which in turn signals for the emotions to calm back down. 

Do have a watch of the video version here (click on the image):

My Go To Two For Anxiety Stress Hypnotherapy ely

And even better, both of these things are portable and can be done where ever you are and whoever you are with (they won't have a clue you are physically and mentally calming things down on the inside).

Of course, there are a lot of other strategies and techniques that we can use if you are struggling with anxiety and stress (go grab a free hypnosis download here: Rapid Relaxation Hypnosis Download) yet these two can serve you well as you take back control over your thoughts and feelings. They certainly came in handy for me recently when facing that anti-social behaviour from those downstairs at my office, and who knows, maybe I'll use them to calm my excitement about my awesome, more professional, new location! More details on my new office coming very soon!

To your happiness,

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

 

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