The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment For Anxiety:

Anyone who has browsed through the articles on my website will soon pick up that helping people to overcome anxiety is one of my main passions.

Having been there and struggled with anxiety in the past, I know the all encompassing nature of those unwanted thoughts and feelings that seem to grow more and more out of control. I also know from my own personal experience, from the feedback of my anxiety hypnotherapy clients and from research, that hypnotherapy can be very effective as a treatment for anxiety. 

Anxiety problems and anxiety disorders are some of the most impairing and limiting mental health conditions that you can struggle with. They are also one of the most common mental health issues that impact upon people at some point in their lives.  All of which means that having effective treatments for anxiety available is more important than ever, both for you as an individual and much more widely too.

Hypnosis has been scientifically demonstrated to offer very effective help with a whole range of issues and conditions. However, whilst more and more controlled studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of hypnosis in alleviating anxiety in areas such as general anxiety, dental anxiety, medical anxiety and performance anxiety, there has never been a meta-analysis quantifying the overall effectiveness of hypnosis as a treatment for anxiety. 

Pretty hot of the presses (the research was published in July 2019), we now have that analysis. A recent thorough study has now quantified the effectiveness of hypnosis for reducing anxiety by conducting a meta-analysis of all controlled studies of hypnotherapy for anxiety and has published the results.

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Overcoming Driving Anxiety - My Latest Video Hypnotherapy Testimonial:

Driving anxiety is one of the most common anxiety and fear related things that I help people with. Whereas you can try and avoid some things that cause you anxiety, like flying or public speaking, pretty much everyone needs to get in a car at some point.

And of course, driving anxiety can vary greatly from person to person. I've worked with those who haven't driven much for a long period and find themselves getting anxious and worried even thinking about driving, let alone getting behind the wheel. And there are those who struggle and dread even being a passenger in a car, perhaps particularly on faster roads.

You may find that local roads are generally ok as the speed is much slower, there are places to pull over and you know your way around a bit. Yet when it comes to faster roads, like motorways and dual carriageways, most people with driving anxiety find that their fear, dread and worry rockets. Everything moves so much quicker, there is more to think about and you can't just stop and pull over if you feel like you want to. People often feel trapped and out of control as their mind races to process everything going on within and around them. The anxiety can be so great that you may decide to avoid them altogether if you can, even if that means taking a much longer route.  

And all of that driving anxiety and fear can cause stress, worry and frustration, particularly if it stops you going places or doing the things you want to do.

As you'll have gathered from the title of this article, I've got a new hypnotherapy testimonial video that I'm excited to share with you today from someone who overcame their driving anxiety and is now confidently driving anywhere they want to .

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Why You Should Be Kind To Yourself - The Benefits of Self-Compassion:

Do you find it easy and natural to be kind to yourself? Are you able to reassure yourself in times of adversity? Or perhaps you have a tendency to be self-critical, pointing out every perceived mistake you make and feeling like you don't even like who you are.

I work with many people who have a habitual tendency to be harsh towards themselves and who judge themselves negatively. And it can be associated with many mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. There are certainly few benefits to be gained, and not much respite to be had, from living your life being your own harshest critic. 

That's not to say that you need to strut about thinking that you are the best thing since sliced bread, yet being kind to yourself and exercising self-compassion has many benefits that mean you can encourage yourself, feel comfortable in your own skin and reassure yourself when dealing with challenges or adversity.

It can be easy, when things go wrong, or when faced with adversity or rejection, to turn the blame and criticism inwards and be harsh with yourself. However, a relatively recent piece of research has added to the study of the benefits of self-compassion which adds to the weight of knowledge about why you should be kind to yourself and develop self-compassion. 

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Overcoming Anxiety & Fear after Serious Road Traffic Accident:

There's no doubt that being involved in a serious road traffic accident can have huge consequences upon your life. I've helped people who were in a car, driving or as a passenger, that was involved in an accident and the shock and panic experienced stops them getting back into a vehicle. 

Once a panic attack has been experienced in any situation, the anxiety and worry about having another one, combined with the dread and worry about the situation itself, can be enough to lead to avoidance and other safety seeking behaviours. 

One client I have helped, and whose video testimonial is below, came to me after being involved in a serious road traffic accident as a cyclist. One minute she was enjoying cycling down a country road as part of training for an upcoming event, then in a flash of a moment, she found herself having been thrown off her bike, a car having hit her from behind.

Not only did she have the physical injuries to recover from, and come to terms with, she also had the anxiety, fear and worry about whether she would ever be able to get back on her bike again and dealing with the often difficult consequences on her life as a result of the accident. Her story is massively inspirational and this lady is well worth paying attention to for how far she has come since that fateful day.

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Hypnotherapy for Stress Relief - New Video Testimonial:

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and I've come across many posts online from people struggling with stress and anxiety in their lives. I even caught a minute of something on TV the other night where a fisherman was talking about how he values the time just sitting in nature away from the seemingly ever increasing demands and pace of modern life.

It was only recently that I wrote about using nature for stress relief and improving mental health, and time and time again my clients will tell me how much they benefit from getting out for a walk in nature and finding time to unwind for a while (you can find that post here: Using Nature To Reduce Stress and Boost Mental Health).

Recently I was working with Ben to help him to reduce his stress and to stop overthinking. After our sessions he very kindly recorded the video testimonial you can find below.

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Could writing about your anxiety help reduce it? Journaling for Anxiety Relief:

Using journals seems to have become very much a thing these days. Just a quick search on Amazon shows results including claims that using the journal can help you believe in yourself more, become happier, increase personal wellbeing, deal with your past, have a more meaningful life, soothe stress, eliminate anxiety and achieve your goals (amongst many other advertised benefits).

So could journaling and writing about your anxiety, stress and mental health really help you to reduce anxiety and feel better?

Certainly writing down the things on their minds is something I've used with my kids at times over the years. Sometimes they may not want to talk about what is troubling them or struggle to put it into words or perhaps there isn't enough privacy to do so at that time (what with the four of us hustling and bustling about the place). Somehow writing it down has made it easier for them to think through what it is that is on their mind and making them anxious and to be able to get it out of their head and onto paper.

As a parent it really is helpful to have an idea of what they may be overthinking about, and to understand where that anxiety fits in the grand scheme of things. At one time my eldest would use one of those 'worry eater' soft toys to help her to handle challenges she was facing.

Writing down the anxious thoughts and feelings we are experiencing has been associated with improvements in mental health yet how can we make the best use of journaling and writing about anxiety related experience?

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Using Nature To Reduce Stress and Boost Mental Health:

Exposure to nature has great benefits, particularly towards our sense of mental well-being and mental health. Yet until some research published this month, the duration of time required to benefit from being around nature was less clear.

This was the first study to employ long term, repeated assessment and, rather than being prescriptive, participants were able to choose the time of day, duration and the place of their nature experience based upon personal preference and changing daily schedules. In this way, it was much more like 'real-life' than a laboratory controlled experiment to assess the impact of a nature experience on stress (using two physiological saliva biomarkers).

Now I don't know about you but I love those moments where you can find a peaceful spot in nature away from all the usual hustle and bustle, noise and demands of everyday life. About forty minutes down the road from me there is an RSPB nature reserve which is a wonderful place to find that sense of tranquility and peace, even if like me, bird watching is not high up on your list. 

As a family we've recently rejoined the National Trust and although these sorts of places can get crowded sometimes, there is usually some woodland of secluded natural space to wander around and explore. The other weekend we headed over to Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds to grab some family time in nature away from screens and shops.

Now, as it happens peace and quiet weren't quite the order of that day because there was a Napoleonic Way re-enactment going on (think cannons, soldiers and guns!). That said, it was a great experience to stand, watch and enjoy the re-enactment. Certainly it was a lovely mental escape to just be present, watch and enjoy without a million other distractions and thoughts going on (a different form of being present and mindful!). I think you've got to be impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of all involved (particularly as they camped out in the wind, cold and rain all weekend to put their passion into practice).

Yet, in the absence of a full scale mock war, how can you use the latest research to improve your own mental health and well-being and to reduce stress in your daily life?

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Anxiety and The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health:

Recently the Royal College of Psychiatrists advised their members to consider the impact of social media on all children they assess for mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

To be honest I like to think that most psychiatrists, like other mental health professionals, were already doing this with both children and adults, because these days social media use, apps and other online sources form part of most people's everyday lifestyle in some way. So if you are doing a thorough job of discussing with someone when they experience their anxiety, what triggers it, what exacerbates it and what can ease it, technology is probably going to be in there somewhere.

That's not to say that all social media and online stuff is necessarily harmful to mental health, yet it makes sense to consider whether it is either a negative or a positive thing for you.

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Is Sedentary Behaviour Affecting your physical and mental health?

I've written many times before about the value of exercise and getting moving to boost your physical and mental health. In my own life my exercise is now a central part of how I prioritise my physical and mental health and I can really notice the difference if I miss my training for a while.

Yet it isn't just because I enjoy it that I promote getting moving; it's because research upon research demonstrates that getting active brings benefits physically and mentally. Getting moving and exercise improve our mental health, boost our mood, can reduce symptoms of depression and help reduce anxiety. 

As if that wasn't enough a recently published report looked at the impact of sedentary behaviour in the UK and, in looking at the cost burden on the NHS of sedentary lifestyles, once again highlighted the negative impacts on health.

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Challenging Anxious Thinking to Reign in Anxiety:

Anxiety can take pretty much most things in life and ramp up those anxious thoughts and feelings until they dominate your mind. And it really could be anything that ignites the anxiety, from a remark someone says, the way someone looks at you or a particular event or situation. Before you know it you just can't switch off from it and it starts to have an impact on you.

Recently, I had a health 'thing' that had all the potential to explode into a great ball of anxiety, and which, I'm pretty certain, would have done so in the past when anxiety was a big part of who I was. It was the sort of health thing that clients have told me about and which can affect them whether they have general anxiety or health anxiety problems.

Now, one thing that clients often remark upon is how calm I always seem. No matter what is going on, they tell me, I seem to have this aura of calmness about me. In fact, only a week or so ago, one client asked me whether anything ever bothers me or makes me anxious! 

As much as I admire Sherlock Holmes and his critical reasoning abilities, I'm not a robot and we are all meant to experience emotion that is appropriate to what we are facing. Yet, I also know that by developing the ability to challenge anxious thinking it is possible to learn how to stop habitual anxiety provoking thought patterns from leading us to a place of massive, unwanted anxiety.

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