Everyone worries, but some people worry more than others. When worry is excessive, people may develop generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Generalized anxiety disorder can make day-to-day life a real struggle. If you’re constantly worrying about past or present difficulties, or about things that might go wrong in the future, it becomes hard to think straight, or to keep things in perspective. Hypnosis is an excellent method for calming down inappropriate anxiety and re-train your mind and body to feel calmer in the situations that would have once caused you to worry.
Some people with generalized anxiety say it feels like their mind is constantly whirring, and the tiniest mishap can set them off worrying. Sometimes the anxiety can seem to come out of nowhere. I’ve worked with some clients who had disrupted sleep, where they would wake up in the middle of the night feeling anxious, and they weren’t even sure what they were anxious about. And then there are the physical symptoms, such as headaches, breathing difficulties, sweating or nausea.
In evolutionary terms, any ‘anxiety’ that a person experiences is a straightforward physical process. The body is simply getting ready either to fight a predator or to run away. Our nervous system evolved over millions of years to respond to potential threats like an encounter with a lion by speeding up our breathing and heart-rate, releasing adrenaline and then cortisol into our bloodstream, and diverting resources towards the muscles, to prepare us for an immediate fight or a rapid escape. In fact, it’s probably more appropriate to call this process the ‘muscle priming response’ than ‘anxiety’.
But while this ‘muscle priming’ is very useful for escaping a hungry lion, it’s less than helpful for dealing with many of the challenges of modern life, such as managing your money, dealing with conflict at work or at home, or sitting in endless traffic jams. And it has a number of negative side effects if it goes on too long.
One consequence of long-term anxiety is that it can suppress a person’s immune system, so they catch more colds, and may develop digestive problems. This is because, as far as their body is concerned, there is a lion about to attack, so fighting off a cold or digesting lunch can wait till later. Another consequence is that it’s difficult to think clearly and rationally when you’re anxious, because the ‘muscle priming response’ is all about making very quick life-or-death decisions to escape from physical danger, not about carefully analyzing a situation in depth and planning for the long term.
Hypnosis is an excellent method for calming down inappropriate anxiety, because in hypnosis it’s easy to relax very deeply, and from that repeated state of deep relaxation, you can re-train your mind and body to feel calmer in the situations that would have once caused you to worry. Hypnotherapy embeds into your unconscious mind a number of tried and tested principles for dealing with anxiety that have helped many people feel so much calmer and more confident in their day to day life and get over their anxiety for good.
If you are in Los Angeles and suffering from anxiety, I invite you to contact me about the suitability of your needs and hypnotherapy as an agent of your change.
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