Living in this twenty-first century can be a barrage of anxiety and worry. Many of us struggle with workplace stress, and we worry about global issues, climate change, crime, poverty, financial tension, aging, health issues, and so on. It seems as though daily we are faced with something that promotes stress and worry.
With the culmination of any of the above, it’s no wonder at least forty million Americans are diagnosed with chronic anxiety disorders. At least four million of those take medication to combat their anxiety.
When we become anxious, we are often thinking about the future and anticipating something that has not yet happened. We get fixated in fear, worrying about possible negative things that might occur. This negative imagination about the future stirs up intensified emotions as we anticipate danger, either real or imagined. We’re experiencing a fantasy of the future rather than being present, right here, right now. And it is in the present moment that we can experience the art of calm.
The good news is that there are many approaches available to help us let go of these habitual patterns, and allow us to learn to rest more in the present moment. One such approach is hypnosis.
What is Hypnosis?
What exactly is hypnosis? Definitions vary, but the American Psychological Association describes hypnosis as a “cooperative interaction in which the participant responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist.”
Hypnosis is safe form of relaxed, focused concentration. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. When one is in a relaxed state, the subconscious mind, which we operate from at least 90% of the time, surfaces and has the ability to absorb, retain, and accept post hypnotic suggestions. These are positive statements for change to occur. When using hypnosis for anxiety, suggestions are given that one’s anxiety and fears will be reduced.
Hypnosis is a simple technique. Once you learn it, you can use it on your own whenever you like.
The hypnotherapist serves as a guide or facilitator to assist the client to relax through the practice of diaphragmatic breathing, aka belly breathing. As the client becomes more and more relaxed, they may begin to experience two different streams of activity; both conscious and subconscious. As these states alternate the client may feel as if they are drifting in and out of an altered state.
How Does it Feel?
The experience of hypnotherapy is very individual. Some people feel a heaviness, others a lightness or tingling. There is no right or wrong way to experience it, just your own unique way. However a majority of clients report feelings of being relaxed and calm. It’s also an option to have sessions recorded so they can be listened to later on. This helps deepen and stabilize the results of the sessions.
It’s important to note that contrary to popular misconception, the hypnotherapist has absolutely no control over the subject. The subject is always in control, safe and protected. The hypnotherapist cannot perform actions against your will.
The calm that is possible through hypnosis can be a powerful resource for anxiety relief. It can offer an opening to your heart and soul, an expansion that goes beyond the troubled thoughts of stressful times. Hypnosis can bring you back to your center, the core essence of who you are. Over time you can learn to catch anxiety when it first starts to come on, to breath into it, and to recall the calm you’ve experienced with the help of hypnosis. It won’t always work, but it can be a valuable tool in helping you ease struggles with anxiety.