Why Hypnotherapy Helps My Anxiety
About a year ago I wrote a post about Medication when I decided to wean off of my antidepressants. Once I was completely off, my anxiety got much worse. I dealt with panic attacks I hadn’t experienced in many years. So, my experiment was useful but I realized that I needed to go back on medication, even if it was just a small dose because my quality of life was suffering.
I was most frustrated with that fact that, despite all of the work I had put into learning about anxiety and rewiring my thoughts, I was still triggered by the same circumstances. Specifically, my fear of getting sick at a restaurant. It didn’t matter how many times I’d been to a restaurant and felt fine, the fear and stomach ache came up hours and sometimes even days before a restaurant date.
I felt as though the reactions my body had to “threatening situations” were entirely out of my control.
My sister recommended I try hypnotherapy to resolve this. I thought hypnotherapy was a joke, something you only saw in movies with a swinging object that made a person’s eyes swirl black and white and someone saying “You’re getting veeeeeerry sleeeeeepy!” I thought it meant putting a spell on your brain to react to triggers, like the smell of lavender. I thought it meant hypnotizing people to come on stage and say embarrassing things.
But I was determined to try anything, so I went ahead and booked a few sessions.
Hypnotherapy is not at all what I expected. It doesn’t mean losing control of one’s body, it is the exact opposite—it teaches you to be in control.
During my sessions, my therapist would guide me into hypnosis for as long as 60 minutes at a time. Each session had a theme. For instance, one required me to think back to every panic attack I’d ever had and imagine them with upbeat, goofy music and make everything outlandish. The result was that I left the session realizing that all of those instances were meaningless and silly, and I was able to let them go from my mind.
Another session required me to imagine an upcoming scenario that scared me and repeat it in my head over and over again with positive outcomes. I started doing this by myself before big events, like wedding ceremonies and festival shows, and I was able to enjoy myself anxiety-free!
Hypnotherapy has changed my outlook on my anxiety, from something out of my control to something I am 100% in control of. This has made a world of difference.
just like physical health,
Mental health requires consistent exercise
For too long I thought my anxiety was one of those things where I just needed to find the solution and then I could stop working on it. This created a cycle where I would feel better, stop working, then get worse again and feel hopeless. If I were to lift weights until I reached my goal and all of the sudden stop lifting, I’d lose all of my progress!
Everything I’ve done for the past 10 years to work on my anxiety has played a part, and I cannot give them up. They work in harmony.
In short, psychotherapy helps me understand that I suffer from anxiety on a mental and chemical level. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps me understand how my thoughts contribute to my anxiety. Hypnotherapy teaches me how to reduce my anxiety.
All of this, combined with medication, has contributed to me living a happier and healthier life.
my advice for you
You can start hypnotherapy today. There are many free resources online and on YouTube with guided self-hypnosis. Try deep breathing and positive affirmations for 10 minutes before bedtime every night.
Here’s a good video to get you started:
If you live in Edinburgh and are interested in hypnotherapy, contact me and I will happily recommend my therapist to you!
Also, fun fact:
The pioneer of hypnotherapy, James Braid, was Scottish and graduated from the University of Edinburgh!