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Anxiety in Salisbury

Anxiety in Saisbury                                          The Hypnosis Clinic

Let's define what we mean by anxiety. Are we talking about performance anxiety , when a person begins to feel nervous or stressed when thinking about a specific activity, e.g. making a presentation at work or perhaps a social occasion, or are we talking about general anxiety where a person goes through their day with a general sense of unease, not related to any particular activity or occasion? In terms of treatment it is important for us to be clear what we are dealing with. Not being sure what you are anxious about can in itself generate more anxiety and the situation perpetuates itself.

For a confidential discussion call Karen Stanley on 07968 734569 or e-mail


Anxiety is basically caused by poor stress-coping strategies. Many people suffering from anxiety don't actually realise that they have stress-triggers in their lives. Thinking about what makes them anxious makes them even more anxious, so there is a tendency not to think about the root cause of the problem. In fact, anxiety and poor stress-coping strategies lead to a sort of mental paralysis, which in turn helps to accentuate and perpetuate the problem.

Let's just look at what happens to a person who encounters a stressful or anxious event. In physiological terms, the body is prepared for fight or flight. Chemicals and hormones are produced which are released into the bloodstream. These cause the heart rate to increase, the breathing rate to increase and an increase in muscular tension. This happens to all intents and purposes instantaneously and the purpose is to get the individual into a physiological state where they can literally either run away from danger or turn and fight to physically defend themselves. The important thing for us to appreciate in the context of what we are discussing is that the chemical release is designed to produce immediate physical action. That physical action dissipates the chemicals in the bloodstream and the body returns to a normal chemical balance. The analogy might be to imagine dropping a coin into some acid; there is a lot of bubbling and quite violent activity on the surface of the coin and when it's clean, it's taken out of the acid. If the coin were left in the acid, it would corrode and become damaged. The chemical/hormonal release is a bit like that acid, it's designed to produce an immediate effect and once that has happened it's done it's job and the physical action, in a sense, 'dilutes the body's acid'. If that physical action does not occur (i.e. the person does not either physically run away or physically turn round and fight) the chemical hormonal mix remains in the bloodstream, circulating around the vital organs and over a period of time can cause actual physical damage. Obviously, our bodies work in such a way that there has to be quite a build-up before there is any lasting damage, but what happens at work. Say you work in an office and one of your co-workers or managers really annoy you. When you are annoyed (or upset) by something, the body automatically goes into preparation for fight or flight. If there is no physical activity, which generally speaking in a work situation there isn't, there is a daily build-up of potentially harmful chemicals and hormones and the bloodstream which can and does begin to cause internal damage.

So, how can we alleviate this situation? It's the autonomic nervous system which stimulates the production of the chemicals and hormones which produce the fight or flight reaction and we can't actually prevent that from happening because the reaction evolved so that we could survive in what was a physically hostile world, however what we can do is to neutralise the effect of the chemical/hormonal secretion. You've probably read or heard that when we are relaxed or happy our brains produce certain chemicals which cause the pleasant feelings. Hypnotherapy/hypnosis can help get the brain to produce these chemicals, which counter and neutralise the effect of the fight or flight chemicals. You've probably experienced the situation where you've woken from a bad dream in an anxious state, a state where physically you're ready to run or fight ~ you're breathing heavily, your heart is beating faster and you're experiencing a certain tension in the muscles. As you realise that you were having a bad dream, so you begin to relax and as you begin to relax so the body returns to a more restful state. What has happened is that the fight or flight chemical reaction has been shut down by the autonomic nervous system, without any physical activity, because the perceived danger has passed.

The anxious or stressed person, however, continues to experience the physical effects of the fight or flight chemicals, continues to experience an unpleasantly aroused state and begins to confuse this aroused (anxious)state with a normal state, which in turn leads to more anxiety as they begin to experience the physical effects of having a 'corrosive' chemical/hormonal imbalance.

If we can get the brain to produce the neutralising chemicals then we can avoid the unpleasant physical effects caused by the chemical/hormonal imbalance. We can do this by a series of visualisation exercises. This is not quite as simple as going through life and thinking happy/pleasant thoughts (although it is true to say that people who are more positive in their approach to life don't suffer from prolonged anxiety) but with practice it is possible to 'get things into their true perspective' which in turn alters a persons outlook on life.

If you are suffering from anxiety or are generally pretty stressed-out by life and would like to change this give me, Peter Bernfeld, a call on

01980 591691



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