Everyone has anxiety sometimes. It’s when the anxiety starts to effect your life that it’s time to do something about it. This is the 10,000 foot-high view of what you can do about it. In broad terms, there are three mainstream ways of dealing with your anxiety:
- Self-help techniques – There are a range of techniques that you can learn to do yourself. For example, simply recognising if something is triggering the anxiety and avoiding it, various breathing techniques, and practicing mindfulness are three very different approaches, all of which can help.
- Therapy – Different therapies have different approaches to deal with anxiety and will suit different people. Hypnotherapy focuses on getting the subconscious fight-or-flight part of the brain to recognise there is no need to be anxious. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) works on the relationship between thoughts, emotions, behaviours and bodily sensations.
- Medication – Prescribed medications can alter your brain chemistry to help dampen the extremes of anxiety.
If you go to your NHS doctor (in the UK) about your anxiety, they will start by asking you questions about your anxiety, such as how often you feel anxious, and may diagnose you with one of several categories of anxiety (such as generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder).
Depending on the severity of the anxiety, your doctor will probably offer you advice on self-help techniques. If you don’t get anywhere with self-help, the next step will probably be to offer you and initial course of six sessions of CBT. Finally, if that fails to help, they may prescribe anti-anxiety medication. (All of these may be prescribed by your local surgery or a consultant psychiatrist.)
The big advantage to UK citizens is that the NHS service is provided free of charge. The disadvantage is that it may take some time to get the service that you need. Another disadvantage is that, unfortunately, hypnotherapy is not yet available on the NHS.
In my hypnotherapy clinic in Fleet in Hampshire, I regularly see clients with anxiety and anxiety-related issues. I typically find that they can achieve a significant reduction in their anxiety levels with between 5 and 10 hypnotherapy sessions.
Remember that the questions to ask yourself first are, “Is my anxiety adversely affecting my life? And if so, is it bad enough for me to want to actively do something about it?”
The next step is to choose which route you are going to take:
- DIY – Do it yourself — research the Internet for some self-help techniques to try by yourself.
- NHS — go to your doctor and follow the route described above.
- Therapist — find a qualified hypnotherapist, CBT therapist or counsellor.
- Class — find a class in mindfulness, yoga or something else that involves relaxation.
Or you could try multiple routes at the same time.
And, of course, I have to include a little promotion for my own hypnotherapy clinic … so if you want a qualified hypnotherapist who specialises in anxiety, just get in touch.
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash