Around 2.4% of adults in the United Kingdom have a medically diagnosable phobia, according to a recent NHS survey, that’s around 1.3 million people.
The NHS says: “A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object. If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that’s causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.”
Phobias occur when your brain links a specific trigger event to danger.
This could be having a turbulent flight, watching a giant spider on TV, or having a large dog knock you over when you were a child. You might know about many common phobias, such as fear of spiders, heights or flying, but have you come across these phobias before?
According to the National Council for Hypnotherapy, “A phobia is an irrational fear, literally a fear without good reason, or a fear of something that may not happen”. These phobias develop as coping mechanisms to serve a purpose, to keep us safe from a perceived danger, but they become dysfunctional. The mind is designed to generalise, it’s designed to keep you safe, and so whenever you see that thing in future, it says “look out, avoid this”, even if it’s not logical or rational.
Because phobias are rooted in emotional memories, talking therapies which try to rationalise the thought pattern can fall short. Hypnotherapy can help. In hypnosis the unconscious is able to process information more effectively without the interference of the conscious critical mind. There are different types of hypnotherapy and skilled hypnotherapists may combine different forms or use hypnosis in conjunction with other treatments depending on the needs of their client.
Often phobias can be treated in just one session, depending on the willingness of the client to embrace the change, says the NCH. If you have a phobia or a fear which is affecting your life, why not try a session with an NCH hypnotherapist?
Hypnotherapy can help beat the effects of bullying
Typically, the tactics of friendship bullies include ‘threatening to retract friendships, spreading rumours, purposefully ignoring and excluding the victim or using friendship as a bartering tool’, the report reads.
The BBC quotes lead author Kayleigh Chester as saying responses from a representative group of more than 5,000 young teenagers from across England suggest about five young people in every secondary class will have been bullied by friends in the past couple of months.
Too often, teachers, parents and students fail to recognise deliberate social exclusion as bullying, she added, saying she would like bullying by friends to be acknowledged in school policies as a distinct form of the problem which warrants a specific prevention and reduction strategy.
The stress and anxiety caused by bullying, if left unattended, can negatively impact the victim’s well-being and how they interact with others. But by addressing the root cause, whether it is a situation, a physical issue, an experience or a relationship, the therapist will then ask the victim how they wish to feel and how they would like to be as well as enquire about things they would chose to do in their lives if free of anxiety.
Hypnotherapy can also benefit the person who does the bullying, even though they might be reluctant to acknowledge their behaviour at first.
In therapy, bullies may begin to understand the impact their hurtful behaviour has on others, explore reasons for why they bully, learn new skills for communicating positively with others, and address personal experiences that may have contributed to their bullying behaviour.
The Youth Select Committee (YSC), a British Youth Council initiative supported by the House of Commons, with 11 members aged 13-18, saysbody dissatisfaction can start as young as six in its report into the issue, A Body Confident Future.
Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, associate professor at the Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, added that body dissatisfaction was the biggest known risk factor for eating disorders such as bulimia.
She told the BBC: “It is a really important mental health issue, and I don’t think it is taken seriously enough.”
The YSC heard from expert witnesses, including bloggers, social-media companies, teachers and mental-health professionals, on the subject and its report, is being sent to the government for an official response.
Among other things, it askes Parliament to: address current knowledge gaps, especially about body image in pre-adolescents; develop resources for groups other than women, who are targeted in most current campaigns; appoint a Government Equalities Office minister and for major brands to increase uptake of its Body Image Pledge.
“Body dissatisfaction must be recognised as a serious issue which potentially affects every young person. This report is only the first step; far more needs to be done by society at large to tackle this issue,” the YSC said.
When seeing a hypnotherapist, they will assess your concern, identify its root – whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship. Then they will set you a goal asking how you wish to feel, how you would like to be, and things that you would chose to do in your life.
They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal.
“After sessions with the therapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you. Many say that they are calmer and have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily,” says the NCH. “Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously were a concern.”
Resilience: Are you flexible enough to cope with life’s demands?
How good are you at handling the day-to-day stress you experience in your life?
Do you thrive in highly pressured environments or does just the thought make you feel weary? Life as we know it has increased its pace exponentially in the last few decades and burnout leading to stress, anxiety and physical illness is becoming increasingly common.
What keeps us healthy and able to deal with the stresses of life is resilience which has two parts, how you recover from and grow from major life or work related adversities or traumas and how you handle every day stresses, strains and hassles.
Because the latter type of stress are ongoing, everyday occurrences the way you deal with them is crucial with researchers finding that seemingly minor, every-day events have long-term implications for mental health. In this study researchers asked participants to describe their stress reactions to a range of common, every-day situations including problems at home, in the workplace or in their social lives. Ten years later the participants were reassessed and they discovered that the way these participants reacted to everyday stressors and hassles predicted changes in their mental and physical health.
Today, about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK. Taking steps to look after your wellbeing can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. This is sometimes called developing emotional resilience – the ability to adapt and bounce back when something difficult happens in your life. For example, you can make some lifestyle changes, look after your physical health, give yourself a break or simply accept help from your support network.
Insomnia is thought to affect one in 3 people in the UK, with sufferers finding it difficult to get to sleep, having interrupted sleep, waking early, and having difficulty concentrating and feeling tired and irritable during the day.
With the ever growing pressures of modern life it can be incredibly difficult to switch off and get restful sleep.
During REM sleep one of the stress-related chemicals in the brain, noradrenalin, stops being produced. It is theorised that this change in the brain chemistry allows us to remain calm while our brain reprocess all the experiences of the day. A lack of quality REM sleep can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, and those feelings of anxiety and depression in turn can mean even less sleep the following nights.
So how do we get more sleep? “Hypnotherapy and hypnosis can help us overcome patterns of sleep disturbance” says the NCH. Engaging in good sleep hygiene is particularly important for insomnia sufferers. This means creating a good pre-bedtime ritual which encourages sleep by limiting exposure to blue light (from TVs, phones and other electronics), allowing enough time to wind down after exercise and making sure your sleeping area is comfortable, dark and quiet.
If you have tried all this and are still struggling to consistently have a good nights sleep it is important to speak to your doctor to eliminate any physical causes. Your doctor may prescribe a range of interventions aimed at helping you sleep, including suggesting hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy for insomnia can help you find and tackle the root cause of your insomnia.
If you have suffered from insomnia for a long period of time, patterns of sleep disturbances can become embedded in your subconscious. Hypnosis for insomnia aims to communicate with this and suggest positive changes, allowing you to sleep comfortably.
Social media and anxiety concerns for young people
Instagram said keeping the platform a safe and supportive place for young people was a top priority. Michelle Napchan, Instagram head of policy, told the BBC: “Keeping Instagram a safe and supportive place, where people feel comfortable expressing themselves, is our top priority – particularly when it comes to young people.
“Every day people use Instagram to share their own mental health journey and get support from the community. For those struggling with mental health issues, we want them to be able to access support on Instagram when and where they need it.”
With more than 1,800 qualified clinical hypnotherapists across the UK, the NCH can offer help and non-invasive treatment to those who want to rid their lives of stress, anxiety and other similar issues.
An NCH hypnotherapist can help assess a person’s anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship. Then they will work with that person to establish a goal as to how they wish to feel, be, and things they would chose to do if free of anxiety.
“They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal,” says the NCH, adding that, after hypnotherapy sessions people often feel more confident and more relaxed in situations that have previously been challenging.
“Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily. Those who have experienced side effects of anxiety such as insomnia, find that they are sleeping much better and as a result are able to work more effectively.”
Commenting on the RSPH survey, Tom Madders, from mental health charity YoungMinds, said: “Increasing safety within social media platforms is an important step and one we urge Instagram and other sites to act upon. But it’s also important to recognise that simply ‘protecting’ young people from particular content types can never be the whole solution.”
Alleviating anxiety issues with therapy
Posted on by NCH News
Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone has revealed she started therapy for anxiety when she was just seven years old and, she told The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert, she ‘benefited in a big way from therapy’.Stone, Academy Award winner for her role in La La Land, said acting made her feel less anxious and said, as a child, she believed she would never be able to leave her native Arizona, but by age 15 she was able to move to Hollywood.
Stone joins stars like actress Jennifer Lawrence and singers Adele and Taylor Swift in admitting to suffering from anxiety.
Adele has said of her fear of performing: “I have anxiety attacks, constant panicking on stage, my heart feels like it’s going to explode because I never feel like I’m going to deliver, ever.”
The National Council for Hypnotherapy, with more than 1,800 fully-trained therapists across the UK on its register, says treating anxiety issues is becoming more common and adds that over-anxiety can lead to stress, which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and wellbeing.
“Anxiety is a fear or concern that is exaggerated, and is out of proportion to the situation, although sometimes it may not feel like this,” says the NCH. “The symptoms of anxiety correlate with the stress response or ‘fight-or-flight’. This is primal response that protects you against threats in your environment. You may feel as if you are on high alert as well, unable to calm down or relax, your mind may race unable to focus or quieten down.”
While it is a normal part of the human protection system to experience this fight-or-flight response, says the NCH, this is only when there is real and present danger. To experience prolonged flight-or-flight creates feelings of anxiety.
But, in sessions with a clinical hypnotherapist, the therapist can help assess the anxiety, identify its root and then work with the anxiety sufferer in setting and reaching a goal of how the person would like to be if free of anxiety. By using a range of different techniques the therapist will then work with the person to achieve this goal.
Mental health services need attention, says Theresa May
And Mrs May told the BBC: “One of the things I’ve been doing is actually looking at the community mental health services for young people and reviewing that across the country because it is patchy.”
While services seem to be struggling, clinical hypnotherapy is an alternative source of help for those suffering some mental health issues. It is also known that more young people are suffering from stress and anxiety than in previous years which can lead to further problems as they grow up, if not treated.
Says the National Council for Hypnotherapy, which has more than 1,800 highly-trained therapists across the UK: “Hypnotherapy is an evidence based therapy, with over 70,000 research references worldwide.”
There could be people who want help but cannot get it due to the strains on the NHS. But, says the NCH, you may be ‘one of those people but are now ready to explore ways of freeing yourself from anxiety and living a fulfilled and happy life, free to do things that bring you joy’,
She adds: “We do need to ensure is that we are raising that awareness and seeing that support there.”
But that could take time and it is known that GPs are under pressure too. Mrs May said she had visited a school recently and saw ‘some of the first sets of training that we’re doing for teachers and staff in schools so they can better identify when young people have mental health problems and to know what is the right support to give to those young people’.
While he said this was not ‘a minor worry any more but a serious crisis in people’s lives’, Ruth Lea, of the Institute of Directors,disagreed, saying: “’People should really get things in perspective. Most people are comfortable at work and often stress is just part and parcel of a job.
“There may be people who are too stressed but this can be addressed. It is usually a sign of bad management which can be changed.”
McLeod warned that workplace anxiety will not go away unless Britain learns how to offer help to staff. But he said the British ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude often prevents people admitting how awful their workplace is.
Undiagnosed anxiety conditions now cause more absences from work than traditional complaints such as backache, hangovers and stomach trouble.
His report, for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, claims counselling can reduce the incidence of office-related stress by half. Countering stress boosts performance and cuts the number of sick days taken.
Many NCH hypnotherapists offer special offers to businesses for stress reduction schemes at work.
“Stress is one of the major reasons people take time off work, and investing in stress reduction schemes companies can increase productivity, happiness and subsequently loyalty in their employees,” adds the NCH, “It is worth talking to your employer or to a local hypnotherapist to see if that this is a possibility.”
During sessions with a hypnotherapist, the therapist will help assess the stress or anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship. Then they will set a goal asking how the person would like to feel, how they would like to be, and things that they would chose to do if free of stress and anxiety.
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