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Bristol Talking Therapies Ltd is a Private Limited Company.

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Anxiety and stress

Anxiety is a normal emotion – on the same spectrum as fear. We have evolved to use anxiety to keep us on the alert for potential risks. However, most of the risks in pre-history were immediate and required an immediate response. For example, needing to be on the alert for predators. These days, the things that cause us stress are often not immediate, are more complex and cannot be dealt with by an immediate response.

The fear of redundancy, the worry about future prospects, worrying about our appearance or being judged were not concerns for our evolutionary predecessors. So much of our anxiety can build up gradually and stay with us. This can lead to emotional/psychological symptoms such as:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Feeling tense and jumpy

  • Anticipating the worst

  • Irritability

  • Restlessness

  • Watching for signs of danger

  • Feeling like your mind’s gone blank

Physical symptoms include:

  • Pounding heart

  • Sweating

  • Dry mouth

  • Stomach upset or dizziness

  • Frequent urination or diarrhea

  • Shortness of breath

  • Tremors and twitches

  • Muscle tension

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

All of these are created by our primitive brain - our flight/fight response - gearing us up for immediate action.

Anxiety can then take on a life of its own – as we worry about our anxiety symptoms. Our primitive brain will encourage us to think negatively and see things from the worst possible perspective. As we are programmed to do if confronted by a predator. Great for dealing with predators! Not so good for 21st Century living.

When we think negatively, we may worry about the future or fret about the past. When we become more anxious, to some extent, the primitive centre of the brain will step to try to help. However, as it is unable to think innovatively (as we can when we are calm, relaxed and able to think from the intellectual brain) we may feel that we are losing control. Our primitive brain cannot tell the difference between what is imagined and what is a real threat. It will always act as if there is a threat. Hence anxiety can bred anxiety.

Anxiety can then lead to stress. This is stored within our body and mind and can build up and overflow. It is known that when we are in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) aspect of sleep, our brains re-run the events of the day, either accurately or in metaphoric images (dreams) and change the memory from an emotional to an intellectual recollection – that we can have more control over.

How hypnotherapy can help

Hypnotherapy works to create a trance that emulates REM. We can then easily access the subconscious to promote positive thinking and break the vicious circle of anxiety.

Bristol Talking Therapies Ltd.

Specialist Counselling and Hypnotherapy