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5 Myths About Anxiety

Anxiety is something many of us have experienced at some point in our lives, for example in job interviews, before a driving test or when we’re awaiting test results. In these examples feeling anxious is perfectly normal, however, if these feelings become overwhelming and disruptive in everyday life and start to be a regular occurrence then you might have an anxiety disorder. 

Below are 5 myths about anxiety that will help dispel some common misconceptions.

You can tell when someone is anxious

People with anxiety can look perfectly calm. The image of someone hyperventilating and breathing into a paper bag does not always fit with the reality. Many symptoms of anxiety can be experienced internally, without showing on the outside.

For example, someone can have a racing heart and tightness in the chest that is quite frightening to them, but even a trained observer might not notice. The same is true of other symptoms of anxiety, such as feeling sick to your stomach or dizzy. Other symptoms may be noticeable, such as sweating or blushing, but these symptoms are not only caused by anxiety.

A core part of anxiety may involve thoughts such as “I’m going to die,” “I’m going crazy,” or “I sound stupid.” Unless those thoughts are vocalised, you’d have no clue what was going on in the person’s mind.

If someone is anxious in one situation, they’re always anxious in the same or a similar situation.

People’s behaviour can vary greatly from day to day or moment to moment. I’ve had clients who can manage things that typically provoke anxiety—for example, driving on a motorway if the weather is sunny that day, but if it were cloudy or even rainy, they might not be able to. That’s just one example I frequently hear—that the weather impacts what people feel they can do on a particular day.

Another variable I frequently notice is whether someone is in a good mood. For example, if someone is experiencing a positive mood, they may be more likely to undertake a task that on another day might induce anxiety. Somehow their good mood mitigates the feeling of anxiety. Another key variable I hear anxious clients talk about is sleep: If they’ve had a good night's sleep then everything seems more manageable.

If Someone is anxious, you should try to calm them down.

It is distressing to see someone you know or care about experience anxiety and the knee- jerk response is to tell them to relax and say, “It’s going to be ok.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t always have the desired effect. The comment can feel diminishing, and the person may feel like you’ve not heard or understood them. Two, it is actually quite difficult to simply relax on command, especially if you are in a highly anxious state. If it were that easy, then the person would have already done it. After all, it’s no fun feeling anxious.

Another well-meaning, but probably misguided thing to say is, “Have you tried yoga?” or, “You should try meditation.” While yoga or meditation can help many people, sometimes people with anxiety have special difficulties with such activities, particularly meditation. The act of “letting go” or “focusing on your breath” without a lot of individualised guidance can make some people feel out of control or worse.

People with anxiety are weak.

People with anxiety can be incredibly strong. They get up every day and do the very things that scare them. In addition to just dealing with everyday life, part of effective treatment involves having the person gradually enter the situations that cause them anxiety. I am always so impressed and in awe of their determination to challenge themselves. People who are afraid of heights go up in tall buildings. People who are afraid of rejection join social groups in order to make new friends.

I hate roller coasters. They absolutely terrify me. If I went to a therapist, and they told me I had to ride a roller coaster as a part of my treatment, I’m not sure I’d go back. But people with anxiety do come back—and through talking small positive steps they usually get better. They learn to face their fears and live the life they want. People with anxiety are anything but weak. They’re heroes.

Anxiety is not a big deal.

We’ve all felt anxious at one time or another, so we think that we know what someone else is feeling. But having an anxiety disorder is different than feeling stressed or nervous from time to time. Having an anxiety disorder means that anxiety is impacting your life. You’re likely avoiding things you need or want to do because of the anxiety. You’re thinking about the anxiety a lot of the time. You may be judging yourself because of the anxiety.

How Hypnotherapy Can Help

Hypnotherapy helps to identify and address the root causes of anxiety. Its aim is to uncover underlying triggers and reframe thought patterns that are contributing to anxiety.

Hypnosis induces a deeply relaxed state, allowing individuals to access their subconscious more easily. The relaxation and visualisations help reduce stress and promotes a sense of calm, which counteracts the physiological effects of anxiety.

Hypnotherapy helps reframe negative thought patterns, replacing them with more positive and empowering beliefs. This process helps to alter people’s perspective and responses to anxiety triggers. Hypnotherapist can help people to modify behaviours that are associated with anxiety, encouraging healthier coping mechanisms and responses to stressful situations.

Hypnotherapy can empower individuals by teaching self-hypnosis techniques. This enables them to manage anxiety independently, even outside therapy sessions.

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