Anxiety: triggers and treatments

by Lorraine McReight

Most people have experienced anxiety at one time or another. Often it will be fleeting; worrying about a disciplinary meeting with a boss, waiting for hospital test results or getting stuck in traffic on the way to catch a plane. In these situations, many people will become stressed and anxious, but this will pass after the anxiety provoking event has passed. For others anxieties may have been present for a very long time, and have been developed as a protection device.

Anxiety is often triggered by a set of circumstances that are perceived as negative or threatening and so an unconscious reaction occurs with the aim of saving the individual from harm. This is then ‘stored’ in the unconscious mind as a way of ‘dealing’ with this threat in the future. This anxious behaviour then continues despite its ineffectiveness. Why and how anxiety manifests will be different for everyone.

There is sometimes a reluctance to seek help to address the issues and to find respite. This may be because an individual who has experienced anxiety for much of their life, can view it as part of their ‘make-up’ or identity. Hypnotherapy can be very helpful in reducing anxiety and changing patterns of behaviour and Mindfulness can be effective too. Sadly, for some, taking this next step can seem scarier than the anxiety itself; the anxiety is familiar after all.

Over-thinking is common amongst those who are running an anxious pattern and this pattern needs to be disrupted. Clients can learn how to do this with the help of a therapist who practises Pattern Interruption Techniques such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or ‘Tapping’) or Scrambling symptoms. It can also be useful to challenge any irrational beliefs using a cognitive behavioural approach. This works very well in conjunction with hypnosis.

Life is about finding the right balance and a modicum of anxiety isn’t too concerning; some consider it motivating. When it impinges on everyday life however and inhibits a person from carrying out their normal activities or affects their sleep or general wellbeing, it does need to be taken more seriously.

*All the techniques mentioned are taught by UKCCH schools

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