Fears & Anxiety
Even though hypnosis isn’t as widely known as psychotherapy and medication for treating anxiety, researchers and scientists have been studying the effects it can have on mental health conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and for several years.
In one 2016 study, researchers scanned the brains of people while they were undergoing guided hypnosis sessions. They found that a hypnotized brain experiences changes in the brain that give a person:
- focused attention
- greater physical and emotional control
- less self-consciousness
Let’s say you have a fear of flying. During a hypnosis session, the therapist can give you what’s known as a “posthypnotic suggestion” while you’re in a state of trance.
In this dreamlike state, the mind becomes more open to suggestion. This allows the hypnotist to suggest to you how easily confident you will be the next time you sit on a plane.
Because of the relaxed state you’re in, it can be easier to avoid escalating any anxiety symptoms you may feel, such as:
- a feeling of impending doom
- shortness of breath
- increased heart rate
- muscle tension
- nervous stomach
The Subconscious Mind’s Role in Anxiety
Our minds are powerful and complex. But what we don’t often recognize: Our rational, critical thinking minds aren’t often in control. The rational mind takes a back seat to the subconscious.
The subconscious mind informs and influences many of our thoughts. For example, when you feel cold, your body reacts to the stimuli, say a cold breeze.
That stimuli essentially signals the brain to ask what it’s feeling. In other words, we don’t consciously think: “I feel cold.” Instead, that thought is created automatically, by the subconscious, and it’s based on our entire life experience – i.e. what we’ve learned, our past experiences with cold, etc.
When anxiety controls our lives, it’s a lot like that automatic feeling of cold. We experience a stimulus – say, a social situation – that triggers an automatic response, the fear and panic and ultimately anxiety.
Traditional therapeutic techniques tend to provide strategies for managing these automatic thoughts. We might learn to control the fear, for example, but they still exist. And that’s why many traditional treatments fail. The fear and panic – the root causes of your anxiety still exist.
With hypnosis, you can begin to remove the information in your subconscious that’s telling you to feel fear and panic in certain situations.