Hypnotherapy can help you face your anxieties

The festive season is a busy time and the pressure is on to buy gifts, entertain and be entertained.

Santa Carrying Shopping BagsBut for social anxiety sufferers it is a stressful time.

People can even suffer with social anxiety with their own family.
You may, as an older person, feel a real fool talking to the children. It can bring back memories of adolescence and embarrassing times in the past. Or you might fear that the gift you have bought is not suitable and might be rejected.

If you’re one who finds yourself breaking into a sweat or getting panicky as these potentially stressful events consume your thoughts, you are not alone.

It is estimated that social anxiety disorder affects up to 10 per cent of the UK’s population.
The first clinical guideline on the subject, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in May this year, defines the disorder as the ‘persistent fear of or anxiety about one or more social or performance situations that is out of proportion to the actual threat posed by the situation’.

Help is at hand though. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (with over 1,800 registered professional therapists on its books) offers treatment to help anxiety sufferers.

The NCH says: “We live in a society where great demands and responsibilities are placed on us.

“Today, about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK. And while some people manage, more and more people are showing signs of over-anxiety, which leads to stress, which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and wellbeing.”

A perceived threat can be triggered by anything from meeting new people to being watched while eating.

And Christmas poses particular issues. Most obvious are the myriad social engagements and their often alcohol-fuelled nature, though there are other more surprising worries to face.

But, says the NCH, 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. A ‘fight or flight’ response is natural in a state of anxiety and it is this primal response that protects you against threats in your environment.

It is a normal part of the human protection system to experience this fight-or-flight response, but only when there is real and present danger. But to experience prolonged flight-or-flight creates feelings of anxiety. It is often rooted in a previous experience that triggered fear or in a general anxiety and worry about your situation at home or at work.
There can also be anxiety without knowing what is causing it, a general feeling of anxiety known as ‘free floating’ anxiety.

But a therapist can treat this by assessing your anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.

Then he or she 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 if you were free of anxiety. The therapist 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 a therapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you.

Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily. People 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.

So, if you suffer from anxiety, look up a therapist near you by going to the NCH website and get ready for a better festive season next time!