Nuisance Neighbour

You are at a wedding and find yourself sitting next to your nuisance neighbour. You don’t mind him, but all he does is argue. He has to be right and he has to have the last word. Also, whatever you have done, he has done better.

If you’re left wing, he will argue for the right wing. You enjoy football, he will explain to you why rugby is better. You think breakfast is the most important meal of the day he thinks its dinner. If you have been to New York once, he has been twice.  He is a nice guy, but he will argue about everything and anything. He has to be right!

You find yourself say next to your nuisance neighbour and there is nothing you can do about it. You want to enjoy your meal and evening and under no circumstances do you want to sit and argue.

You can’t escape!

What do you do? You can’t move seats and you don’t want to avoid the meal so you have to sit next to him.  But how can you sit next to someone that argues for argument’s sake about anything you will talk about.

You could try ignoring him, but that just makes him talk louder and be more persistent. You could tell him you don’t want to argue, but he will then argue that you don’t have the nerve to voice your own opinion. You could yell at him and tell him to shut up, but that is angry arguing. You could wait for him to say something that is clearly wrong and then point that out to him, but he never admits to being wrong and has an answer for everything so you will get caught in an argument. What can you do in this scenario? Well, what is the opposite or arguing?

Humour him?

How about you attempt to humour him? You can agree with everything he says, be it true or false.  If his main objective is to argue and you don’t argue what is likely to happen? He will eventually give up trying, or find someone else’s ear to bend. By humouring someone do you give anything up? No.

Do you want an arguing, confrontational relationship with this man or would you prefer a humouring relationship? You would like there to be a third choice – he doesn’t argue but that one doesn’t exist. You only have these two choices and its obvious which one is better.

What to do?

Dealing with this nuisance neighbour is exactly like dealing with worrying thoughts and emotions. If you take the bait, you end up getting embroiled, when you just want to be peaceful. But on the other hand, if you get into the habit of humouring your worrisome thoughts you can increasingly pass over the invitation to argue without becoming involved. You can play with the thoughts rather than work against them. This sounds counterintuitive, right? That’s good because that’s what we have to do. Rather than trying to stop the thoughts, humour them and let them be.

How do we humour thoughts? 

Hear the thoughts, accept them, and then exaggerate them. I helped a lady use this technique and the following week she came back and told me this story. One of her symptoms of anxiety was weak legs. She had found herself feeling claustrophobia in a work meeting. Rather than allowing her thoughts to go wild, she accepted them. She then humoured them.  She knew she was not in danger and that it was a false alarm. She thought how funny it would be if she stood up to find her legs fell off. She then proceeded to fall into the table. Everyone’s half-drunk teas and coffees went everywhere. She then proceeded to hit her head on the table and the first aider placed a huge cartoon style bandaged on her head. They then took her picture which then appeared in the monthly company newsletter!

Take control!

What the lady had done, was chosen her reaction to those thoughts and feelings. She didn’t allow her unconscious reactions lead her. This conscious reaction to exaggerate the issue put her in control of the situation. This meant that the worry couldn’t sneak in and make her worry further.

She mentioned that she did this a few times and when she felt her legs go week she simply didn’t care anymore. What had happened is her relationship with worry changed and it couldn’t bait her anymore because she simply didn’t care.

Troll the troll!

Humouring your own thoughts is basically trolling the troll in yourself. You are the Nuisance Neighbour! Imagine being on twitter and someone says something uncomplimentary about you. Rather than responding, which is what the troll wants. You do the opposite, eventually they give up.

It is very important to make sure that you consciously exaggerating and are not catastrophising. If you make this mistake you will end up worrying more. It’s about making it so unbelievable that it becomes silly and funny.

Let me help you put to bed those worrying thoughts, contact me here

Will anxiety last forever?

Will anxiety last forever

Will anxiety last forever? It can, without intervention. If you keep doing the same things, then the likely hood is you will get the same results. There are exceptions and I have listed one below.

When anxiety is directly linked to confidence it can subside in due course. I see this a lot with the symptom, blushing. If someone blushes through their teen years, they may get over it without intervention. This is due to their own confidence increasing and being surer of themselves. The blushing subsides and may only happen periodically or not at all. We can grow out of anxiety, depending though, on how it is triggered.

But understanding why anxiety happens in the first place will answer, will anxiety last forever?

Grief v Anxiety

We need to start with a different emotion to understand this. We will use grief in this example. When we experience grief, it can take around 2 years to move on from (YMMV). What we are doing is releasing emotion. If we have 10 gallons of grief inside us. The first 6 months will let out 3 gallons. The next another 4, then 5, then 8, until we are all out. We simply have no more emotion in us to let out. We fully release the emotion behind the event/memory.

Although life has changed after we lose someone, we are at least in a good position to move forward. Ideally now just remembering the lost one fondly without getting too upset.

What makes anxiety different from other emotions is simple, we don’t ever run out of the emotion. The emotion is ‘generated’ not ‘released’ every time we feel we may be in danger. This is why people have spider phobias for life.  As long as the trigger is live in your Subconscious or Hind brain, you will generate a response.

The triggers

Will anxiety last forever? More often than not, yes it will. Look back and try to identify the triggers you have. How long have you had them? Do they always go off? Anxiety will last forever unless you can do something about the triggers that exist. As long as you have a trigger you will feel anxiety. It is the way we have become programmed to exist.

For some people, they are able to remove themselves out of the way of the trigger. Flying is a good example. It is fairly easy for someone to never fly again if they didn’t want to. But if the triggers are unavoidable then you won’t be able to use an avoidance technique.

Anxiety doesn’t have to last forever, if we remove the triggers. There are various ways to do this, but the two I use which I believe are the most powerful are via BWRT or Hypnoanalysis.

BWRT works by changing the emotional response to a trigger. So when you are triggered you can choose to feel calm and relaxed, instead of anxious and panicky. The recursive looping technique that is employed, is powerful enough to rewire the neural pathways in the brain. The trigger is then associated with a different feeling.

Hypnoanalysis is another approach. This works by placing the client in a hypnotic state and using regression to find the original triggers. Once the original triggers are found the sun conscious is able to re-evaluate them and stop being triggered. They can be seen as out of date beliefs that no longer require to be kept.

Learn more about BWRT here

Learn more about Hypnoanalysis here

Contact me here

In the Now

In the now

Using the Now to overcome anxiety

I have been extremely interested in spiritual growth for a number of years. I have avidly followed the likes of David Hawkins, Alan Watts, Eckharte Tolle and Sadhguru. I believe that spiritual growth is essential for everyone. We can all develop, but the reason for this blog is that anxiety doesn’t exist in awareness.

Life is good in the moment.

The more we practise being present and living in the moment the less anxiety we have. This is because the majority of moments we find ourselves in are fine or even good. When you remove the drama of what might happen, you see the present is not that bad. Very rarely does the moment right now have any actual problems.

Was it worth the worry?

Take a look back at a day when you were anxious. How many minutes or hours do you think you spent worrying that day? Now compare that to what actually did go wrong. You will likely see a massive discrepancy. Often I hear that nothing bad happened at all. All the person did was worry about something that ‘may’ happen that then didn’t. Or it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be when it did happen.

With anxiety you are attempting to predict the future and also to control that future. No-one can control the future in the present moment. Anxiety exists when there is a conflict in the psyche. The conflict here is you are trying to change something that is not able to be changed, the future.

By placing ourselves into the now we are creating a new thought pattern, one of awareness. Awareness is the level above consciousness. To become aware is simple. Spend a few minutes scanning your body. Feel how your clothes feel against your skin. How your body feels again the chair you are in. Become aware of the jewellery you are wearing, if you are. Awareness requires no thought. Awareness simple is. If you become aware of an itch, it will be your consciousness that wants to scratch it. Consciously we place a label on everything. Awareness has no opinion. Awareness can feel something is hot, but it doesn’t state if that is good or bad.

So how can this help with anxiety?

We will use driving nerves as an example here.

When you are sitting on the sofa knowing you have to drive that afternoon you have 2 choices. To worry about the drive or to be in the present moment. If you worry about driving you will spend the day anxious. If you spend the day being present you will float through the day. Being present means when you are sitting on the sofa, experiencing sitting on the sofa. Realising that at that moment in time nothing is wrong. At that exact moment asking yourself ‘do I have any issues right now? The chances are, you don’t. You are missing the now by living in the future of what might happen when you go for a drive.

Don’t let your mind run riot

When we get anxious our mind can run riot and lead to any possibility if we let it. The more we let it run, the higher our anxiety is likely to be.

The Anxiety only develops when we leave the now. Unhappiness arises from going beyond the reality of now and creating a story out of the past or the future.

By continuously placing yourself in the now and seeing that life rarely has problems, when you are in your car you can become present. Yes, you are in a car, but right here right now is that a problem? You will see that your presence of the now in all situations is able to dissolve the illusionary threat of that around you. You will then be in the car and anxious thoughts may appear. But you become aware of the now. You will see that you are just a person who is sitting safely driving their car.

We know that this situation brings upon anxiety and the feelings that come with it. But you will realise that there are other ways of approaching the situation. Other ways of seeing it and dealing with it. Awareness allows you to the see the totality of the situation and allows you to adopt a clearer perspective.

What if the now is upsetting?

If the now is causing you anxiety, then we have to look at this with a different approach. We can’t change the way you are feeling in this moment. The way you are feeling is the now, it is what is. If you attempt to make the now different this will increase the anxiety. Is it possible for you to accept that, what you feel right now?

Can you accept the now?

Your answer will most likely be ‘no, I don’t want to accept this’. When you realise that the unhappiness is fuelling your being unhappy the only thing left is not mind about being unhappy. It sounds paradoxically that you have to not mind being unhappy to get over being unhappy, but this creates space and allows awareness in. We need the mind to not resist and allows the light to shine in. By allowing consciousness in you will start to see a separation between the thought and the emotion. In time the power of the emotion will start to dwindle which then turns the thought into nothing more than a thought.

This moment is a moment that has come about because this how the universe panned out. The universe is as it should be and it cannot be changed. When you are aware that the universe is where it should be you can then accept it for what it is. We can’t change this now moment of the universe. It is here because of everything that has gone before.  So today you have to accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they are occurring. If you struggle against this you are actually struggling against the whole universe.

Accept what happens

 So today, make the choice that you will accept what happens. Accept them as they, are not how you wish they were. When you feel anxiety against a person, situation, you need to remember that you are not reacting to the person or situation, but to your feelings about the situation. These are your feelings and your feelings are not the fault of any person or any event. When you understand this you can take control of your feelings and provide acceptance.

But what if the now and the feelings it produced are terrible and you don’t want to accept them. You don’t want to say I accept that this is terrible. Accept the fact that you can’t accept that situation.

When we are required to accept the moment it may well take us to a place we don’t want to go. The reality is though, we only have 3 options to choose from; complain, accept, change.  Complaining is a negative energy, so under no circumstances do we want to choose that route.  But before going to change we always want to see if we can accept a problem. Accepting an issue can be very tough and it might mean going where we don’t want to go. Sometimes we have to find that strength to allow the feelings to surface and allow them to vent.

Once you see the feeing rise from the body you can choose to observe those feelings. Accept them for what they are, just feelings. It may take multiple attempts before the feelings subside. But in the long run, accepting a situation you don’t like will eventually be disconnected from any negative emotion.

The only options

  1. Complaining.  Whichever way you to attempt to justify complaining it is never productive. It increases the negative energy inside you and achieves very little. Often the complaint is only happening inside your own head. If you step back and think about that for a moment you will see how silly a thing to do it is. You are simply keeping alive negativity for actually no reason as the internal complaint doesn’t actually change the fact.
  2. Accept.
  3. Change. If you have an issue with your life you may need to see if you can change that which is causing issue. If you are anxious about driving, not driving isn’t the answer. When I talk about change, I mean looking at a situation that you can’t accept and working out how to remove or change the boundaries.  For example, I have a very depressed friend, I have tried many times to reach out to him but he didn’t accept my help.  You can only help people that want to be helped. But I found that he was constantly around me and actually projected his negative life into mine and doing his best to make me feel bad. This wasn’t his intention but I always left his company feeling worse than I did before I met up with him. I tried to accept it was who he was and I do accept him for who he is but I needed a boundary. Rather than remove him from my life I simply placed a set of rules on him. He wasn’t allowed round my house as if he came round it was very tough to get rid of him and when I went to meet him I always set a time scale for my stay. This allowed me to not remove this person from my life but change the way we interacted. In this instance as long as I wasn’t around him too long I was able to fend off his negativity.


Accept or change the situation where necessary, never complain. Allow the feelings to rise, observe them and allow time for them to float away.

Contact me here to learn more

The Nervous System

The Nervous System

Our nervous system consists of two main parts, known as the voluntary nervous system and the involuntary nervous system.

The voluntary nervous system directs movement of the limbs, head and trunk. We can control this as we wish, hence its name, voluntary. It consists of the brain and spinal cord, from which a number of paired nerves arises, each ending in the muscle if supplied.

The involuntary nervous system controls the internal organs, heart, blood-vessels, lungs and even the flow of saliva and sweat.  Its headquarters are located in the brain. Connected with a delicate network of fibres lying on either side of the spinal column. From which many thread like branches pass to the internal organs. This part is not under our immediate control. This is of paramount importance to understanding ‘nerves’. This part of the nervous system responds to our moods.

When we are afraid we may sweat, shake and our heart may beat faster. We do not consciously react like this and we have no power to stop these reactions other than to change our moods. Therefore we call this part our involuntary nervous system.

The two parts, Sympathetic and Parasympathetic.

The involuntary nervous system itself consists of two parts, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. Of these, the sympathetic works closer with our moods. Its actions will strengthen the defence system against the various dangers we may face. It had been designed when our dangers were more like to be life threating e.g. a bear eating you. Not being worried about getting stuck in a lift for 30 mins. You may have seen an animal in full fight or flight response when attempting to look aggressive. Maybe it’s a cat and it has puffed itself out and made itself look big.

This is the sympathetic nervous system doing what it is ‘supposed’ to do, preparing you for danger. When a human is afraid it reacts in the same way. Fear begins as an impulse in your brain which excites the sympathetic nervous system. This stimulates various regions, skin and organs with the help of the release of adrenalin, which is released at nerve terminals in the organs concerned. Interestingly not everyone experiences the same feelings when nervous. But they can all be accounted for by the same process. Some people blush, some their heart races, some sweat.

It’s worth knowing that we don’t usually feel our body functioning. The parasympathetic nerves hold the sympathetic nerves in check. It is only when we are overwrought (angry, afraid, or excited) that the sympathetic nerves dominates the parasympathetic. We then become conscious of the certain organ functions.  A body without stress is a peaceful body evenly balanced.

Staying in balance

Sympathetic is not a good word to describe these nerves as they feel anything but sympathetic. When our body is balanced we feel fine. It is when this balances is lost that consciously we start to worry. As our attention has now gone inwards to something ‘feeling’ different. It’s not that anything is wrong internally, it’s purely because consciously we don’t like the imbalance.

The See-Saw of the nerves

The sympathetic and the parasympathetic work like a see saw to keep you balanced. When they are balanced you would say that your body feels fine and light. Sounds strange to feel nothing but that is what you feel when you feel peace. A beautiful sense of nothingness. When the peace gets broken well, that is when you start to feel anxiety.

We don’t just feel ‘bad’ when the nervous system kicks in. If the parasympathetic rise we feel a sense of euphoria and happiness. Maybe you have just heard good news so you have triggered this. The problem with the two sides is that the sympathetic is far more dominant that the parasympathetic. This is because the sympathetic system is designed for your survival. It is more important to have stronger response to danger than to things you like. When your survival is at risk the movement needs to be huge to make sure you react.

For the sufferer of anxiety the issue they have is that the sympathetic nervous system is too sensitive. It is being triggered and thrown out of balance all too easily. Unfortunately for some people it tends to stay imbalanced and not return to zero. This is usually the case for those that suffer either GAD or Free floating anxiety.

Allow time for it to re-balance

Regaining balance of this system is the key to overcoming anxiety. This can be done with BWRT. Stopping the triggers that cause the imbalance. Or hypnoanalysis to remove the root causes.

So bear in mind every time you feel anxiety in your body all that is happening is you’re out of balance. Nothing worse than that is happening.  Accepting this is happening, floating and allowing time to pass will help deal with this. Learn more about floating here.

Try and notice this see-saw in operation over the next few days.  Witness it when you are happy and content and when you are anxious. 

Every emotion has a chemical trait to it and this trait will swing the balance. Anger, aggression, fear etc. all push the sympathetic  side up – love, compassion etc. push up the parasympathetic.

Morning Anxiety

Morning anxiety

The dreaded morning feeling;

Waking in the morning needs a special mention as this can set the tone for the whole day. This can also disappointingly fail the nights before achieving. On occasions you will go to bed nervously and wake up nervous. Or you go to bed after what felt like a good day to only feel like you’re back to square one.

Get up and get moving

To help cope with the morning feeling we need to rise as soon as we wake. If you witness yourself in bed you will see that you just stay there steeped in misery making it even harder to get out. Get a routine together where you wake, shower, have a cup of tea and if time watch some TV. If you have dogs get out and go for a walk. What we are doing is not allowing you to dwell on how you feel. A suffer of anxiety will feel fatigued and who doesn’t wake up still feeling tired. If you spend time analysing your body and you feel rotten you won’t want to move.

If you rise as soon as you wake you will be minimising a window of opportunity for anxiety to set in. This is important for setting up your day. It feels like your body needs to get going before you get out of bed but your body can’t get going until you do. So if you stay in bed until you feel you can get out of bed, you may find its 12pm and you will feel terrible for it.

Because we are habitual it can be difficult to get out of bed if you like to hit the snooze button. But after a few days maybe a week of doing this it will become routine. I once worked in London and I had to be out the house at 6:30am to catch a train. I didn’t realise there was a 6:30am in the morning. After a week or so I was even waking up at the weekend at 6:30am.

Cortisol is released when we feel fear or stress. It has been found that Cortisol levels are highest in our body in the mornings. Because of this it can be easy to stay in bed until we feel better. But….

Don’t just lie and worry

You can see that if you lie in bed you will do little more than worry more. Over analyse a weary tired body will just add to your frustration. Our metabolism doesn’t kick until we kick in so you can’t wait for your body to be fit and ready. It becomes fit and ready as you start moving about.
Regardless of how you feel in the morning be aware that the day is yet to happen. Whatever you are feeling at that moment doesn’t have any say in how you will feel as its progresses.

An issue with the morning is that we simply place our faith the night before, that tomorrow will be that day when we are cured. Anxiety doesn’t simply disappear like that it’s a progression and we need not expect it to one day just go. It will without noticing get better and then one day you will wake up and not even think about it. If you immediately wake up and think it’s still here I’m still not cured you are breaking the first rule which is to accept you are still recovering.

So when you wake up if you still feel anxious know that you are still on your road to recovery and that is ok. It will get better if you continue to do the things I have said. Think of it like growing your hair – it will get to the length you want it to get but you don’t need to be upset if when you wake up you can’t notice the change.



Many years ago I learnt about a technique called ‘floating’ created by Claire Weekes. Claire was a pioneer in anxiety therapy and wrote many books on the subject throughout the 60’s and 70’s. She was ahead of her time in regards to mental health at a time when it was still in its infancy. Her techniques are still as valid today as they were 40+ years ago.

Floating is an important aspect of over-coming anxiety and it can work similar magic to accepting. We need learn to float not fight.

Often when we are faced with something we don’t want to do we tense up and resist. A lady I know was unable to go into a busy shop and the harder she tried the more tension that built up and the more resistance was produced to not go in. Here the issue is we are forcing ourselves to do something that our instinct doesn’t want us to do. This is us fighting and herein comes the floating aspect. What would happen if you imagine yourself floating into the shop and not fighting?

When you fight you become tense and when you tense you release more Adrenalin and you make yourself feel worse so we instantly tense even more. Floating gives you a different outlook on the situation. One place we need help from is our beds people often have an issue raising so try imaging floating out of bed and see what happens. This may sound silly but our thoughts which are directed at resistance get directed to floating and then we can follow that trail of thought.

Floating is a means of going round the problem we face not attempting to fight each obstacle that we have placed in front of us. Those with anxiety generally have the will to be in control. This is not always obvious to them as they feel they are completely the opposite and not in control but this underlying control mechanism can get in our way and hinder our development.    Floating is about not controlling what is happening just floating around it and this will feel strange to those that want to be in control. The beauty here is by floating you are allowing control to slip away but you are still on control. You are in control of the aspect that will help you through.

You don’t have to try and strive for relaxation you just have to wait for it. The relief of loosening your tense hold on yourself, of giving up the struggle and recognising that there is no battle to fight except of your own making, may bring calmness. If you have been releasing more and more tension you will further release Adrenalin which will produce further sensations from which you want to escape.

Float past tension and fear

Float past unwelcome suggestions

Float don’t fight

Accept and let more time pass.

Anxiety when flying

anxiety when flying

Experiencing anxiety when flying is a common fear/phobia that I help treat. But interestingly the reason behind the anxiety isn’t always what you expect. Around 1 in 6 people have anxiety when flying but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are afraid of the plane crashing!

Those 1 in 6 people fall into one or both the following groups

  • Scared of a plane crash
  • Worried about a trigger being activated

When you ask anyone how they would feel if they were to be in a plane crash the answer will be universal. The idea of being in a plane crash is horrific but it is not always the main reason people are afraid to fly. There are many factors that can contribute to a fear of flying and I have listed some of them below.

  • Social Anxiety – Airports are extremely busy and we are in close proximity of people when on a plane.
  • Claustrophobia – Being enclosed in a tight space that you are unable to get out from.
  • Using public toilets – This can be either from a hygiene perspective or worried there may be a queue.
  • Afraid of losing control. If someone has had a panic attack on a plane they may be worried of having another (very common!)
  • Afraid of doing something embarrassing – crying/shouting, trying to get off the plane if they get scared.
  • Afraid of crashing
  • Separation anxiety – It can be too far a distance to be apart from someone if you fly somewhere
  • Not in control – the pilot is!

It’s not always obvious!

If you hear that someone has anxiety when flying and it’s not due to the plane crashing, and you say ‘It’s the safest form of transport’. You can now see why this makes no difference to them. It has nothing to do with what they are worried about. That is not the trigger they are trying to avoid. So any amount of statistics on how safe planes are fall on death ears.

A lot of the above you could argue could be the same on any form of transport, so why is it just flying? Flying is probably the most restrictive form of transport. You can’t move around like you can on a bus or train and the time between stops is likely to be longer on a plane than a bus. With other forms of transport you can halt your journey fairly easily.

For some people they don’t even know it’s one of the above list that is an issue. They just know that they are not getting on a plane. This is where a skilled therapist needs to come in. They need to dig into what the cause of the issue is and resolve that.  

But what about those that are scared of crashing?

Well we know what their trigger is so we can work directly with it. This can be two fold either via BWRT work that can resolve fears like this in just one or two sessions. Or by educating the user on why they have the fear if it’s due to lack of knowledge.

For example, I helped a lady once whose fear was someone would open the door mid-flight. She would spend the whole flight worried every time someone got up (usually only to use the toilet). The reality is that it is not possible to open a door on a plane mid-flight due to the air pressure in the cabin. For this client, understanding this was enough to relax her but for many others they have this question to combat everything you say…….

What if?

But for those that are scared of crashing they will just use the ‘what if’ statement. It doesn’t matter what stat you draw up or how many safety features the plane has, what if?

The sufferer of anxiety only likes odd that’s are stacked 100%. The only time this applies to flying is when you have safely landed and disembarked. So unless the issue is not being educated about a certain aspect they are likely to response ‘what if’.

If the plane has 4 engines and one fails, it can still fly. But what if another ones fails. That’s ok they can fly on 2 engines. But what if a third fails. That is highly unlikely but they can fly on one. What if the last engine fails? Then they can glide for 30 mins to an airport. What if there isn’t an airport within 30mins……and so on.

The problem talking to someone who replies with ‘What if’ is that you can’t ever convince them otherwise. It’s a pointless argument and one that gets zero results.

Fear or Phobia?

We know that BWRT is a very effective resolution to anxiety when flying and so to can hypnotherapy be with a big but though. I personally would only assist with a fear of flying using hypnotherapy if I am sure that the underlying issue is a fear and not a phobia. You can tell the difference between a fear and phobia by asking the below questions.

‘How much money would I have to pay you to fly’

If the answer is an amount of some sort you are likely to be dealing with a fear. The amount you need to be paid will give a slight clue on how bad the fear is. If you answered no amount of money would get me on that plane we are likely to be dealing with a phobia.


Hypnotherapy and Suggestion therapy can give very varied results and has been seen to not last and see recidivism. I read a story of someone with a plane phobia who successfully flew out but then couldn’t fly back as it had worn off.

BWRT – excellent results usually in one or two sessions depending on original trigger.

Hypnoanalysis – a longer therapy to undertake and it really needs to be a phobia and not a strong fear to be effective.

Contact me here to overcome your fear of flying today.

Is Anxiety Exhausting?

Is Anxiety Exhausting?

In my blog this week I am going to explain why the sufferer of anxiety often feels tired and answer the question, Is Anxiety Exhausting?

When I begin work with a client one of the first questions I ask is about the symptoms they are experiencing. There is a pool of symptoms that are shared and many overlap, heart racing, sweats, shakes and so on, but very rarely do people tell me they feel tired. I always ask though, and they usually respond with a resounding ‘yes’! It is a very common, shared symptom of anxiety that is often overlooked.

To understand why we feel exhaustion we have to learn about our survival instincts, or how you may know it, our fight, flight or freeze response. The human mind has an emergency alarm it can trigger when it believes it is in danger. The important aspect of that last sentence is the word ‘believes’ it is in danger. Being in danger and believing you are in danger can be complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

For instance being stuck in a cable car, you are not actually in danger, you are in a situation that isn’t comfortable but not in danger. If you suffered from claustrophobia you will ‘believe’ you are in danger when in fact you are just in an uncomfortable situation.

Are you really in danger?

When the mind believes you are in danger, regardless if you are or not, it will set off the built in survival instinct mechanism and you will experience whichever symptoms of anxiety that affect you. The reason these symptoms are experienced is because your mind is alerting you to something being wrong in your immediate environment.  It works the same way if your body becomes damaged – you feel pain in the damaged area. It is about bringing your attention to something wrong so you can resolve it. The feelings experienced when we feel fear are simply alerts that you will find very hard to ignore so you are forced to take action. The claustrophobic stuck in a tight space will feel anxious and do his best to remove himself from that situation. At a basic level this is a great alarm system but unfortunately it goes off when it really shouldn’t.  This is due to out of date beliefs and rules that we generally have picked up through childhood. Our subconscious mind has learnt and stored ineffective response patterns to things that shouldn’t trigger it but does.

Herein lies something all those that suffer anxiety experience. They want to do something but feel pulled back to not do it. This is where there is conflict between the conscious and subconscious parts of our brain. Our conscious wants to do something but our subconscious has a rule that states that it is dangerous so sets off the fight, flight or freeze response.

Our ancestral background!

If we go back a few million years to cavemen times we will see that we hadn’t developed the Neomammalian complex of our brain – the part of the brain that has the ability for conscious awareness. We functioned simply on something being dangerous or not. We didn’t think about it because at this point in our evolution we couldn’t! For our survival we just followed the responses, if we felt sensations we would be more cautious. It was a flawless protocol and kept us alive.

Problems started when we developed the Neomammalian complex of the brain as we could now argue against those feelings. But here was a flaw in our development. The subconscious part of the brain also known as the reptilian complex or hind brain doesn’t listen to our conscious part. Once a rule is set in the hind brain it is not possible to change. It is seen as a life or death response and one that has to be obeyed. So even if consciously you know something is safe, if the hind brain disagrees it will activate the fight, flight or freeze response and you will be alerted via all the unwanted and unwarranted sensations in your body. These sensations are very hard to ignore so you generally do what you can to remove yourself from the situation you find yourself in.

Fight, Flight or Freeze!

This built in alarm is only supposed to go off in an emergency. To create symptoms of anxiety takes a lot of energy in the body and its ideal use should be very limited. If we look at each below;

Fight – When the alarm is activated non-required systems like digestion are shut down and the blood is moved to the larger muscles to add better movement and strength to fight when required.

Flight – As above, but rather than using our body to fight it means we can move away as quick as possible.

Freeze – Our body has a fantastic ability to hold perfectly still if it feels a danger may be looking for us. This ability to hide and stay quiet and silent is used until any potential threat have left the area.

Each of the above are supposed to be for one of random situations, expelling the amount of energy it takes to fire them up is ok if it’s done occasionally, once a week, month etc. The problem for the anxiety sufferer is that these responses are being triggered daily or, even hourly. Continuously using up this back up energy to fire up those sensations is extremely tiring.

This function that was in our ancestry was only used for life or death situations but as we evolved we began to use it more and more and it became used for situations that we believed were life or death but, in actuality, were not. 

Is Anxiety Exhausting? Yes

This is why anxiety is so exhausting. We are constantly burning energy to fire up a response that is not required. Obviously this isn’t being done intentionally (consciously) but means the person has triggers that are firing that don’t need to be.

BWRT is a fantastic tool to help with those triggers. BWRT allows the hind brain to fire up the trigger but instead of it firing off the fight or flight response we can replace that with a preferred response of feeling calm. No triggers, no stress, more energy ☺

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Anxiety Vs Panic

Anxiety Vs Panic

One and the same or completely different? My Personal view of Anxiety Vs Panic

I experienced panic attacks many years ago and for me I always saw them as the same as anxiety; just different levels of distress. My reasoning was fairly simple, when my sensations (scale of 1-10, ten being worst) were between 1 and 7, I classed this as anxiety, when they tripped over to 8, 9 and 10 and went full blown, I felt them as a panic attack.

So for me and my experiences of anxiety vs panic were basically the same, albeit different levels of distress. But that was because my symptoms closely matched each other, heart racing, shaking. But for anyone who didn’t share the same symptoms Panic attacks would feel completely different.

I think the most accurate description is defined as this.

The differences between panic and anxiety are best described in terms of the intensity of the symptoms and length of time the main symptoms occur.

Anxiety would always be seen as milder compared to a panic attack. But anxiety can last a lot longer than a panic attack. This is due to the fact it’s not actually possible to sustain a Panic attack for long periods of time whereas anxiety can stay bubbling under the surface almost indefinitely.  A Panic attack typically lasts between 10 and 45 minutes and usually leaves the sufferer completely exhausted once it’s over, especially if it goes on for closer to 45 minutes. Whereas anxiety can stay switched on for hours, days, even weeks and months. This is due to the amount of energy required.

A panic attack is our body’s alarm believing something is wrong and it activates its highest threat level that something is amiss. If you were ever caught up in a real danger you wouldn’t likely notice the change in the physiology as your mind would be focussed on the actual threat, but when it goes off and it shouldn’t, your mind has sole focus on the body and it doesn’t like the way it is feeling. A panic attack is such an intense and sudden feeling of fear it is almost impossible to ignore it; which is one of the reasons it does it.

Panic attacks symptoms

  • Heart palpation’s
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizzy, light headed
  • Fear of losing control, going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Chills or hot flushes

If you find that your experiences of anxiety symptoms are in that list you can see why people think they are one and the same. But if your anxiety experience was, for example, irritability, disturbed sleep, constant worrying etc. a panic attack doesn’t appear to be similar at all.

You can probably see why this debate will be argued by different people depending simply on their symptoms. I always believed they were the same but different intensity levels but someone else could experience a completely different set of sensations when experiencing either anxiety or panic.

My conclusion

It is whatever it feels to you, if they are the same to you that’s fine, if two different experiences then that is also fine. Your experience of them will give you your answer and that answer is the truth for you. The reality is, it just isn’t worth trying to argue this with another person as there truth may be different to yours.

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Why don’t others understand anxiety?

Why don’t others understand anxiety?

This blog will hopefully be helpful for both the sufferer and the non-suffering person to understand why don’t others understand anxiety?. Many years ago I stayed in an Airbnb. It was my first time staying in someone else’s house and I was keen to get on with the host. The lady I met asked why I was in the area and I mentioned that I was currently studying and undertaking a training course for BWRT. As soon as she found out I was a therapist I was whisked into the dining room and sat round the table talking ‘anxiety’. It turned out her teenage daughter suffered terribly and the mum was at a complete loss why.

The mum and daughter

She mentioned her daughter had everything she wanted; she lived in a nice house, big bedroom, all the luxuries she could want but was anxious. The mum was at her wits end as she wanted to help her daughter but simply had no idea why she was like she was, when from the outside, everything seemed perfect to her daughter.

The mum She was extremely outgoing and confident but I asked her what made her anxious. She replied ‘nothing’. So I asked her again, she again said ‘I can’t really think of anything’. I then insisted she told me something that made her anxious as we all have something and she mentioned ‘being in America and visiting the tops of high buildings – heights!’

I asked her how her daughter was when they were at the top of those building. She mentioned she was fine with heights. For the mum though, she had an anxiety that she believed was logical, so she had a reasoning for her feelings whilst at the top of the buildings. I’m up high, this is dangerous it is fine to feel like I do.

Logical or Illogical?

I went on to explain that the mum’s response wasn’t logical though, unless she was leaning dangerously out the window or the building was frail and could fall down, she had no reason to feel anxious. But the key here is she did. And those feelings were a response to her own psyche at that moment in time. Her feelings are her own and they will be triggered by any number of situations or thoughts, in this case her fear of heights triggered her anxiety.

Incorrect and out of date belief systems

As we grow through childhood we actively create rule after rule to keep ourselves safe. At some point in the mum’s life she picked up the rule that heights were to be avoided and her anxiety symptoms were a mechanism to keep her safe by trying to persuade her from going near them. Unfortunately some of these rules we live by are incorrect and can be extremely illogical which creates further anxiety; because we created them as a child we had no ability to challenge them if they were incorrect – as we simply didn’t know better at the time. But they are rules we live by to keep ourselves safe even if they are wrong! We end up with a conflict between our conscious and subconscious. The former wants to do something that it knows is safe but it’s overridden by the subconscious that has a rule against it saying it’s dangerous. Which can be seen here, the sightseeing mum consciously wants to go and see the great view from the top of the building, but her subconscious working from an out of date incorrect rule telling her to not go up.

When it believes something is dangerous it expels a variety of symptoms to keep you away from it. Heart racing, blushing, shakes, trembling, sweats, jelly legs etc.… Add you own to this list. At this point, hopefully it makes sense that everyone of us has a different set of rules that we created as we grew up.

Lack of empathy or a misunderstanding?

I remember many years ago I was attending a fear of spider’s event. Everyone in the room had a fear of spiders. When people were telling stories between themselves there was an extremely high amount of empathy flowing around the room, lots of ‘I know exactly how you feel’. In this instance, the people in this room all suffering arachnophobia could understand their fellow acquaintances. They had the same built in rule in their psyche and could easily relate.

But. If I had started to talk about flying it would have changed very quickly. Maybe out of the 20 or so people only a handful would be fearful of flying. At this point the empathy would start to fall and conversations like ‘I love flying its safe, I can’t understand why you would be scared, safest form of travel’. Someone who just a moment ago was so understanding about your spider phobia is now completed bewildered that you could fear flying!

The stubborn psyche

Herein lies the issue. It is very hard for your psyche to understand something that doesn’t exist within it.  When you search your own mind and get a match you have a frame of reference – as above the people in with the spider phobia, whereas when someone hears about someone with a fear of flying and this is absent in their own mind, they fail to understand how you could possibly be scared of it.

Often it appears as a complete lack of sensitivity but the actual reality is that people don’t often possess the ability to sympathise in a way until the situation has been explained to them. The lady at the start of this post started to make sense of her daughter’s predicament once she used her feelings of anxiety at the top of the building and realised that is how she felt at that moment. And her daughter feels her own feelings in her moments.

This isn’t about a right or wrong. It’s understanding that everyone feels different things towards different things. Be that, positive or negative, we all get triggered. Understanding we all have different triggers that then trigger different emotional response allows us the ability to be compassionate and non-judgemental towards someone.

Your truth, their truth, both valid!

If someone feels the way they do, regardless of how illogical it may seem to you it is still true for that person. We live in a country where spiders don’t kill us. Yet around 1 in 5 people are scared of them. Illogical yes, but a truth nonetheless.

Whenever I am faced with trying to get someone to understand anxiety I ask for a fear they hold themselves, explain to them how it’s illogical but it belongs to them and it is their truth. This usually opens up their psyche enough to see how we are all affected in different ways to our own rule set.

However incorrect our rules may be!

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