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    Finding relief from anxiety: How hypnotherapy helps with reframing thought patterns

    FEATURE — Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at one time or another. Stress is a response to a threat in a situation; anxiety is a reaction to that stress. Almost 30% of adults and over 25% of teens are affected by an anxiety disorder, altering typical performance at work, at home, at school or in social settings. An estimated 284 million people worldwide experienced an anxiety disorder in 2017, making it the most widespread mental health disorder in the world. 

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    It’s common for those who have never lived with anxiety to misunderstand or minimize the severity of its effect on others. I have worked with several clients who have said, “I didn’t see how anxiety could be a real problem for anyone until I experienced it myself. Now I get it!” 

    Anxiety disorders differ from general feelings of nervousness or anxiousness because they usually involve excessive fear and cause disproportionate reactions. Anxiety produces both physical and emotional symptoms, including irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and fatigue, difficulty concentrating, nausea and dizziness. 

    Common anxiety disorders include panic disorder, specific phobias, separation anxiety disorder and social anxiety. They can also mutate to or reinforce sleep disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, substance abuse and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among others.

    The American Association of Depression and Anxiety cites that only 30% of those suffering with anxiety disorder receive effective treatment. People with anxiety disorders may try to manage their condition by avoiding triggers. Unfortunately, this type of avoidance only serves to reinforce fears and worries. Most modern types of therapy address negative thinking and avoidance to help you manage anxiety.

    Beyond medication, there are two methods of treatment that are recognized to be effective, long-term solutions for anxiety disorder. They work well alone but may be most effective when combined.

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    The first approach is to locate the root of the anxiety and process and address what started the anxiety in the first place, helping the brain and body to learn that it’s okay to feel safe again. It’s important to know that many anxieties are rooted in traumas. Individuals who have experienced childhood trauma are most likely to develop an anxiety disorder, but anxiety disorders can also come from other situations in adulthood: large and small events, or a series of stressful situations that mesh together over time.

    Identifying experiences that may have occurred prior to the onset of the anxiety disorder may yield clues as to what uncomfortable or unwelcome events may be at the root of the anxiety. Processing and healing the cause (or causes) with a qualified therapist is ideal.

    The second method is to desensitize and reduce anxiety by identifying the thoughts and feelings that occur before and during anxiety-provoking situations, challenge those anxious thoughts and feelings with positive ones, then use relaxation exercises to help implement these new positive emotions into the situations that might normally be anxiety-provoking. This is called cognitive behavioral therapy, and its methods are proven to work to permanently change negative emotions over time.

    In clinical hypnotherapy, we find both methods to be equally important. Hypnotherapy accesses a deeper state of consciousness, where the cycles of the brain slow down and thoughts become easier to hold, manage and process. During hypnotherapy, the neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to change, is heightened, and the brain is primed for immediate changes to occur. Processing traumas and doing healing work during hypnotherapy is massively effective for deep mind shifts.

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    As a clinical hypnotherapist, I work with people to locate and address the hidden feelings behind their anxieties. They are then able to process the emotions from small or large traumas in a healthier way that gives closure and also benefits their future lives. After we’ve done the work to heal, reframe and desensitize old or stubborn traumas and while the brain is in the state of hyperplasticity, we use cognitive behavioral therapy methods to build new neural pathways. We practice experiencing scenarios that would typically evoke anxiety while feeling new, positive emotions in place of the anxiety. 

    Research shows that the longer an anxiety sufferer takes to address their disorder, the bigger the problem will likely become. If you or a loved one is dealing with the effects of an anxiety disorder, it’s best to take action sooner rather than later. Contact a qualified clinical hypnotherapist or therapist today, and move forward in your journey of finding peace and confidence in any situation again.

    To overcome your anxiety disorder through hypnotherapy, please contact me for a consultation or appointment by phone or text at 435-429-2560 or by email at erin@balancedmodernhypnotherapy.com.

    Written by ERIN DEL TORO, licensed clinical therapist with Balanced Modern Hypnotherapy.

    This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 issue of St. George Health and Wellness magazine.

    Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

    This content was originally published here.

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