Anxiety is a very real part of the lives of millions of people. For some it is a minor annoyance. For others it can be completely debilitating. Wherever you (or your loved one) falls in that spectrum, know that there are successful strategies for treating anxiety, coping with anxiety, overcoming anxiety and even eliminating anxiety completely.

How Susan Overcame Anxiety:

A couple years ago I received a call from a woman, let’s call her “Susan,” who was struggling with anxiety. Her experience is a great representation of what so many people go through when trying to cope with anxiety. I’ll be sharing a bit of her experience throughout this article.

You Are Normal

The first thing to understand when dealing with anxiety is that you are normal. Millions of people from every walk of life, from every socio-economic background suffer with anxiety.

And, while it is important to understand that dealing with anxiety is indeed normal, it’s also very important to understand that it’s just as normal to want to be rid of it. Anxiety need not be a life sentence. There is hope for overcoming anxiety.

How Susan Overcame Anxiety (cont.):

Susan certainly was normal. In fact by nearly every measure she lived a normal and relatively happy life. A mother and wife, she loved her family. She had a career. She enjoyed spending time with hobbies and hanging out her husband and their friends. A completely normal woman that most of us could relate to.

Susan also had another aspect of her life that fewer might be able to find relatable. She experienced intense anxiety around driving. And while she had suffered with this for decades, she was tired of it and wanted to be free of this anxiety.

I work with plenty of clients, like Susan, who have struggled with anxiety for years, often decades. Sometimes that struggle was in silence, but often they seek help.

Sometimes we’re told, by the people in our lives, friends, family, even doctors and counselors, that anxiety is a life sentence. That the best you can do is learn to live with it.

Perhaps you’ve been told in the past just to “get over it.”

Maybe you’ve been told that you can’t have anxiety because “your life isn’t that difficult.”

It’s possible that you’ve been made to feel guilt or shame because of your anxiety, being made to feel that you’re a failure or weak. Being made to feel like a poor student, or spouse, employee or parent.

Perhaps, and I’ve seen this a few times, you’ve even been made to feel like a failure in your faith. That if God loved you more, or if you were somehow more “spiritual” that this burden would be lifted from you.

Those ideas are FALSE!

Again, you are normal. For whatever reason (which I’ll hit on a little later in this article) your brain has learned to respond to certain life events in ways that, rather than support you, cause you to feel fear dread, worry, even panic…in other words, anxiety.

That’s really the exciting part here. For the vast majority of people, anxiety is a learned response. And if a negative response has been learned then you can almost certainly learn a positive response as well.

Do I Have Anxiety?

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health there are predictable signs and symptoms of anxiety. They include:

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Difficulty controlling the worry.
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep).

Of course, no matter who you are, or what your experience is you’ve almost certainly experience all of these symptoms before.

The key to understand here is that these are persistent, lasting for months or longer. Not that they are continuous for months or years, but that they always come up under the same circumstances and often times rather than getting better with time and exposure they actually gets worse.

How Susan Overcame Anxiety (cont.):

For Susan, the pattern was mostly very predictable. For many years whenever she would need to drive on the highway she would become overwhelmed. She would often need to sit in her driveway for long periods of time trying to prepare herself. Then, while driving she was terrified. It took all her concentration to stay on the road. Over the years, it became worse. Ultimately that is why she came to see me. While for a long time the anxiety existing only on highways, and only when she was driving, it had become broader. Now, any driving was bothering her and even if she was a passenger (something which had never bothered her before) she was feeling it.

It was making it nearly impossible to live her life.

Fear Is Acute, Anxiety Is Long-Term

Also, and this is my own personal criteria, these symptoms must be predictable. What I mean is that if you experience some or all of these anxiety symptoms each and every time around some specific trigger then you can be sure it’s anxiety.

So, if every time you need to need to give a presentation for work you find yourself experiencing some (or all) of these symptoms in the weeks or months leading up to it then you can be pretty sure you have anxiety from public speaking.

Now, if you’re particularly nervous about one big presentation, but fine with all the others, then you likely don’t suffer from anxiety around public speaking. You’re probably just nervous about that one presentation.

What Are the Effects of Anxiety?

As you might imagine, anxiety affects different people differently.

Many people experience very acute anxiety. Perhaps just while driving over a bridge, or just while speaking in front of large groups. People with acute anxiety usually find ways of mitigating their anxiety.

They might find a route to work without any bridges. Or they just won’t take a job that requires them to give presentations.

Others have more of a generalized anxiety, or their acute anxiety is about something so prevalent in their lives that they suffer from it nearly every day.

How Susan Overcame Anxiety (cont.):

Susan was an expert at mitigating her anxiety. She knew every back road between her and work, school, the grocery store and her mother’s house. Sure, getting anywhere took her nearly twice as long as it would otherwise, but sticking to those backroads kept her anxiety at bay.

She couldn’t always find a back route though and that meant relying on family. Her husband was understanding, but even the most understanding person will eventually become frustrated at being asked to drive someone who is perfectly capable of driving herself. It began to become a burden on the relationship.

And, of course, there weren’t always other people around to help drive which meant Susan was on her own.

The fear, dread and panic that lead up to the car ride was usually just as bad, and sometimes worse, than the trip itself. For her the constant stress lead to stomach issues and many sleepless nights.

That constant level of anxiety can lead to all sorts of problems. Troubles eating and sleeping. High blood pressure and related heart problems. Damaged careers. Ruined relationships. For some it can lead to depression, even PTSD.

Anxiety is insidious. But it doesn’t have to be.

Treating Anxiety

There are several ways of treating anxiety, though they vary quite a bit in effectiveness. Traditionally someone suffering with anxiety would be referred to a therapist for talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. Generally speaking, these therapies are rather ineffective.

Essentially in traditional therapy the patient is told to try to be different. Or told to try and think different. The problem with this approach is that the person doesn’t want to feel this way, or think this way. In fact someone suffering from anxiety knows that their fear is usually completely irrational.

You cannot use the cognitive, rational mind to alleviate an irrational behavior!

Today, the most common treatment for anxiety is to prescribe medication. For many people that’s all they wanted. Sure the problem never goes away, but with a couple pills they can at least get through it.

How Susan Overcame Anxiety (cont.):

Susan had been through all the standard therapies before coming to me. In fact that’s true for so many of my clients. However, years of therapy had no effect other than draining her bank account. And while medication could sometimes help, she hated the side effects and feeling like she was dependent on drugs just to get through life. She wanted an alternative.

Hypnosis: An Effective, All-Natural Way of Treating Anxiety

Now for the really exciting bit. There exists a highly effective, all-natural treatment for anxiety. And not only does it work really well, it also works really fast. That treatment…hypnosis.

Looking for more information on exactly what hypnosis and hypnotherapy are and how they work? Read this article, The Ultimage Guide to Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy.

How Susan Overcame Anxiety (cont.):

When Susan came to me she was at her wit’s end. Years of therapy and medication had not helped the problem. In fact, not only had they not helped, but her driving anxiety had gotten much worse.

While initially she couldn’t drive on highways, now it was all roads and while, for many years, she was fine with being a passenger, now she couldn’t even handle that.

Her and her husband needed relief from this anxiety and they needed it now. She was so desperate for help that she endured the two-hour anxiety-filled car ride to my office (this was before I offered Internet based hypnotherapy sessions).

How Hypnotherapy Works

Hypnosis, i.e. hypnotherapy, works completely differently than other forms of therapy. In hypnotherapy you’re not asked to be different, to behave different, to practice exercises which never seem to do anything.

In hypnotherapy we don’t work with you conscious, cognitive mind to address your anxiety. After all, the conscious mind is the seat of reason, willpower and logic.

I can guarantee that you’ve used all the reason and logic at your disposal to try to convince yourself that this anxiety is irrational and shouldn’t exist. And, I can also guarantee that it didn’t work.

Likewise, every drop of willpower at your disposal has not yet been able to stave off your anxiety.

So why then do traditional therapies rely exclusively on just those resources, logic, reason and willpower…the conscious mind?

Perhaps they don’t know better. Perhaps they do know better but realize that you and your insurance are worth far more to them as a years long patient than as a client for a few weeks.

Hypnotherapy works directly with the subconscious mind. The part of your mind in charge of emotion and belief. And, while in a hypnotic state we weaken those old, ineffective and harmful ways of thinking and behaving. Then we create new ways of thinking and behaving.

It's All About the Subconscious Mind

The key is that it’s not happening on a conscious, cognitive level. It’s happening emotionally.

So, just as today, when you think about the stimulus of your anxiety and begin the familiar patterns negative feelings and behaviors, after hypnotherapy you just don’t feel the same way.

You’re never asked to struggle to be different or think different. It just happens, naturally. It comes from within. You’re still you. You just don’t have the anxiety anymore. It really is that simple.

How Susan Overcame Anxiety (cont.):

Susan arrived at my office exhausted. Two hours in the car, and the days of anxious expectation leading up to that car ride completely wore her out. Even so, she was hopeful that I could help.

She was honest too, and told me that I really was her last resort. She had tried everything else with no real success and didn’t really believe that I could help. In fact, she was mostly here at her husbands insistence.

Of course, I reassured her that I understood completely. The simple truth is, for most of my clients I am just that, a last-ditch attempt to find some relief. Few really believe in hypnosis, but when all else has failed it’s at least worth a try.

Susan's First Session

After talking for awhile Susan’s husband decided to go wait in the lobby and Susan and I began her hypnosis.

It was pretty typical for a first session. Susan was the average hypnotherapy client, open and cooperative, but just a little weary. As is often the case she was a little surprised to learn that she would remain conscious and aware through the entire session. Years of hypnosis on TV had led her to believe that she’d be in a deep trance, with no awareness or memory. But no, that’s not what hypnotherapy in the real world is like.

After the thrity or so minutes we spent in hypnosis I left Susan to enjoy the amazing sense of peace and relaxation, that most clients experience after being brought out of trance, as I went and got her husband from the lobby.

We set a follow-up session for one week and said our goodbyes.

Most Clients Only Neds Six Sessions

My clients average six sessions. Of course, everyone is different, some need fewer, and some need a little more, but compared to traditional therapy, hypnotherapy is incredibly fast.

As I mentioned, quite a few of my clients come to me as a last resort. They’ve been in therapy for years and are just fed up with the lack of progress.

I’ve had so many clients come to me after ten, fifteen, even twenty-five years in therapy and after a few weeks they’ve achieved their goals.

What’s perhaps even more remarkable about hypnotherapy, than just how amazingly fast it can be, is just how natural it is.

You are never asked to be different, to struggle against yourself or to develop intrusive and usually ineffective strategies for living.

No, you just continue to be you. That part of you that today says to be afraid of driving, or bridges, or elevators or doctors or public speaking, or whatever it is…that part just isn’t there anymore. In fact, with alarming consistency, my clients often don’t even realize things have changed until friends and family point it out.

Hypnotherapy: Treating Anxiety In Many Forms.

  • Hypnosis for Elevator Claustrophobia.
  • Public Speaking Fear and Anxiety Hypnotherapy.
  • Hypnotherapy for Fear of Flying / Flying Anxiety.
  • Hypnosis for White Coast Syndrome (aka White Coat Anxiety, Fear of Doctors)
  • Test Anxiety and Exam Fear Hypnosis
  • Hypnotherapy for Anxiety While Driving.
  • Hypnosis for Fear of Bridges.
  • Social Anxiety Hypnotherapy.
  • Hypnosis for Work Related Stress & Anxiety.
  • Hypnotherapy for Arachnophobia or Generaly Fear of Insects.
  • Sports Performance Stress & Anxiety Hypnosis.
  • Hypnosis for Sexual Performance Anxiety.
  • Hypnotherapy for Dating Anxiety.
  • Hypnosis for Academic Anxiety.
  • General Anxiety Hypnotherapy.
  • Hypnosis for PTSD.
  • Hypnotherapy for Anxiety from Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors

How Susan Overcame Anxiety (cont.):

As scheduled, Susan and her husband arrived for their appointment a week later. I greeted them in the lobby and before heading back to my office Susan asked to use the restroom.

As soon as she was out of earshot her husband turned to me and with the most sincere expression of gratitude declared, “Dude! Thank you so much. This week has been amazing.” He filled me in on how different Susan had been this week. How she’d been able to drive just fine, and for the first time in months they actually got to go hang out with friends.

It’s not completely unheard of that one of my clients experiences such a dramatic change so quickly, but it’s still a bit uncommon. I was looking forward to hearing what Susan had to say during our session.

Hypnosis or Happenstance?

And, as it turns out her husband didn’t have the complete story, but he wasn’t far off. Susan really had been able to drive this week. She still had a little bit of worry while driving, but nothing at all like it had been just a week before. As a passenger however she was completely fine, something she hadn’t experienced for quite some time. All and all she couldn’t remember the last time that driving had been this easy.

I was, naturally, ready for her to heap a little praise my way, but it didn’t come, because as we continued talking Susan revealed something that I experience quite frequently. In her mind, she had just gotten over it. It wasn’t the hypnosis that had helped. She just, got over it.

For over twenty years this anxiety had plagued her and after a little hypnotherapy it was almost completely gone, but to her it was just a coincidence.

Truth be told, that’s actually pretty common. Because hypnotherapy is so natural, because the change comes from within, my clients often feel like they just, “got over it.” And, while my ego would appreciate just a little more praise, I can also take great pride in knowing that I helped to improve their life.

Susan and I did reinforced the changes she had been experiencing during our session that day and scheduled a follow up phone call for a couple weeks.

Lasting Changes

To my absolute delight, that phone call revealed that Susan’s anxiety was a thing of the past for her.

Susan’s experience is pretty typical with hypnotherapy. She did achieve her goals a little faster than most, but aside from that I’d consider Susan’s hypnotherapy experience to be about average.

I hoped you learned a little something in this article, and I hope that Susan’s experience gave you some insight into hypnotherapy.

If you’d like to learn more about how hypnotherapy can benefit you specifically please schedule a call with me. We’ll discuss your goals, I’ll answer any questions, and you’ll be in a position to decide if hypnotherapy might be the tool you need to overcome your anxiety.