Anxiety is a fear or concern that is often exaggerated and out of proportion to the situation, although sometimes it may not feel like this. This fear may be linked to certain situations, specific things or events, or the cause may not even be known to the sufferer. When the cause is unknown this we know as general anxiety disorder or GAD, also known as free floating anxiety.
We have a primal built in response to danger called the “fight or flight” response, which gives us a boost of adrenaline to enable us to stand and defend ourselves or run away, depending on the situation. Normally this response would only last for a short time to get us out of a specific situation. When suffering from anxiety the fight flight response gets triggered because of the perceived fear, or worry, known or unknown, conscious or unconscious. Because the perceived threat does not disperse, the fight flight response gets locked on, and as a result generates the symptoms linked to anxiety.
Typical symptoms of anxiety can be butterflies in the stomach, racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, panic attacks, chest tightness, nausea, sweating, headaches, shaking, insomnia and stomach complaints. Anxiety disorders can trigger phobias and full on panic attacks, and take control of people’s lives quite frequently. Traumatic experiences can trigger anxiety, together with other causes that may or may not consciously be known to the sufferer.
Performance anxiety is linked to specific events such as exams and tests, interviews, speeches and presentations, competitions and the like. In these cases the anxiety may only exist prior and during the event, and then dissipate once the event is over. When these are experienced frequently they can re-enforce the anxiety to a level where is becomes permanent as the subject gets “stuck” in the fight flight response.
A hypnotherapist can help assess the level of anxiety, identifying the root of the anxiety whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship. Then they will set you a goal asking how you would like 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. They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques.