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What to do when anxiety is ruining your life!

Anxiety can often feel like it is completely ruining your life!

When I struggled with anxiety it lead me to fail my combined masters degree and meant that I couldn’t enter the profession I wanted to.

Although anxiety can feel completely desperate, there is hope and ways that you can get back on top of your anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

Put simply, anxiety is a fear of a future event.

This fear can occur because of previous experiences that have been negative, a new experience that you can't control or an experience that is normally fine but somehow you suddenly become scared of it going wrong.

Anxiety is both a mental and physical condition. The mental aspect in anxiety is the mental fear of something and this comes about because of negative thoughts. The physical aspect is the symptoms of anxiety which range from slight heart rate increase and butterflies all the way through to panic attacks and fainting (vasovagal syncope).

Why do we get it?

Our brains have evolved to react fast...

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What does anxiety feel like?

This is a question I get asked a lot by people who are trying to work out if what they are feeling is anxiety or is normal for a person with anxiety.

If you haven’t read it already then I would recommend you listen to my podcast episode on the role of adrenaline on the body as this also covers many of the symptoms that people with anxiety often struggle with, you can find it here.

This list of symptoms has been taken from the NHS website[1] and covers all of the symptoms that I usually see in clinic.

  • feel tired, on edge, restless or irritable
  • feel a sense of dread
  • be unable to concentrate or make decisions
  • have trouble sleeping
  • feel sick, dizzy, sweaty or short of breath
  • be shaky or trembly
  • get headaches or tummy aches
  • avoid situations or put off doing things you are worried about
  • have difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • experience a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat
  • have pins and needles
  • have a dry mouth
  • sweat excessively
  • repeatedly check things or seek...
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Client Story: What anxiety feels like

Please note that this client story is based on a real client however names, dates and any identifying information has been changed to protect anonymity.

 

I have chosen this client story as it demonstrates beautifully how anxiety actually feels to the people who are suffering with it.  If you would like to know why anxiety feels the way it does then head over to my blog on the role of adrenaline in anxiety.

 

Sam:

Sam was a business owner and relatively successful when they contacted me for help with their anxiety. Their anxiety was focused on their health and revolved around the idea that there was something seriously wrong with them.

When their anxiety got to the point that they were having panic attacks they felt that it was important that they did something about it. Sam had seen me speak at an event and liked my straightforward approach.

Sam was experiencing light headedness and palpitations on a fairly regular basis however medical investigations had ruled out...

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How hypnotherapy works for anxiety.

What is hypnosis?

Best explanation that I can find from research, neuroimaging and from feedback from clients is that hypnosis, when delivered therapeutically, calms and focuses the mind. When people struggle with anxiety, they often can’t control the thoughts that come into their minds. These thoughts can often remind them of past upset, encourage thinking of worst-case scenarios and contribute towards a constant negative self-talk that damages confidence and self-esteem.

Hypnosis seems to be able to cut through this constant stream and show people how they can calm their minds.

Once you know how it feels you can then do this for yourself, this is called self-hypnosis. This means that clients with anxiety learn how to calm and control their minds so that they can choose how to respond to thoughts that come into their mind.

By creating this calm and focused mind we can then add in other techniques such as positive suggestions to build confidence and visualisation to help the...

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PODCAST - How hypnotherapy works for Anxiety

This is a question I get asked a lot by potential clients and people I meet networking and, to be fair, it's a really good question!

In this episode I cover what hypnosis is, how we use it in a therapeutic setting and why I combine hypnosis with cognitive behavioural therapy for working with anxiety.

I also cover briefly some information on the evidence base behind these therapies and how you can find out more about where to get good advice on therapeutic interventions.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes

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References mentioned in the podcast and where you can find out more:

[1] https://www.intechopen.com/books/new-insights-into-anxiety-disorders/using-hypnosis-in-the-treatment-of-anxiety-disorders-pros-and-cons

[2] https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg113/chapter/1-Guidance#principles-of-care-for-people-with-generalised-anxiety-disorder-gad

 
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Self-care tips to make sure you get the most out of the Christmas period

Christmas can be extremely stressful, I have spoken to clients this week who are worried about presents, food, family relationships, time and much more.

There is always just so much to do right? All for ONE DAY!!!

So, here are my top self-care tips to make sure you actually enjoy the whole festive period.

 

Give perfectionism the brush off

A lot of the things people stress about aren’t as important as they think they are. Finding the perfect present for some distant cousin you see once a year is not worth the stress it causes.

Ask yourself questions like “What do I know they like?” and “What do I know they will use?” if you can get something that they like or will use then you are on to a winner. If you can’t answer those questions then be OK with getting them something nice and generic.

Giving can actually make us happy when we approach it in the right way so be realistic with how personal each gift can be and enjoy finding nice, funny or...

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PODCAST - How to enjoy Christmas parties, even with anxiety

This episode is focusing around my top hints and tips on how you can enjoy the party season, even if you struggle with anxiety and social anxiety.

These tips have been tried and tested by myself and my clients in clinic so make sure you have a listen and try them out.

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How to enjoy Christmas parties, even with anxiety!!

Anxiety can be a massive hindrance when it comes to enjoying a party and this time of year can be a struggle, especially if you struggle with social anxiety.

I have never been an outgoing or particularly sociable person and so when I struggled with anxiety myself, it seemed that the simplest option was to avoid social events altogether.

When it comes to Christmas, there are often loads of invitations to parties that can get your heart racing. Office parties, family gatherings and Christmas parties for those you share a hobby with all come around once a year and can make the month of December very stressful indeed.

Here are some tried and tested tips to help make Christmas party season fun, even if you struggle with anxiety.

Arrive on time

This may seem like an odd tip but arriving on time for a party or meal can be very beneficial if you don’t find socialising comfortable.

When you arrive on time you are usually there before most people who prefer to arrive fashionably late...

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PODCAST - Cognitive Distortions: What are they and how do they affect you?

anxiety mental health Nov 22, 2019

In this episode I go into detail about cognitive distortions. I cover what they are, the most common ones that people do and examples of how they can affect your mental health.

Self awareness is key to overcoming anxiety so this episode will talk through all of the most common distortions so that you can consider if these thought patterns affect you.

My FREE cognitive distortions exercise can be downloaded from https://www.anxiety2confidence.com/

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It shouldn't happen to a marathon runner!!

I used to watch the London Marathon most years with my Dad and for some reason got into my head that I wanted to run it some day, I have no idea why as running is NOT an activity that I enjoy...

Later I made it a goal that I would do the London Marathon before I was 30.

2014

2014 was my first marathon attempt!

Unfortunately one week before the marathon my pony, Linford, decided to have a huge strop and crushed my big toe!!! When it happened I didn't realise the extent of the injury, after all it was just a toe right?

Jon drove me to Salisbury A&E as we figured we needed to know how bad it was and one Xray later we discovered a crush fracture of the end bone in my big toe and the fracture had compromised the joint.

I asked the consultant if there was any chance I could run on it and was met with a look of complete disbelief and the word "no".

All those hours of training and I spent the next few weeks walking around with this sexy footwear:

2017

After the burn of 2014 I had...

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Discover which common negative thinking patterns you have.

The way we think has a huge impact on our mental health. If you are looking to overcome your anxiety or just improve your mental health then first you need to know what thoughts are making things worse.

This download gives you a list of the most common ways we think negatively. All you need to do is see which ones you do most.

Also, keep an eye on your emails! I will be sending you a really useful video that goes with this exercise.