Anxiety is not just a problem; it is a costly epidemic. Therefore, this and future articles will address various aspects of anxiety. We will chat about what it is, its many forms and the many different ways an anxiety sufferer can be helped.
Please remember that when working with someone who has a medically related issue, you must obtain a proper doctor's referral prior to working with that client.
Anxiety: What is it?
"Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained."
"Nerves and butterflies are fine - they're a physical sign that you're mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation; that's the trick."
Anxiety can range from a chronic feeling of unease to crippling panic attacks.
These responses can be triggered when faced with a stressful situation, such as
an exam or an interview, or during a difficult time such as an illness or accident.
Mind you, it is normal to feel anxious when facing something new, difficult or dangerous, and mild anxiety can have a positive and useful influence.
If you think about it, fear and excitement are experienced in roughly the same place: the gut. Think excited butterflies. But for some people, instead of friendly little butterflies, they have large birds of prey living inside their bellies.
Anxiety is often worsened by the fact that it is typically (but not always) associated with other psychiatric injuries such as depression. This is why having a physician's approval is important -- if a doctor feels that any additional help may be counter-productive to their patient's health, then it is best to respect that decision.
When I do get a green light from a client's physician, I find that it helps to have an idea as to my client's deep, driving post-hypnotic suggestions. These autogenous, anxiety inducing suggestions are typically rooted in certain personality types and traits so, let's have a look at some.
Anxiety Prone Personality Traits and Types
The following are some of the personality types and their particular traits that attract, invite and ferment anxiety in all its forms.
Your client can be a mixture by the way. Check boxes from different types that apply to your client. An important point is that wherever you do find as a match, this is a clear indicator to you of what you can work on to begin changing your client's life.
How? For example, I used to fear making mistakes. Screwing up would just prove that
I was the Loser I didn't want others to see. Hypnosis for confidence definitely helped me to be less concerned with making mistakes.
As I explain to my clients, Life is about making mistakes. That is how you figure out how not to make mistakes. Mistakes are events, not identities. (Though some people believe they are "mistakes"---but that is another discussion.)
Anyway, look at the different traits and types and see where your client may have "growth opportunities".
I like the expression "growth opportunities" instead of "flaws". This is because thinking you have flaws indicates a feeling of essential unworthiness whereas having a growth opportunity indicates essential worthiness and the possibility of eventual success.
Okay, let's find your client's growth opportunities!
1. Perfectionist (who is chronically stressed and burned out)
Fear of making mistakes
Self-worth dependent on getting things 'just right'
Can always do better
Experiences anxiety because their efforts aren't good enough
This leads to "working harder, not smarter"
Very little patience or tolerance for others or one's own mistakes
Stress, exhaustion, and burnout are telltale signs of this person
2. Desperate Approval Seeker (who always seems a bit sad underneath)
Deep sense of not being good enough
External referencing the 'rightness' of one's value and actions
Always laying across puddle for others to walk on
Ignoring own feelings
Resentment, anger and frustration are the outcome of this behavior
Often, these people are what I call "Cheerful Martyrs"
3. Tough Guy ("Feelings? Who needs them? I ain't got time to bleed.")
Tendency to downplay or completely ignore physical and mental signs of excessive stress
Pushes self too hard
Hits point of diminishing returns just before crash
Ignores body's warning signs like chest pain, tremors, facial tics
4. Control Freak ("It's my way or the highway.")
Everything must be predictable and controllable
People must do what CF says because then there are safe, predictable outcomes
You'd think these kind of people would dress neat as a pin, but no
Telltale sign is that they do not know how to delegate any task
Cannot admit to mistakes but can quickly point out others' mistakes
5. Worrier (who of course, is all about anxiety)
By anticipating the worst, this personality type always imagines worst case scenarios in most, if not all situations
They find it impossible to see positive outcomes. Will always respond: "Yeah, butů"
Almost always overestimates the odds of doing something stupid, bad or embarrassing
Creates grandiose images of potential failure or catastrophe
6. Critic (who can never say enough bad things about himself)
That part of us which is constantly judging and evaluating us
Points out flaws and limitations whenever possible
It is a negative, inner voice that never seems to shut up
Jumps on any mistake to reminds a person that they are a failure
Endlessly comparing self with others and always losing except for ego assuaging assumptions of superiority to others
Effectively filters out their own positive qualities and focuses on their unique, terrible, unforgivable weaknesses
7. Victim (who is hopeless and doomed to a life of 'less than')
That part of us that feels helpless or hopeless
"One step forward, two steps back" is the Victim's Life Motto
Shame is their deep identity
There are always more obstacles than there are solutions and usually the obstacles are impossible to surmount
Waiting for someone to rescue them and this usually determines the (often unhappy) direction of their relationships
They are in a lot of 'original' pain
You may be wondering what to do with the above information. There are a number of things you can do and I'll be discussing my favorite hypnotic scripts and interventions in the following articles. However, one thing you can do immediately to help your client is begin removing the hypnotic power of their harmful self-talk. For example, look at the Victim Personality Type. Notice their possible life motto: "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back."
You can guide your client into trance and then have them begin to imaginatively modify their life motto in any safe way that occurs to them. Ask them to be creative.
One technique I have found very effective when appropriately and carefully applied, is the following:
Have your client stand in center of room with their eyes closed.
Ask them to begin saying their motto over and over until they really get that bad feeling.
Have them take one step forward. Ask them what they are thinking and feeling.
As they tell you, have them take two steps back.
Repeat this procedure 7 times.
Now, break their state. Have them open their eyes and talk about something neutral.
After a minute or so, have them close their eyes again.
Tell them to start repeating that Life motto again and to step forward at correct time.
Ask them to step back at the usual time.
As they go to step backward, stop them. Tell them to keep their eyes closed and to allow you to guide them forward 2 steps even though they temporarily feel as if they're going backwards. You can even gently give them suggestions such as: "Even now you feel one thing but you are doing another aren't you? For example, you are learning how to do many things just as you have learned so many things in the past, aren't you?"
Repeat this process 14 times. Avoid telling client how many times you are doing either process.
Once done, your client should be fairly tired. Ask them which they remember more, the regular stepping forward/backward or the new stepping forward/forward.
If you're wondering, yes it is a bit of an awkward process at first for both of you. And, let me stress again that this method must be safely, appropriately applied.
I believe you will find it very interesting to note how, in hypnosis, this old adage really does apply: "Bring the body and the mind will follow."
Finally, before I go, I would like to share one suggestion that I
find carries particular influence with my clients: "When you are face
to face with a difficulty, you are just around the corner from a life
Anxiously Yours :)