Have you noticed how anxiety levels have soared since the latest set of COVID-19 Government measures were announced? Hypnotherapy is a proven therapy to help overcome panic and anxiety attacks.
The recent lifting of certain restrictions during the pandemic crisis has created an additional wave of nervousness across the board from parents and teachers, employees concerned about the logistics of travelling to work via public transport and managing social distancing, to estate agents worried about the safety of their staff entering people’s homes for viewings. That’s to name just a few, in fact recent research data, indicates a jump in the number of cases of people feeling overwhelming anxiety and panic.
What Causes Panic Attacks and Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural stress response triggered by perceived events that will threaten our safety and health. When we feel under threat our system releases adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol. Consequently triggering the fight, flight or freeze response. All well and good in a situation that involves you having to get out of a situation quickly i.e. being chased by a very hungry lion.
Covid-19 has triggered understandably, shock and resulting anxieties around job security, money, family health and other situations. All of these require our attention, but not necessarily our ‘fight or flight’ reaction. During this crisis for many we have felt out of control and out of our normal comfort zones.
Symptoms of Panic and Anxiety Attacks
Joe, a recent client, working for an International advertising agency, is a good example illustrating how his old panic attacks had returned and how by working with him he is back to feeling in control.
Triggered by working from home and living by himself, Joe described to me during his first online mindset session, how this time his panic attacks were far worse than ever before. Woken up at night, with a pounding chest, palpitations, sweats and nightmares, terrified he was going to die of a heart attack. His mind kept racing ahead focusing on all of the potential terrible things that may happen. Unable to go back to sleep the panic attacks were affecting his concentration during the day. Which roller balled into him believing he was going to be made redundant and loose his home and security.
If you feel that you can relate to some or all of the descriptions above, it is advisable for you to seek help so that you can talk about how you are feeling, and to obtain control over your feelings of panic and anxiety.
Fears over COVID-19 can take an emotional toll. It is the uncertainty surrounding this novel virus that most people with or without anxiety are finding difficult to deal with. Currently we have absolutely no idea when this virus will be eradicated, nor when we globally can go back to a sense of comfortable normality.
This uncertainty makes it all too easy for us to feel an overwhelming sense of fear, dread and panic, spiralling into negativity and an exaggerated sense of disaster.
To alleviate and avoid going down this route there are steps and strategies we can use to manage our anxiety and fears in this extraordinary time.
How Hypnotherapy Helps with Panic Attacks and Anxiety
During the hypnotherapy sessions working with Joe I asked him to list and write down all of the things he could control.
He learnt to control his anxiety and panic with the help of the bespoke self hypnosis MP3 suggestion, that I wrote and recorded for him specifically designed to calm and reassure his subconscious mind, the seat of our emotions and behaviours. The calmer we feel, the more we are in control of our breath and that sends messages to the brain that we are safe and secure, reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
4 Simple Things to Help Yourself:
1.Staying connected- ensure you speak to someone every day. See it as an energy exchange. Communicating with neighbours, friends, colleagues etc reduces feelings of isolation and helps keep a sense of perspective. Avoid nervous, doom mongers. Steer the conversation to more upbeat subjects.
2. Limit your exposure to the Media- Panic and anxiety quickly escalates like a forest fire once people overestimate a threat and underestimate their ability to cope. Yes, it’s important to stay informed but please use trustworthy sources. Check in no more than once a day. The same applies with social media sites too.
3.Focus on things that you can control- Life is full of uncertainty; however with the far-reaching impact of COVID-19, the loss of control has never been so apparent.
We often go into worry over drive. Worrying does not help. Instead it creates a dark vacuum, preventing you from seeing another perspective. Aim instead to develop your ability to enjoy and live in the present.
An effective CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) technique is to schedule in a specific worry time. Providing you with the time to acknowledge the worry, consider what is causing it, allowing you to consider potential solutions to stop the worry. Much preferred wouldn’t you agree to book it in rather than it pops up at 3.0 o’clock in the morning like an unwelcome visitor?
4.Be grateful & Re wire your brain –By focusing on the things that you are grateful for studies prove developing a gratitude attitude rewires the brain to feel healthier and happier. Focus on what you can be grateful for during this time. Run through the list at least once a day.
By expressing gratitude, we release the feel good chemical serotonin, keeping us feeling happier with a greater sense of perspective.
We will overcome this pandemic crisis. I believe that part of our current journey is that we do all we can to manage our emotional health and wellbeing in these uncertain times. If you are struggling reach out for help.