If you’re suffering from anxiety or stress, you certainly aren’t alone. As a result of our busy, modern culture encouraging us to always be “on,” anxiety affects 40 million Americans each year. Thus, anxiety has become the most common mental health challenge in the U.S. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and on edge these days, you’ve probably tried a number of things to soothe your agitated nerves. Perhaps some things may have worked slightly while others didn’t seem to help at all. That’s likely because they were just addressing your symptoms, not the underlying subconscious root cause. That’s where hypnosis comes in.
Hypnosis is a safe, guided therapy that involves relaxed, yet focused attention. Today, we’re going to discuss five benefits of using hypnosis for reducing anxiety and stress. This might help you decide if this approach is something you’d like to explore.
First of all, what exactly is hypnosis?
What comes to mind when you hear the word “hypnosis”? You probably think of some wacky magician-like man swinging a pendulum in front of your face saying that you’re getting very sleepy. In actuality, hypnosis is not the hokey source of entertainment that the media makes it out to be. It’s a clinical, psychological treatment that can help you experience changes in sensations, perceptions, thoughts, or behaviors.
A trained hypnotherapist puts a person into an altered state of consciousness, known as a trance. A trance makes a deeply relaxed, focused, and highly open to suggestions. Hypnosis is beneficial in reducing anxiety and stress. Let’s move on to some of the benefits.
The benefits of hypnosis for anxiety and stress
Hypnosis offers several benefits for those that are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
1. It effectively reduces feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear
Anyone who has experienced anxiety knows it comes with uncomfortable, difficult, and often downright scary feelings and sensations. The good news is, research shows that hypnotherapy can help relieve those dreaded feelings of anxiety and stress. One 2019 review of 15 studies concluded that the average participant who received hypnosis reduced their anxiety a whopping 84 percent more than those who didn’t receive it.
How does this work? Once in a relaxed, trance-like state, the hypnotherapist will offer suggestions for positive behavioral change. This includes how to calmly react to a trigger instead of reacting with anxiety. These suggestions are more easily absorbed into the subconscious mind of the client due to the intense state of relaxation they’re in. Ideally, the client will carry these suggestions with them into their everyday life. This allows them to feel more confident and relaxed in situations that had previously been challenging.
2. It’s non-invasive and doesn’t require medication
Hypnosis is unlike other mental health treatments that come with risks or side effects. It is completely non-invasive and doesn’t have any negative side effects. In fact, one of the “side effects” has been shown to be better, deeper sleep! This is a huge benefit as there is literally no harm in trying hypnosis to see if it’s right for you. Relaxing, safe, and gentle hypnotherapy sessions only deliver positive benefits, including reducing anxiety and stress.
3. It relaxes your mind and body
One of the core goals of hypnotherapy is to soothe and calm an overactive nervous system. When someone is stuck in the “fight-or-flight” stress response, this further exacerbates anxiety and stress. Hypnotherapy taps into this brain response to promote the calming of brainwave activity. Deeply relaxing your body and mind triggers increased activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest and digest” state. In this state, breathing slows and the chatter in the mind quiets. Blood pressure and cortisol levels lower and people feel an overall sense of well-being that they carry for the rest of their day.
By making this state accessible in challenging situations, symptoms of anxiety and stress are reduced by hypnosis. Previous triggers and stressors become neutralized. Hypnotherapy effectively creates a toolbox that is readily available to a client at any time.
4. It helps improve negative thinking
Hypnosis can target the ingrained limiting thoughts and beliefs in your mind. These habituated thoughts and beliefs tend to repeat and cause anxiety. In the relaxed, hypnotic state, the mind is more open to suggestions. The hypnotherapist delivers positive statements and affirmations to shift to a more positive mindset.
In this way, hypnosis enables you to “rewrite” the automatic scripts in your mind so that your thoughts go down new, positive paths, rather than the same, well-worn, anxiety-ridden paths. In neuroscience, this is called neuroplasticity. Since these positive statements become embedded and accepted by the subconscious mind, they conserve energy and promote feelings of wellbeing.
5. It can treat common co-occurring conditions
Comorbid conditions often occur along with anxiety and stress. These might include depression, headaches, migraines, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), weight gain, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Rather than seeking different treatments for each issue, hypnosis can target all of these conditions simultaneously. This more effective and efficient approach makes the process is accessible and pleasant for the client.
Finding the right hypnotherapy professional
When searching for a certified hypnotherapist, qualifications and experience matter. Hypnotherapy should be a calming experience so it’s important to feel comfortable with the practitioner you choose to work with. Better rapport typically leads to better, more efficient results.
Carla Chalah, hypnotherapist and integrative life coach at Hemisphere Hypnotherapy and owner of EveryBody in Mind Wellness Center describes her philosophy as aiming to achieve the greatest amount of change in the shortest amount of time. The only caveat is that this change needs to be sustainable. Therefore, the appropriate number of sessions to facilitate repetition is key.
Reservations about using hypnosis for anxiety and stress
Many people have reservations about hypnosis. Those suffering from anxiety often fear that they will lose control of their thoughts or actions. Don’t worry! Hypnotherapy is a safe, guided experience. It can’t make you act against your will. Rather, it helps you build self-awareness and mindfulness to overcome unwanted thoughts and behaviors. With the guidance of a trained, qualified practitioner, hypnosis is an effective approach to reduce anxiety and stress.
If you’re ready to begin your journey of personal metamorphosis, contact Hemisphere Hypnotherapy in Sudbury, Massachusetts today. Carla Chalah works in-person, as well as remotely, with clients all over the world. Her private practice’s focus is to work with clients to reduce anxiety and stress.