Our minds are incredible, the way we think shapes our experience of the world. It is estimated that we have between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day.

The way that we think and the thoughts that we have are based upon and influenced by many things including past experiences, our beliefs, the way we were raised, our culture, past behaviours, mistakes & successes, the list goes on.
Our thoughts dictate both how we feel emotionally and how we behave or what we do, they affect the way we go about our daily lives and importantly our mood.

Different thinking styles affect the body in different ways. I remember as a child the closer it got to Christmas the more excited I became. My imagination would become captured as I pictured Father Christmas reading my letter. These exciting thoughts would influence me physically, I would feel the excitement in my tummy as my brain released Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins.

There have been times in my life when I have found something so funny that I have felt almost out of control. A fit of the giggles can seem to overcome me completely. I have laughed so much at times that my muscles ached and I struggled for breath.
This kind of experience, the sheer joy of a laughter fit, was created within my mind. I thought something, an image, sound or joke, was so funny that my brain just kept on sending out those feel good chemicals. My body responded as my breathing changed, my muscles tensed, my temperature went up and in general I became totally absorbed in my physical & mental experience.

That experience of laughing so hard you cry is a perfect example of how powerful the mind and body relationship is. A simple thought can have you physically doubled over in hysterics.
Unfortunately, fear can impact the body just as powerfully. A negative thought can trigger physical responses that can seem totally overwhelming. If a giggle fit was one end of the scale the other end would be shear panic. We may notice a lump on our body and think “what if this is cancerous” or fear driving and think “this journey could end in disaster”. These thoughts act as an alarm and our body reacts. Our brain releases chemicals such as adrenaline and our body goes into survival mode. The same occurs if we fear an upcoming event. Perhaps imagining ourselves panicking or losing control in a meeting at work or on a busy train. Our heart pumps as the body prepares for action. This is known as the fight or flight response. It is the bodies’ way of responding to fearful thoughts. We perceive a situation or event as a threat and our body reacts. This survival mechanism is perfectly natural, it was key to early mans survival. We saw a tiger and reacted accordingly, fight or flight (run away).

Once our body has responded in this way it needs to settle and relax. Problems can arise however, if we experience a very high number of fear producing thoughts. We can become trapped in a stress response cycle. We can become hyper-alert constantly looking for danger, struggle for sleep, our concentration can deteriorate, parts of our body tingle and ache even our digestive systems become effected leaving us with IBS or regular nausea. We are left with a feeling of impending doom, like something bad is on the horizon.

The good news is that although uncomfortable these physical changes are not permanent or dangerous. They are a survival mechanism and are in-fact quite safe.

You can break the cycle, you can overcome these feelings. The key is learning to control how you respond to fearful thoughts both physically and mentally.
Therapy helps us learn to deliberately think thoughts that make us feel good. I’m not suggesting we have you doubled over with laughter but simply thinking differently about the things that concern us can leave us feeling physically comfortable and mentally capable.

If we believe we are capable and can cope our body will respond accordingly.
Equally if we think or believe the worst our body will prepare for the worst (fight or flight).

Approaches from cognitive behavioural therapy and clinical hypnosis* teach us how to respond to fearful thoughts in more measured and controlled way. In my hypnotherapy practice in Southampton my clients learn to interrupt negative cycles and begin taking control of the physical responses they have to fearful thoughts.

Our clients learn the following key skills –

  • How they can stop a panic attack and break through the feelings of anxiety.
  • How to both challenge negative and anxious thoughts. Processes that can reduce the level of belief that they install in those thoughts.
  • How they can stop fearful thoughts taking hold and running away with their mindset. Clients often say that their mind becomes overwhelmed with negativity, so we can help them stop this happening.
  • How to accept that sometimes life just deals us a low blow and how they can deal with challenging times.
  • How they can accept that there are things that concern us that just cannot be changed and how they can deal with uncertainty.
  • How to develop more useful styles of thinking. It is possible to think differently and when we do, we can change how we feel physically and mentally/emotionally. (Remember how thinking negatively releases chemicals such as adrenaline that can cause discomfort and thinking differently allows us to feel capable and comfortable).

Over the next few months I am intending to cover some of the techniques that we use in therapy to help our clients take back control of both their physical and mental experiences of the world. So why not Like our Facebook page to keep up to date with our latest work.

If you have been suffering panic attacks or feel trapped by anxiety or negativity we can help.

You don’t have to suffer, simply give us a call and we can discuss how to make the changes you need to make to be free of fear.
Telephone consultations are completely free with no obligations. Sometimes just making the call can help.
*Hypnosis is not suitable for all clients and results vary person to person. All our programmes can be delivered effectively without the use of hypnosis.
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