Anxiety and Panic Attacks

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Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

First published May 22, 2013

Over the last few weeks and months I’ve seen a big increase though my therapy practise of people suffering anxiety or panic attack.

A lot of people complain of very similar symptoms such as racing heart beat and a feeling on being on edge all of the time among other things.

So what happening to cause people to feel like this?

First of all it will be more than likely start with something internally like negative dialog, which will create a picture in the mind. These two things together then create or start the process of creating a negative and most unwelcome feeling.

So the process starts at a neurological level in the brain.  It could be argued that anxiety itself is its own neurological symptom. After all, anxiety can change neurotransmitter levels in your brain causing them to send unusual signals to the rest of your body that  actually effect all your nervous systems and causes real sensations/symptoms.

The forebrain is the area most affected in people with anxiety disorders. The limbic system, which is involved in storing memories and creating emotions, is also thought to play a central role in processing all anxiety-related information. Both the locus coeruleus and the dorsal raphe project to the septohippocampal circuit, which in turn projects to other areas of the limbic system that mediate anxiety. The hippocampus and amygdala are of particular importance, as they are interconnected and also project to both subcortical and cortical nuclei. The amygdala fires off the fight, flight or freeze reaction in the brain then floods the body with adenine. It is the increased activity of the amygdala that causes the symptoms of anxiety and panic. It acually happens like this freeze, fight or flight.

Normally after each anxiety event, the amygdala resets itself to a normal level. But if we continue to experience anxiety or stress over a long period of time, our amygdala is modified and becomes fixed at a high anxiety level. In other words it is in the on position and needs to be switched off.

So it is a very real problem for some people. I think that a panic attack is anxiety but a much stronger reaction, anxiety that has been allowed to grow and become somewhat out of control. A friend who was a nurse in A&E in a local hospital said that 99% of people admitted to hospital who think they are having a heart attack are actually experiencing a panic attack

Anxiety and panic attacks can be cause by increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms may contribute to anxiety.

One of the best ways to help yourself is to try deep breathing exercise every day for around 10 – 15 minutes at time.

How to do Deep Breathing Exercises:

  1. Find somewhere comfortable where you will not be disturbed during the exercise, if necessary tell who you live with family etc than you don’t want to be disturbed and to be considerate to your needs.
  2. Lie down or sit in a comfy chair, place your hands on your lower stomach. Breathe in through your nose so that your stomach rises, this mean than you will be breathing from the bottom of the lungs not the top. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds then slowly breathe out.
  3. Repeat these 3 or 4 times then allow your breathing to go back to normal.
  4. Concentrate on different parts of the body allowing these to relax one by one starting with the top of your head and working all the way down to the tips of your toes. Image you are in a wonderfully relaxing a safe place, I like to think of myself lying on a beach sunbathing.
  5. Just allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes of relaxing this way every day making part of your lifestyle. Try not to fall asleep as relaxation is different to sleep so you don’t want to associate relaxing with going to sleep although you may find it hard not too drop off at first.

If you feel you need a little more help then please contact me via the website or the office telephone number. www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk or 024 76362360

I am available for one to one or Skype (adam.cowming) therapy sessions if you can’t get to my office in person.

Regards

Adam


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Weight Management

Weight Management

First published November 1, 2012

This is a subject that has been covered and covered but I think some people still miss one important point about this, especially clients that I see.

It’s not about diets, exercise but the psychology……….

I prefer to use the term “Weight Management” because the term “Weight Loss” implies you have lost something and people usually want to get back something they have lost. People lose things, usually, by mistake. As long as you think of ‘losing’ weight you are making life difficult for your mind to deal with. Instead, think of “Managing” your weight.

So what happens normally?

Here is the thing, people get to a certain weight and then they hit their weight fresh hold they then diet, exercise and lose some weight for a while…… put weight on again but this time their fresh hold may slightly be more i.e. they put more weight on than the last time because they are slightly more desensitised to the extra weight before they know to do something about it!

So something happens for them so they don’t see the extra weight until it is too late and in their mind they go … Oh no!!!   This is a classic yo yo dieting strategy. My job is to help the client break this cycle and get a new positive one instead, make the client aware of what and how they are eating.

As long as the client is educated and made more aware of their eating habits they will often make the shifts and changes themselves often this is done at an unconscious level. Clients often report back to me that they can remember an event or the reason they started over eating after a session while they are back at home, this is something I don’t do in the first session but often they tell me what I need to know to help them move forward or to address in another session if they want to.

I get the client to fill in a meal diary and be totally honest with it. Some clients I found didn’t realise they ate the snacks they did between meals, what I call graze on snacks and rubbish all day still having some healthy meals, they say ” but I eat healthy and exercise but can’t shift the weight” not even being aware of all of the calorie filled snacks in-between their meals.

Some client are so used to big portions that they think it normal to have a plate piled high with food, but if someone who hasn’t got a weight issue dished up a portion to them they would think it was not enough but the fact is it would be a normal meal size.

There is no big mystery to weight management but at the same time it is big business for the clubs and they make a lot of money from seeing the same people go to the meeting week in week out. They not doubt help people and offer a valuable service but if they can’t get a person’s psychology right then they will keep repeating the old patterns time and time again year after year.

Yes I run a business also but I see clients for around 3 to 4 sessions for this and give them enough tools to deal with the problem for life, I don’t want to see them for months on end because that would mean in my eyes I haven’t done my job correctly by offering a duty of care to my clients by helping them make the shift in their life they need to in order to keep the weight off .

If you are interested in one to one help then I provide Weight Loss Hypnotherapy in Coventry.

Regard

Adam

www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk


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Fears and Phobia’s

 

Fears and Phobia’s

First published on October 18, 2012

A fear or phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, we can develop phobias of virtually anything.

If you have a phobia, you probably realize that your fear is unreasonable, yet you still can’t control your feelings. Just thinking about the feared object or situation may make you anxious. And when you’re actually exposed to the thing you fear, the terror can be automatic and overwhelming.

So what is really going on?

I will use spiders as an example simply because it’s that time of year when I start to get more spider phobia phone calls as they start to come in for in colder months.

First people will see a spider (Visual) then they may have some internal dialog(NOOOO a massive spider) or external (Scream Aaaaaaaa) this in turn will trigger the feeling(Kinaesthetic) inside like fight, flight or freeze which in turn gets processed as fear by the person.  Normaly the reaction is out of proportion to the situation, for example has anyone you know ever been in an unprovoked attack by a spider or been bitten? Not many I bet !

The thing to really think about is that we are only born with 2 fears :-

  • · Fear of sudden loud noises
  • · Fear of falling

All other behaviors are learned either directly or indirectly, the amount of clients I see who say that a member of there family is scared of the same thing. They more than likely learned to react the way they do because they have seen for example their Mum screaming that there is spider in the house and to get it out. The client learnt how to respond to spiders because it what their Mum did when they were a small child and as a child they did not have any other resources to call up on.

All of this doesn’t help a person of course who has the fear, so how can hypnotherapy help.

There are lots of different methods all will aim to do the same job of helping the client to feel differently about the phobia or fear and allow the client to disassociate themselves from the feelings. The client will just not be as scared or as concerned by the fear or phobia as before. They may not want to ever hug or hold a spider but they will be able to cope with catching one and removing it or just leave it to get on with whatever spiders do on a good night out !

I use different methods depending on what I think is best for the client, sometimes the work is already done before I even use hypnosis but the hypnosis is still a great way to help the client to think differently about the fear and allow the mind to process it in a more logical way in the future and take on some new learnings to allow the client to make a change and have a more appropriate behaviour towards the problem.

If your phobia doesn’t really impact your life that much, it’s probably nothing to be concerned about. But if avoidance of the object, activity, or situation that triggers your phobia interferes with your normal functioning or keeps you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy, it’s time to seek help with someone like myself.

Regards

Adam Cowming

Website  www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk


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Body Language

Body Language

First published on October 3, 2012

This is a very important tool that all therapist and business people should be aware of or have some form of understanding of, you’d think!

Body language means communication with the movement or position of the human body. It can be conscious – or unconscious. It is important to   remember that, although body language does give you an additional channel of communication, which sometimes contradicts the spoken word, it should be interpreted with care. For one thing, body language can be affected by particular habits of the speaker. To be able to read body language is very interesting, but it can be complicated, so watch out!

As a therapist I hope I have a general understanding but I know that I don’t know everything and it an area to which I’m looking into getting a higher level of understanding. I pride myself on my ability to be able to calibrate my client’s conscious – or unconscious body language.

The eight primary elements of body language are your face, eyes, posture, gestures, voice, movement, physical appearance and touch.

Words (the literal meaning) account for 7% of the overall message

Tone of voice accounts for 38% of the overall message

Body Language accounts for 55% of the overall message

The figure 55% comes from some research that Albert Mehrabian undertook in 1971.

The ‘Mehrabian formula’ (7%/38%/55%) was established in situations where there was incongruence between words and expression.

That is, where the words did not match the facial expression: specifically in Mehrabian’s research people tended to believe the expression they saw, not the words spoken.

Mehrabian’s model is a seminal piece of work, and it’s amazingly helpful in explaining the importance of careful and appropriate communications. Like any model, care must be exercised when transferring it to different situations. Use the basic findings and principles as a guide and an example – don’t transfer the percentages, or make direct assumptions about degrees of effectiveness, to each and every communication situation.

Body language is now widely used in the field of selling, where sales personnel are trained to observe and read the body language of their potential customers. Sales personnel trained to read body language can now utilize this skill to read the subliminal cue exhibited by the customers to close a deal. Consequently, many companies such as insurance companies, direct-selling companies and international car-showrooms now engage body language experts.

I help out some workshops and it’s easy to tell who knows about body language and who doesn’t and the difference just pointing out little things to people can make them look at people very differently, often these workshop are not about body language but as therapists it will always be part of what we do so it good to help and pass on the skills we have to others. Some of the people who attend are not therapist so are not used to using these skills but are normally very fast at picking some of the very basic tips they get.

Regards

Adam Cowming

www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk


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The unconscious mind

The unconscious mind

First published July 11, 2012

This is big subject of which we haven’t really tapped into its full potential. We know that it comes from the Limbic System part of the brain which has been shown to activate on MRI scans in this area.

So what is it and what does it do?

I look at it as the programming for the body and mind which is there to protect us. It is far more powerful than the conscious part of the mind. Within the unconscious mind there are parts that do particular jobs and tasks than run the programs in our mind and bodies. As a hypnotherapist is my job to work with this part of the mind to help you the client to overcome or change the programs that you maybe running that are not working for you. Imagine the brain as big computer that will only work as well as the programs we put into it. Sometimes we program the wrong programs into our mind and the conscious then unconscious mind takes on this new behaviour.

I always use this example to people who ask about how big is the unconscious, if you were to see on a neurological perspective it doesn’t look that big compared to rest of the brain. If you put your fists together next to each other like a boxer that is about the average size of a brain.

The unconscious is far more powerful so in this case size does not matter. To get an idea I say get a golf ball and put it next to a football. The golf represents the conscious mind and the football represents the unconscious mind!

Research is still on going into this but we know for sure is that it plays a massive part in our lives every micro second of the day of our life.

Here is a bit of information on the Limbic System of the brain.

The Limbic System sometimes called the “emotional brain” or “Old Mammalian Brain” is the next part of the brain to have evolved in the more primitive mammals about 150 million years ago. This is where our emotions reside, where memory begins and where these two functions combine together to mark behaviors with positive or negative feelings. It’s where mostly unconscious value judgments are made. Information going through the Limbic System are filed under “agreeable or disagreeable”. It also plays a role in salience (what grabs your attention), spontaneity and creativity. Located in the Limbic System are:

  • The Amygdala

Its name is Latin for almond which relates to its shape. It helps in storing and classifying emotionally charged memories. It plays a large role in producing our emotions, especially fear. It’s been found to trigger responses to strong emotion such as sweaty palms, freezing, increased heart-beat/respiration and stress hormone release.

  • The Hippocampus

This guy is all about memory and a little about learning. It’s primary role is in memory formation, classifying information, long-term memory. Like the RAM in your computer it processes and stores new and temporary memory for long term storage. It’s also involved in interpreting incoming nerve signals and spatial relationships.

  • The Hypothalamus

It should be called the Hypothalamus because it does so much. It’s linked closely with the pituitary gland to control many of the body’s functions. It monitors and controls your circadian rhythms (your daily sleep/wake cycle), homeostasis (making sure your body is running smoothly), appetite, thirst, other bodily urges and also plays a role in emotions, autonomic functions and motor functions.

  • The Thalamus

The Thalamus is THE relay station in the brain. Most of the sensory signals, auditory (sound), Visual, Somatosensory (from your skin and internal organs), go through this organ on their way to other parts of the brain for processing. It also plays a function in motor control.

I hope you enjoyed my blog and thanks for reading them !

Adam Cowming

Website www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk