Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Do you or someone you know suffer from anxiety? Does that anxiety seem to come out of nowhere or is it linked to the type of thoughts you're thinking?
There are two pathways in the brain that create anxiety, the cortex pathway and the amygdala pathway. What's the difference you ask? Well, most often people will associate anxiety with thought processes, worry, rumination etc, and when this is the cause, you are looking at the cortex based type of anxiety. It is a conscious type of anxiety, where you can fairly easily work out what caused you to feel a certain way and is often treated successfully using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques alongside hypnotherapy.
The amygdala based anxiety is the type that just comes on suddenly with no apparent reason, something has triggered you but you aren't even aware of the thoughts you were thinking prior to feeling this way. Thoughts happen way too slowly for the amygdala! This is our emotional brain and responds to situations in a split second. You will probably start thinking at some point and depending on what you're thinking, will either help you to calm down or they may exacerbate the feelings.
In both cases, the amygdala is activated and this is what creates the physical symptoms of anxiety, the fight, flight, freeze response, but as mentioned above sometimes it's the thoughts that start the response and other times it just seems to "happen". When it just comes on suddenly with no obvious cause it is most often due to a past memory, which might have been very traumatic (think armed forces etc) or at the time seemed traumatic, but on reflection sometimes it was just your perception of it that made it seem traumatic. Either way, there is a bit of hypnotic or coaching "detective" work to find out what the original cause is and once this has been identified, through hypnosis and the many techniques I use, together we can de-traumatise the event so that what used to trigger you, won't have that effect anymore and help you to alleviate your anxiety.
Let's use an example to illustrate the amygdala based anxiety: A woman who was sexually assaulted many years ago, who now seems to have moved past this with counselling or other forms of therapy, one day is coming home on the bus and suddenly has an overwhelming anxiety come over her, or worse, a panic attack, (which is the most severe form of anxiety). On reflection, she realises that it's not the bus, or the way the driver is driving, it's not even the crowds that are on the bus, but she has a memory of the assault incident and realises that her attacker was wearing the same cologne as someone on the bus. Just the smell of this sets off the anxiety response, which is, after all, the brains' way of protecting her from what it perceives could be a dangerous situation (it could be the attacker, in the amygdala's "opinion"!). By clearing the emotions from this event helps to settle the amygdala's response and therefore may help with her anxiety.
In addition to hypnotherapy, I also use many cognitive techniques, so whichever type of anxiety you're experiencing, I have a tool for you to use!