AnxietyFeeling anxious? Is stress making you feel restless, listless or distracted? Do you have difficulty in concentrating or ignoring distractions? If so, you are not alone. Anxiety is one of the most common conditions I deal with in the consulting room.

Put simply, anxiety is one of the primitive response patterns that emerge when we lose control of our subconscious, whether it be in certain situations (exams etc) or during our day-to-day existence. Like the other primitive response patterns – anger and depression – it is part of our neurological inheritance from our far-distant ancestors. We can recognise that at times our prehistoric ancestors would have lived in a dangerous environment, so having the mind enter the hypervigilant mode of anxiety would have been useful in keeping a lookout for enemies, wild animals or other threats.

However, in the modern era, this type of anxiety often serves little useful purpose and can be a serious problem for the sufferer. Feelings of anxiety can arise from external factors, eg work, home and relations, or be a general state of mind where the person feels worried about most, if not all of the things in their life.

Ultimately, it’s our thought patterns that determine our level of anxiety or calmness. Two people can experience the same event, either good or bad, and have very different feelings about it. A classic example would be two people having to speak in public (a wedding, for example); one person can be excited about the prospect whereas the other may be in a state of terror for months in advance.

Hypnotherapy, in conjunction with solution-focused techniques, works on a subconscious level, helping a person to be calm in situations where they might have felt very anxious in the past. Ultimately it is about giving you back control of your life, not about anyone else controlling you. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness people transform their lives after tackling their anxieties and I’m looking forward to helping others do the same.

It has often been said that we live in an Age of Anxiety, where most of us live free of immediate threats from war, disease, etc, but are concerned by the existential threat posed by climate change, extremism in all it forms and other issues. Social media, while it has great benefits for society in some ways, has only exacerbated those fears. We are made fearful of events that a few generations ago we would have remained blissfully unaware.

While I am not suggesting that you stick your head in the sand and ignore what is going on in the world, your mental health is crucial and self-care should be a priority. Media providers, particularly the most powerful, have a their own agenda and fear sometimes furthers their aim. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re a caring person, so feel free to take a break from our hyperconnected world and do something else that feeds your soul. It can be simplest of things such as going for a walk, doing a jigsaw or reading a favourite (preferably uplifting) book. Modern life can grind you down, if you let it.