Breaking the Chains of Anxiety – One Link at a Time

It’s ok to talk about anxiety these days isn’ it?  After all, it was the most common mental health issue reported by the Australia Bureau of Statistics in 2010.

My name is Peta Haines and I am a Clinical Hypnotherapist who supports clients to transform their anxiety.  My practice is based on modern, positive psychology and therapeutic techniques.  I have a lot of empathy for those who experience significant anxiety every day because I have experienced anxiety too.  I called it “living on the ceiling” because at times I couldn’t seem to get myself back down on the ground.  Over a period of a few years, I developed ways to understand my anxiety and transform it so I can now enjoy my confident, comfortable life.

Anxiety can be debilitating. It stops us from being who we secretly want to be and most of all, enjoying our life. We know that fear is the dominating feeling in an anxious state.  Fear is our way of protecting ourselves but sometimes it seems unjustified and self-sabotaging, doesn’t it?  On my journey, I focussed on dimming the dominating anxiety and began to relate to my fears and worries differently.   I was very excited to find that I could still feel safe without feeling immobilised.  With each link of understanding and transformation of the Anxiety Chain, I became more comfortable.

Two things you need to know about Anxiety:

1.    Anxiety and panic attacks can only exist with particular self-talk such as “I’ve got to get out of here” or “I can’t handle this”  or in my case, “something bad is about to happen.”  If you take away or change the self-talk, the anxiety can’t run its course and nothing happens.  It is absolutely true that you can talk yourself down from the ledge (so to speak).

2.     Anxiety may be created in our mind in response to something that happened once or that we fear happening.  Our minds are built to protect and serve us. When we learn a response, it’s strengthened through repetition and then our minds automatically go there even with a mild stimulus.  Reconnecting with that part that is desperately trying to protect us is vital to understanding your unique brand of anxiety.  Only then you can stop the self-sabotage and direct yourself more positively.

In my practice, many people come to see me for solutions such as weight loss, stop smoking, confidence or addiction issues.  Underneath all of these issues appears to be a common theme of self-protection.  For example, a client said to me “I smoke so that I have something to do and then I won’t feel awkward.  When I feel awkward, it makes me feel very anxious.”  Even though she wanted to give up smoking, we needed to address the awkward, anxious feeling first before her mind would allow her to give up.  The smoking masked her social anxiety.  Many people put addictions in place to change how they feel.

I’m a strong believer in working with what you have inside.  We have the answers when we are willing to ask and above all, we have the resources to go on to a better life.  Our anxiety is telling us something – it might be “I’m helping you so you don’t fail” or “I will protect you from …”  Embracing this strange relationship between fear and protection is the first step in getting better.  It wants the best for you, even though it may be going about it in an ineffective way.  When the anxiety is acknowledged for what it does, it tends to quieten down.  It also allows that confident, brave part of you to step up and protect you instead.  This part will help you to come down from the ceiling and re-engage with your life in a more comfortable way.

Living with anxiety and panic is exhausting and you can get through it.  Take control of your self- talk as the first step and at the very least, it will be different.  At best, you have re-engaged with life and can be and do those things you want to.   You can do this and things can change!

Peta is the Proprietor and Principal Coach of MyMindWorx. She is a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Performance Coach, Co-Counsellor and Adult Learning Specialist. She has spent the past 25 years researching, experiencing and learning methodologies that actually work for people.  Peta operates her practice both in person and online from Hobart, Tasmania and can be contact on 0402 52 44 34 or email peta@mymindworx.com.au