As with stress, perceived pressure can be useful, helping to motivate people, boosting energy and productivity levels. However, prolonged pressure in which the perceived threats are seen to be uncontrollable or unavoidable can lead to highly unpleasant feelings of anxiety.

Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state of dread, fear and worry that negatively influences people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Experienced over prolonged periods of time it can encroach on all aspects of a person’s life and diminish their enjoyment of it.

At a physical level, anxiety tends to trigger the stress fight/flight response causing heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, stomach aches, headaches and, sometimes (although by no means always), sensations of panic.

Panic attacks are sudden feelings of intense terror and loss of control that can strike a person without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them, but, the person can feel the sense of panic to such an extent that they believe they are having a heart attack or that death is imminent.

Anxiety also triggers emotional symptoms including feelings of apprehension, dread, tension, irritability, restlessness, helplessness, loss of control, the most common emotional symptom of anxiety being fear.

There are many different types of anxiety ranging from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (excessive worry about everyday life events that is out of proportion to the situation) to Existential Anxiety (the fear of dying).

Chris Woolfenden takes a holistic approach to helping individuals manage anxiety more effectively. At the initial consultation, the individual’s unique situation is assessed to identify and explore the causes and symptoms of anxiety as they are experienced. The physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioural ramifications of that anxiety are also investigated in depth. Deep relaxation hypnosis is used to counteract the negative physical and psychological effects of anxiety and to re-instate a sense of calm, easy control. Using hypnotherapy, individuals' specific stressors are explored and, through hypnosis and CBT, constructive approaches to overcoming them taken. Memories from the past that are interfering with the present are re-visited and re-framed so that the emotional and cognitive influence on the present and future are de-sensitised.
 
The anxiety hypnotherapy treatment programme also applies techniques such as mental rehearsal, creative imagery, future pacing and pseudo-orientation in time to reduce worry, build confidence and boost self-esteem.

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