We, from Mike Mandel Hypnosis, are committed to the goal of making transforming lives, and nothing can be more life-changing than learning how to gain control over one’s anxiety.
In this blog post, we’ll explore anxiety from the perspective of hypnosis and NLP. We’ll present our definition of anxiety and the appropriate choices of intervention based on our way of understanding it.
To facilitate comprehension, we've also included short explanatory videos pulled directly from our Youtube channel. They're not essential. You can skip them if you prefer, but we recommend watching them for a better understanding of the concepts we present. If you'd like to see more of them, you can head over to our channel and subscribe.
Whether you’re a therapist who is looking for new approaches to treat your clients’ anxiety disorders or you’re suffering from anxiety yourself and is wondering whether hypnosis can help, stick around until the end of this blog post. We can assure you it’s full of relevant information, and on top of that, we’ve prepared you a fine offer should you decide to continue to study the subject with our guidance.
As one can expect, we’ll start by presenting a working definition of anxiety that we’ll be using throughout this entire article. It’s important to make sure we’re talking about this thing, and not that thing. Take note, however, that all of the concepts and definitions we use are intended to serve practical purposes, which means every time an explanatory model is presented, it’s only meant to be a useful way of understanding things, and not a scientifically accurate explanation.
We’re hypnotists, not psychologists or neurologists. Our job is to offer easily applicable solutions to people’s pressing issues. If you’re looking for a thorough explanation of the neurological processes associated with what is understood as anxiety, you won’t find it here. We do not concern ourselves with that, nor do we have the qualifications for it.
All of us have an instinctive understanding of what anxiety is. At the very least, we know what it feels like at an unconscious level. It was based on this intuitive notion that we came up with the following definition:
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Notice that anxiety is never about the past. It can be about the present, like when you’re worried that something undesirable may have happened; but it’s usually about the future, like when you’re concerned that something terrible might happen.
That’s anxiety for us, and if you’re reading this blog post, there’s a good chance you already know how horrible of an experience it can be. It creates a whole range of nasty symptoms, some (if not most) of which you’re already familiar with.
To be fair, nobody will ever be truly free from anxiety. A certain degree of anxious feelings is not only normal, but healthy for everyone. It’s a part of the survival mechanisms the human species developed to make it through the hardships of life. The anxiety you may experience if you happen to be facing bankruptcy or about to go through a scary medical procedure is nothing to be dealt with. It merely shows that you care about your well-being.
Instead, we aim to get rid of debilitating anxiety. The kind that wrecks your life by giving you loads of irrational fears and worries that cause you unimaginable (and unnecessary) suffering.
Does Hypnosis Work On Anxiety?
Yes, there are several ways hypnosis can help people with anxiety.
We think of hypnosis as an amplifier of human experience. There are many ways can hypnosis can be defined, but we tend to like this explanation better. What it means is anything you do without hypnosis, you can probably do a lot better if you’re in a hypnotic trance.
Take, for example, de-traumatizing past experiences. You don’t really need hypnosis for that. Psychoanalysis has been doing that without hypnosis for decades. The only problem is it can take an absurdly large amount of time. It may take years before a psychoanalyst can work through a person’s childhood trauma. A hypnotherapist, however, can often deal with that in no more than half an hour by putting the person in a hypnotic state and regressing them back into that traumatic past experience.
That’s why hypnosis can absolutely help you if you’re suffering from anxiety-related issues. By applying anxiety-reducing techniques in the context of a hypnotic trance, a person is able to achieve much faster results than they would without hypnosis helping them in the process.
In fact, it could be argued that a person is already in hypnosis when having anxiety-related symptoms. Hypnosis is a state where your mind functions very efficiently, but in this case, it’s being very efficient at making your life difficult. What that means is your brain already knows how to do hypnosis. The goal now is simply to teach it how to use this ability in your favour, not against you.
An intelligent use of hypnosis has the capability of bringing to the surface a variety of unconscious resources that were previously inaccessible. These resources can be different ways of thinking and behaving that can replace one’s dysfunctional patterns.
Hypnosis Audio Track - Journey to the Castle
To get a taste of how hypnosis works and how it can be used to deal with anxiety, you can experiment with hypnosis audio recordings. There are several of them on youtube, but we strongly recommend you listen to our very own Journey to the Castle. It can be used for almost anything, including anxiety. You can download it by clicking on the link below. It's completely free.
Journey to the Castle DOWNLOAD LINK
How Do I Hypnotize Myself For Anxiety?
Before we explain how you can use self hypnosis to deal with anxiety, it’s worth mentioning the two types of anxiety and how they differ. That’s because knowing what kind of anxiety a person is facing can help with choosing the most suitable therapeutic intervention.
The first type is cortex anxiety. Very simply put, the cortex is the part of the brain where thoughts happen. Therefore, cortex anxiety appears when you ruminate thoughts and basically just overthink things. These patterns then gradually build up an anxiety response.
Amygdala-based anxiety, on the other hand, happens immediately. Many times, we aren’t even sure what caused it, but something triggered a strong flight-and-flight response in the amygdala of your brain, provoking very uncomfortable physical symptoms. In both types of anxiety, the amygdala is ultimately responsible for triggering a physiological response, but only when it originates there directly is the response immediate. Anybody who’s ever suffered a panic attack knows exactly what that feels like.
Cortex-based anxiety may require a therapeutic protocol aimed at slowing down the constant flow of pessimistic, catastrophic and overall unhelpful thoughts that ultimately cause anxiety to arise. Some of us in the team are adept of mindfulness-based meditation, which we highly recommend. However, if it's amygdala-based anxiety that troubles you, you may want to use breathing protocols and techniques that change your body's physiology instead.
Self Hypnosis in 3 Steps:
A self hypnosis session comes down to three basic steps. These are:
In essence, you need to find a location where you won’t be disturbed and get comfortable. Make sure you have enough time to do this (20 minutes should do for the first time), then turn off your phone and get rid of as many potential distractions as you can.
Before you start, make sure you have decided on three things: the purpose of the session you’re about to do (presumably reducing anxiety), how long it's going to take and how you’re going to feel after you come out of trance (describe positive feelings to yourself). We call this setup PDF: Purpose, Duration and Feeling.
Put Yourself in a Trance
Any hypnotic induction will do. They all have the same purpose: to create a hypnotic trance state. One we find to be very useful for beginners is the Breathing with the Hand induction. Although we generally use it to hypnotize other people, it can be used just as well for self hypnosis. Watch a demonstration by Mike himself in the video below, then become your own hypnotist and apply the same steps to yourself. It 's really easy, and the more you do it, the better at it you'll get.
Forget everything you think know about hypnosis at this point. If you let your preconceptions of how hypnosis should feel like get in the way, you'll be disappointed. Yes, a few people experience a variety of funny sensations when they go into hypnotic trance, but a mild relaxation is what most people get and it's all you'll ever need. Rest assured that whatever you feel (if anything at all) during the process is just right for you.
Use the Hypnotic Trance:
This is where you run an anxiety reduction protocol. Remember how we talked about hypnosis being an amplifier of human experience? That means whatever you would do in a regular waking state to reduce anxiety will be exponentially more effective now that you’re in hypnosis.
One of the most effective things you can do for anxiety, especially in the middle of a crisis, is the 7-11 breathing technique. It consists of simply breathing in for a count of 7 and breathing out for a count of 11, hence why it's called 7-11 breathing. If you think that's too long though, you can do 4-7 instead. Just don’t strain and make sure you take more time to exhale than you do to inhale.
By causing a change in the physiology of your breathing (and in turn, of your whole body), you can easily de-potentiate an anxiety response; and since you’ll be in a hypnotic trance at this stage, it will be exponentially easier to calm your nerves with this technique. Amygdala-based anxiety can be dealt with using this method.
Another thing you can do is to ask your unconscious mind to present pleasant thoughts to you. The kind of thoughts that bring you calm and ease. Your mind knows what kind of thoughts you need, and by doing this in hypnosis, it will be much easier for it to bring them to the surface. The hypnosis will also intensify your body’s reaction to these thoughts, hence smothering your anxiety. This technique is particularly effective for cortex-based anxiety, as it's based around thought processes.
You are free to try out all kinds of things here. We have given you two examples of techniques you can use to lower anxiety while in a hypnotic trance, but you can certainly experiment with other kinds of techniques and have them work while you’re in hypnosis. Whatever it is that works for you, hypnosis will cause it to work even better.
To come out of trance, the simplest method is to count yourself back up to your regular state of awareness. You can do a 1-10 count and give yourself suggestions of feeling more energetic and invigorated with each number.
Another option would be something taken out of Chinese medicine, which is called face-washing. Simply rub your face with your hands in a circular motion, moving up through the inner part of your cheeks and down through the sides of your face. Do this about three times, then open your eyes.
Self Hypnosis vs Hypnotherapy
Although one can use self hypnosis to treat pretty much anything, there are quite a few reasons why a person should consider hiring a professional hypnotist to assist them.
We’ve discussed the advantages of getting hypnotherapy in relation to doing only self hypnosis on our blog before. It’s not really a matter of choosing one over the other. A competent hypnotist will certainly be able to incorporate self hypnosis into the treatment; and as any other kind of therapist, they’ll also be able to approach the situation from a unique angle, thus providing you with valuable insights you’d otherwise miss. Click here to read the full article we wrote on this subject.
If you decide to see a hypnotist to deal with anxiety-related issues, at some point, you may ask yourself:
How Many Hypnosis Sessions Are Needed For Anxiety?
When people ask this kind of question, they’re often worried about how much money they’re going to have to spend until they’re able to achieve satisfactory results.
If that’s your case, rest assured that hypnosis isn’t like psychoanalysis or other therapeutic modalities where it may take years before you can achieve some kind of result. What really sets hypnosis apart from other kinds of therapy is that hypnosis is quick.
You can see why that makes a lot of sense as soon as you remember that hypnosis is an amplifier of experience. If a certain approach would take an absurd amount of time to show results without hypnosis, it can probably work within a much more reasonable timespan when it’s applied in the context of hypnosis work.
In the long term, that often makes hypnosis a more affordable way of dealing with one’s issues than regular talk therapy. A good hypnotherapist can use hypnosis to train you in a variety of stress and anxiety reduction techniques you’ll have available to you for the rest of your life. A particularly good hypnotherapist might even be able to get to the root cause of the anxiety and terminate it altogether.
If you choose to continue to get hypnotherapy sessions after the bulk of the work is finished, you can - athletes often get personal trainers to help them in their activities even though they already have a very good understanding of what they need to do -; however, it’s not really necessary.
To wrap up, a truly thoughtful question:
Can Hypnosis Make Anxiety Worse?
Although this is a valid concern, as many forms of “therapy” are actually more likely to make the problem even worse, that’s not the case with hypnosis in most situations.
Even though hypnosis is tremendously powerful, the truth is it’s no more than a clever use of natural mechanisms of the brain for the benefit of the subject.
We weren’t kidding when we told you a person having an anxiety attack is in hypnosis: the immense power of their unconscious is running patterns that are able to affect their entire body and behaviour. The only problem is that it’s doing it in a completely dysfunctional manner.
To put it simply, you’re kind of already doing hypnosis on yourself to make your anxiety even worse. The key is to learn how to make it so you're in the kind of hypnosis that benefits you instead of ruining your life. For this reason, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll make your anxiety worse while trying to make it better with hypnosis. If you do it like we taught you, the results in your mind and body will be the exact opposite of anxiety.
Anxiety sucks. It's one of the most awful ways in which your mind can impair you, destroy your self-esteem and keep you from acheiving your full potential. However, if you've read this article thus far, it means you've already realized there are several ways to effectively deal with anxiety, hypnosis figuring among the very best.
That's the reason we created The Anxiety Solution, a full video course designed to teach you the principles we use to control anxiety in the most effective manner, as well as several techniques to rapidly reduce anxiety similar to the ones we briefly described in this blog post. Each lesson is broken down into short, easy-to-understand videos so that you can absorb the material and use it immediately.
In that same thought, we also created the Easy Self Hypnosis course. This course is designed to teach you the core principles of self hypnosis and how you can use this tool to drastically improve your quality of life. You can use self hypnosis to get rid of issues like anxiety as well as improve your performance in anything you do. The possibilities are endless. Like The Anxiety Solution, Easy Self Hypnosis consists of small, bite-sized videos lessons that you can immediately put into practice.
Both courses are contained within the larger Personal Growth Membership, the largest and most comprehensive collection of courses for personal development and self improvement you'll find anywhere on the internet, all for a very affordable price. At no more than the cost of a pizza per month, you'll get 95% of all the material you'll ever need to live a happier, more enjoyable life.
If learning hypnosis is what you're really after though, you'll be glad to know that at The Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy we teach you the core principles behind WHY hypnosis works and HOW you can hypnotize people anywhere at anytime. We kept short, bite-sized video format so you can easily and effortlessly learn hypnosis at your own pace. With it, most of our students are able to go from never hypnotizing anyone to being able to hypnotize people within their first 2 weeks.
And best of all, we are offering you the opportunity to join us and do just that! When you claim your spot inside The Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy you’ll get your first 2-weeks for free! That’s right! This is an immediate short-cut to doing stellar hypnotic work without years and years of training.
Click here to claim your free trial at The Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy.
For the Personal Growth Membership, click here.
For The Anxiety Solution and the Easy Self Hypnosis courses, respectively, click here and here.