I’ve noticed over the past week how the weather forecast has kept me on full alert. My primitive, emotional brain has been looking out for signs of bad weather, constantly vigilant, ensuring that I keep safe by seeing everything from a negative viewpoint – will we be able to get the car out; do I need to cancel clients; have we got enough milk? By encouraging me to re run every possible scenario in my head, this part of my brain has “looked after me”, and indeed I am safe, well fed and warm, and all the clients I couldn’t get to this week have rescheduled for next. Happy Days!

The downside has been that it’s been difficult to find room for much rational, creative thought. Don’t get me wrong – I have managed to get a few things done – we’ve been out in the snow with the sledges and dogs, and I’ve been creative with the cooking (discovered a tin or two in the back of the larder which may not otherwise have seen the light of day). If I’m honest though, I have spent more time than I should just watching the snow come down.

This movement of my thoughts from the rational, intellectual part of my brain into the primitive, emotional part is a useful survival mechanism, which should easily reset once the ‘danger’ (the snow in this case), has passed. In fact, it is already happening. I’m writing this, I’ve hoovered the sitting room, and my diary is sorted for next week. For some though, the ‘reset’ doesn’t happen, and then they are stuck in a spiral of negative thought and forecasting, forever on full alert, always anxious and sometimes experiencing full blown panic. Not a good feeling.

So what can we do about it?

The amygdala – the flight, fight, fear part of our brain is the part that needs to be reset. It needs to know that the danger has passed and that it can downgrade the system to a calm level of vigilance. Hypnosis is a powerful tool for allowing this to happen. In the hands of a skilled hypnotherapist, clients can relax to the point that the mind is open to suggestion, so that the rational, creative intellectual mind can begin to take back control, calming things down and helping ‘switch off’ the full alert response. Once this has happened, decision making becomes possible once more, and we can move forward with confidence.

Sally Potter at Aloft Hypnotherapy (Ivybridge) and The Observatory Practice (Plymouth, Devon) offers Solution Focused Hypnotherapy for anxiety, depression, addiction, weight management, phobia and more. You can contact Sally here.

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