Anxiety - set your mind free It’s said that almost one in five people in the UK aged 16 and over have experienced anxiety or depression. Below you will find the 4 signs that you may be suffering from anxiety:

Description of anxiety

You spend a lot of time worrying

You will nervous and on edge much of the time

You feel that everything is getting on top of you

You find it hard to relax and ‘switch off’

Symptoms of anxiety


If you recognise the description of anxiety above, you will probably recognise many of the feelings, physical signs, thoughts and behaviours of anxiety that are listed below:

Feelings of anxiety

  • Edgy
  • Tense
  • Uneasy
  • Nervous 
  • Panicky 
  • Stressed 
  • Irritable 
  • Bad-tempered 

Physical Signs of anxiety

  • Tension in the body
  • Muscle pain
  • Light headedness
  • Spaced out
  • Unfocused
  • Chest tight or painful
  • Stomach rumbling (IBS)
  • Shaky/jelly legs
  • Heart beating fast
  • Breathing faster or slower than usual

Thinking styles of anxiety

Your thoughts often comprise of “what if” statements e.g. what if this happens

Your mind skips from worry to worry and becomes bigger and bigger
You often use your imagination to predict the worst possible outcome

You are always searching for threats

Behaviours of anxiety

You avoid people/situations
You find it hard to relax

You are easily irritated
You flap easily
You talk very quickly

If you recognise several the descriptions of anxiety listed above, don’t be too alarmed. Anxiety is common and there are several things you can do to improve your situation as suggested below:

1. Firstly, slow your breathing down

If you brain notices you are breathing more quickly than usual it may well believe you are in danger and send you some adrenaline to help you (fight or flight) to cope.  So deliberately slow down your breathing and ensure you are breathing through you diaphragm.  This will enable you to think more clearly and slow down your heart rate.

2. Take in your surroundings

Look around you and notice 3 things you can see, 3 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell and 3 things you can taste (or at least 1 of each).  Connecting with your senses will bring you back to the present moment and stop your mind from over thinking.

3. Be more mindful

Very often we do things in “auto pilot”.  Being in the moment is the complete opposite.  Be aware, imagine you are doing something that you tend to do on auto pilot for the first time.  Things like washing-up, driving to work, vacuuming, walking the same route are all simple tasks that we don’t always undertake with our full senses. When we are suffering from anxiety, we feel out of control. Being mindful of a simple task helps remind us we’re in control of our choices. “Be” rather than “do”

4. Live in the here and now

Anxiety sometimes starts when we begin to predict the future.  A lot of people have very creative minds and can imagine situations that haven’t even happened yet.  Unfortunately, these future situations you imagine, if you are suffering from anxiety, tend to be negative.  So, ask yourself if your imagination is just getting the better of you.  Is what you are imagining true or are you just catastrophising?

5. Practice loving kindness

Not only is anxiety overwhelming, but we also tend to be very unkind and critical of ourselves leading to us making harsh judgements of ourselves. When you are suffering from anxiety it is important to adopt loving kindness towards yourself.  Be kind, go easy on yourself, treat yourself as your best friend.  Critical thoughts and harsh judgements will make the anxiety more extreme not less.

6. Don’t expect to be completely “anxiety free”

We all need a bit of anxiety; if we didn’t we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning to get to work on time; to earn a living; not to let people down.  A bit of anxiety means you can focus that bit of anxiety into something positive.

7. Smell the coffee/roses

Life is a journey, full of ups and downs.  Sometimes things go your way, other times they don’t.  Be accepting.  Things are as they are, so enjoy the highs and glide through the downs.  Better things are to come.

8. Listen to the silence

Between every sound there is a split second of silence.  Listen for it.  Be silent yourself.  Listen well to others and really hear what they are saying.  It’s powerful to be known as a “good listener”.  Just listen to the sounds of nature, the wind, the rain, sounds audible in the distance.  Just use your ears to really listen to the world around you and reduce your anxiety.

9.  Recognise your triggers

What is it that makes you anxious?  Personally, I hate being late.  For you it maybe various things – possibly making a presentation (common); going to a party or to dinner.  Meeting strangers? There are any number of triggers.  One of the best ways of overcoming your anxiety trigger(s) is to have a “mind rehearsal”.  That is, just lie down somewhere comfortable and imagine the thing you are fearful of happening, step by step, with a successful conclusion.  The mind cannot distinguish between something real and something vividly imagined; So, when you have a mind rehearsal and then go on to do it it’s as though you have done it before, and the 2nd time of doing anything is always less frightening than the first time, right!

11. Cultivate patience

Impatience is to anxiety as patience is to calm and ease. If you want to overcome anxiety, be on the lookout for impatience or irritability.  How does it feel in the body, what symptoms are around?  Let them go.  Patience is the route to overcoming anxiety, the pathway to freedom.

12. Nurture yourself

Eat nutritious food, sleep long, exercise/move more, make time for yourself.  If you put yourself first, if you are in great shape mentally and physically, you are in a great position to help those you love.

These suggestions may be beneficial to you.  However, it is useful to speak to another person to put things into perspective and to recognise the triggers that have led to your personal anxiety.  We offer both Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) * and Hypnotherapy**.  For further information please contact Leigh at The Hypnosis Practice, by emailing leigh@setyourmindfree.co.uk or by telephoning 01908 265410.  We are based in Gt. Holm, Milton Keynes and we are more than happy to see you for a free 30-minute initial consultation to discuss your issue in more depth.

You may also like to visit our website: www.hypnosispractice.co.uk

*Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

**Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary therapy that utilises the power of positive suggestion to bring about subconscious changes to your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. This heightened state of awareness is reached using skilled relaxation techniques.