With the impending launch of the film called ‘A Fantastic Fear of Everything‘, it seemed timely to blog about fears and phobias. Up to 70% of us will experience a mild fear or phobia during our lifetime and a high percentage of that 70% will think that they are the only one suffering from their particular fear. Although experiencing a level of anxiety can be useful and help with general performance, awareness and learning, think exam nerves or stage fright it
has the reverse effect if experienced in excess, reducing our performance and ability to focus. Anxiety isn’t an ‘all or nothing’ experience it generally follows a scale from mild to acute that leaves some people with fears that are irritating but liveable and others with anxieties that are disabling.
In the movie, Simon Pegg plays ‘Jack’ who becomes paranoid after he changes career from being a children’s author to become a crime novelist. It is the research he conducts into the lives of Victorian serial killers that leads him to an irrational fear of being murdered. Fears and phobias can develop when we have a scary experience with a particular thing or situation (a sensitising event). Experiencing a strong negative emotion in the presence of an object, person or creature can lead to an unconscious link between that object and a dangerous and potentially life threatening situation.
A structure in the brain called the amygdala is involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival. It will trigger a fear reaction if a situation arises that seems to be the same or similar to the sensitising event. This leads to adrenaline and other chemicals being released into our blood, which speed up our heart-beat, sharpen our senses and increase our physical abilities preparing us for one of three things ‘fight, flight or freeze’. When experiencing a extreme fear or phobia the body will react in exactly the same way as it would if faced with a real danger. Your natural reactions are working normally but in response to inappropriate triggers. You could liken it to a loss of perspective from the part of the brain that controls anxiety. Some of the symptoms of anxiety can include:
|Heart palpitations||Feeling sick|
|Chest pains||Difficulty breathing|
|Feeling ‘unreal’||Intense sweating|
|Feeling faint||Dry throat|
|Restricted or ‘fuzzy’ vision or hearing||Muscle aches|
Many people will struggle to manage their fear or phobia because they are ashamed, embarrassed or think it’s silly. However if a fear or phobia is affecting you and your quality of life then it’s not silly – it’s a problem. You can choose to get rid of the problem and may be surprised how quickly this can be achieved with hypnotherapy. Some of the most common adult fears are: public speaking, making mistakes, failure, disapproval, rejection, angry people, being alone, darkness, dentists, injections, hospitals, taking tests, open wounds and blood, police, dogs, and spiders.
How Can Cognitive Hypnotherapy Help?
Cognitive Hypnotherapy is an approach that uses the most recent research on how the mind works to uncover, remove or change the unconscious ‘triggers’ that can cause negative behaviours or patterns. Hypnosis can assist in discovering the underlying connection between emotion and behaviour and transform it so that the problem disappears.The most common concern people have when considering hypnosis is the fear of losing control. This cannot happen. You can only enter into a hypnotic trance voluntarily; the hypnotherapist is simply a guide and does not have any ‘power’ over you. You retain control at all times.
If you experience fears, phobias or similar anxieties and want to understand more about how cognitive hypnotherapy may help, please contact us.