In my Leeds private practice I used to see an average of one in five people for stress related conditions. Since the credit crunch recession this numbers has increased to one in two. This is hardly surprising when we live in an era where the media constantly reports on what is now known as “the credit crunch”, where petrol prices are increasing, food prices are increasing, mortgage increases and unsurprisingly many people’s individual stress levels are on the rise.
We live in an information age where we have access to twenty four hours news, twenty-four hour shopping, and the Internet. Little wonder that more and more people find themselves in greater states of anxiety. The idea of “a job for life” has now been shown to be really just an idea so job security is often just a myth. With changes in the housing market the phrase “safe as houses” has also proved to be another myth as people realize that everything in life is increasingly in a state of flux. Years ago most people didn’t even know what the term “carbon footprint” meant, whereas now individuals such as AL Gore have brought out attention to the need to protect the environment. All of these factors can and often do create greater amounts of stress for people.
How we think and what we think determines how we feel. How we feel determines to a large extent what we believe and how be behave in life. Problems such as anxiety and stress and other such issues all occur when an individual finds that they find themselves in “a problematic emotional loop” or “stuck state” and in all instances it “feels” like there are few if any choices available. In my Leeds private practice and during the Human Alchemy, NLP and Hypnosis trainings my style of working is always to create environments for people to discover new possibilities in being able to think, feel and respond in new ways.
Unhelpful Internal Dialogue
I saw a client recently who had in recent times experienced what she called “panic attacks” I make the comment “what she called'” because I am a firm believer that proper medical assessment and advice should be sought before using such diagnostic terms.
With all clients, my approach is to determine what she is “doing”. When I asked her what she was thinking to herself and “how” she was thinking it, all became clear. Each day she would think or say to herself in an anxious voice “What’s wrong with me'” which of course trains the brain to scan for all the potential problems which could be present according to her own imagination.
The “What if?” question
The “What if” question is when people say to themselves “What if X happens?” This “X” factor will always be a problem, so the mind only pay attentions to “problems” and ignore everything else, successfully creating a series of stuck states. Of course the very phrase “what if?” is an anticipatory phrase and anticipation is an important ingredient in creating anxiety states. If this “what if” phrase is repeated in a fast anxious voice someone may only notice how they feel and not realise what is creating these feelings. The voice tempo exercise that I developed, which is referenced in Steve Andreas’ book can be helpful for such negative self talk
Making Unhelpful Pictures
When Richard Bandler and John Grinder first created NLP, they both noticed how people make internal pictures which determine how they feel. The creators of NLP discovered that they could quickly change client states and beliefs by changing their own internal visual representations. The Fast Phobia Method uses this approach to in many cases dramatically change a client’s stuck state to a state where they don’t experience the same fear at all. In an era of HD TV and twenty four hour news, many people will discover that their senses are literally bombarded with pictures of problem scenarios, whether this is people queuing outside banks to withdraw savings, picketing over the fuel protest, handing in petitions to Downing Street, famine overseas or other such scenarios.
By using the tools of NLP and Hypnosis we can quickly change such unhelpful associations to create better states of well being for clients. The beauty of this approach is that this is an accelerated process for change where most private clients discover major benefits even in the first session