Help With Anxiety

Anxiety is the natural survival response to run or fight being triggered at the wrong time. This response is designed to help you but in modern times this is often triggered by events from job interviews to social situations etc…

Anxiety and panic attacks are caused by a misuse of the imagination. For example worrying about an upcoming presentation you will be giving. Each time you imagine how bad it will go you create a template that your mind follows that tells it how it should feel about that event. Because you have the ability to use your imagination well enough to affect you, this means if you imagine it going well and look forward to it then that is the template that you lay down. This works by really building up the experience vividly in your mind getting pleasant, desirable feelings linked to the event.

When you have panic attacks or get anxious it shuts down the digestive system and all non-essential systems. It prepares your body to fight, run or freeze (playing dead). These responses could save your life in the appropriate situations. Even if it feels like you are going to die, you won’t. The feelings are because of the digestive system shutting down and because of the adrenaline released into the body. Most people say it feels like butterflies in their stomach, or a churning sensation.

Some people believe they will collapse or faint. Even if you do pass out your breathing will go back to normal and you will come round again. If you have a panic attack, rate the anxiety on a scale out of 10 and you can keep track of how quickly it is going. The chemicals released into the body that cause the feelings of anxiety leave the body after only a short while.

Whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious or just want to relax you can try 7 – 11 breathing.

Breathing in to the count of 7 then out to the count of 11.

You can learn the AWARE technique. Whenever you get anxious or have a panic attack you can remember AWARE:

A = Accept the anxiety, don’t fight it

W= Watch your anxiety, rate it from 1-10 and watch as that rating changes

A = Act with the anxiety, behave normally & do what you intended to do, breathe normally or do 7-11 breathing

R = Repeat all of the above steps until it goes down to an comfortable level

E = Expect the best, what you fear most normally never happens, mentally rehearse experiences where you thought you might have felt anxious in the past but surprise yourself when you don’t.

You can also do some mental rehearsal or guided imagery.

For Example:

‘Close your eyes, relax, vividly imagine watching yourself remaining calm whilst doing something in the future you would usually have found caused anxiety. Then imagine seeing yourself in that scene and notice how pleasant it feels to have this different response. Then once you have practised seeing yourself remaining calm and responding as you would like, you can imagine stepping into the scene and experiencing it in this new way as if you are really there, seeing what you would see, hearing what you would hear, and feeling the new calm or appropriate feelings. Then rehearse this regularly.’

During a panic attack if you take control of your breathing this will help you take control of the panic, if you feel it coming you could chew some gum or eat a small amount of food because you can’t be anxious fully at the same time as having your digestive system working.

You can practice sitting down and relaxing and then anchor that relaxation response. This response can then be fired off when you are in a situation that may make you feel anxious. You can practice this anchoring and firing the relaxation response, imagining being in situations that would normally cause anxiety and using the anchor to relax. The more you practice this the stronger the response will be.

Below are two tracks for improving well-being and reducing anxiety and depression. They can be played on the site or downloaded (small writing under the track with a link saying ‘download mp3’).

There is also a comments section below where you can leave comments or questions. And if you know anyone that this article would benefit feel free to share it with them.

There are some other useful places with information about tackling anxiety for example Genius Awakening has Five Ways To Quiet The Mind When You Feel Intense Anxiety, and you can find information about Generalised Anxiety Disorder here

Free Self Help Wellbeing Tracks – Use Both Tracks, They Are Interactive So To get The Most From These Tracks Follow The Instructions And Carryout The Tasks

Track One

Track Two

Help With Addictions

We are all born with the ability to create habits and with the process to get addicted. Without these abilities mankind wouldn’t have lasted as long as we have. There are many things that naturally turn into habits so that we don’t have to pay all our attention to them just to do them. Like driving a car, brushing teeth etc…

Sometimes this process gets high-jacked by a negative habit, like finding yourself smoking before you realise what you are doing. The process for addiction also serves a useful purpose. The process gives you a ‘high’ when you do something and causes irritation or uncomfortableness when you don’t.

This process is required for survival and evolution.

For example when a stone-age man used a stick to break open a coconut the ‘high’ of that achievement wears off over time so the stone-age man then turns that stick into an axe with a piece of flint. He then gets another ‘high’ from that achievement which also wears off over time. This process keeps the stone-age man reaching a point where he needs to do something to get that same high. Addictions high-jack this process giving a ‘high’ when carrying out the addictive behaviour and causing uncomfortableness when fighting to not carry out the behaviour. Over time you need to do more of the addictive behaviour to get the same ‘high’.

A useful analogy of addiction and the associated cravings is one of a company that wants to make positive changes. The ‘boss’ which is the part of you that is saying ‘I want to quit smoking (for example)’ has good intentions. Beneath the boss is a ‘secretary’ that monitors incoming messages from the body. The ‘security guard’ monitors levels of various chemicals in the body but doesn’t know what should or shouldn’t be there, the guard just alerts the secretary if any of the chemicals begin to go missing or reduce.

When the boss has stopped the intake of nicotine, after a short while it starts reducing in the blood. The security guard notices this and so he emails a message to the secretary. This message is laced with dopamine which is a feel good chemical. The secretary checks on the computer and sees that the boss has said ‘no cigarettes’. So the secretary ignores the message. As the nicotine goes down even further the security guard sends another message laced with even more dopamine. This time the secretary does a search on the computer for memories where nicotine has been taken into the body, and searches for memories that are also laced in dopamine. What the secretary discovers is that smoking has made the boss feel good when stressed, when bored, when socialising, etc… So the secretary sends a message to the boss laced with even more dopamine for the boss to act on.

The negative addictive behaviour once served a purpose

People start addictive behaviour for many reasons. It could be many things from peer pressure to experimentation. Often the behaviour initially is only in one context, like smoking with specific friends, or drinking with friends. One thing that all addictive behaviours have in common is that they give you a ‘high’. It could be a ‘high’ from doing a risky extreme sport, or a ‘high’ from taking a specific substance.

To start with this addictive behaviour is in your control. The bigger the ‘highs’ the sooner the addictive behaviour takes on a life of its own. Due to the way the brain works at some point when you feel anxious or bored you will want to relieve this feeling. To do this you turn to the most effective thing you know, which is often the addictive behaviour. This how you begin to create a habit for that behaviour. As long as you continue to do the addictive behaviour your mind will get used to the levels of various substances in your blood stream, whether these substances are created by your mind, like endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline etc, or whether these substances are added to your blood stream like nicotine.

Once you stop the addictive behaviour it takes a period of time for the chemicals in your blood to go back to normal. This period of time can be as little as a few hours for chemicals created internally, to a few days for chemicals like nicotine and longer for some stronger drugs. Once the chemicals in the blood have normalised all that is left is the habit, not the need for the chemicals.

The reason for turning to the addictive behaviour when you feel anxious or bored is that it gives you pleasure, or an instant feeling of gratification when you carry out the behaviour. Unfortunately most addictive behaviour quickly follows with a greater feeling of anxiety or depression as the effects of the behaviour wear off. This means that you have to do more of the addictive behaviour to get the same results.

Beating the addiction

One way to beat addiction is to link the addictive behaviour with the most negative outcomes you can vividly imagine, and not carrying out the addictive behaviour with the most positive outcomes you can vividly imagine. People with addictions will always have one or more of the basic needs or innate skills not being met, so find constructive ways to meet these.

Plan for times when you are most likely to give in to the addiction, finding ways to prevent the old behaviour pattern.

Don’t be put off by a relapse. Many people have a few relapses before they finally completely get rid of that addictive behaviour. When the addiction strikes it is actually only mildly uncomfortable to ignore the urge for the addictive behaviour but it tricks you into thinking it is worse. It also only lasts a few minutes. Try comparing it to other things like would you prefer a nagging toothache or this brief uncomfortableness for the addictive behaviour? Learn to relax; this lets you think more objectively and clearly. To relax you could breathe in to the count of 7 and out to the count of 11. The longer out breath triggers the relaxation response. Regularly vividly imagine the negative outcomes had you continued with the addictive behaviour and vividly imagine the positive outcomes of not carrying out that behaviour, what will it be like, what are the benefits, who else benefits, etc…

Feel free to leave comments below about how you get on overcoming addiction and please share this article with others that may be interested.

Help With Sleep

Sleep is fundamental to survival. Proper sleep boosts the immune system, refreshes and revitalises you for the following day. When you go into dream sleep the brain closes off all unfinished emotionally aroused patterns from throughout that day. Some people may think that they never dream or that they never sleep but all those people do sleep and dream. Sleeping and dreaming is so fundamental to life that without it people would die. On average people nowadays sleep for about 20% less time each night than people did a hundred years ago. This reduction in sleep has a dramatic effect on health. Sleep deprivation causes many accidents and increases the risk of psychiatric problems. Without sleep people find it increasingly difficult to function correctly, they have poorer memory and co-ordination skills etc…

Insomnia is probably the most common sleep disorder. It is often caused by excessive worrying. This can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. It also makes you dream too much which then makes you wake up tired (see depression section). Stopping worrying during the day will help to lift the insomnia. It will also help to stop nightmares (it also will help if you reduce anxiety-see anxiety section). Many sleep problems from night terrors (which occur in non-dream sleep and the sufferer awakens with no memory of the incident) to nightmares (bad dreams).

To help improve sleep it is advisable to make sure that you don’t have a clock near the bed that you can see as seeing how long you are awake for can lead to worrying about it which then makes it harder to sleep. To help you to relax and sleep at night you could purchase a relaxation CD to focus on as you go to sleep or you can learn to relax. To relax you could learn to tense and relax your muscle groups from head to feet in time with your breathing. Tensing up as you breathe in to the count of 7 then letting the muscles relax as you breathe out to the count of 11. Then pausing briefly to get a sense of that relaxation and beginning to get an idea of a pleasant ‘special place’ (don’t think of it as a ‘special place’ if this wording is wrong for you, find something that is right for you) forming in your mind that can become like a brief waiting room before you pass into sleep. After pausing you can then move onto the next muscle group (the neck for example) again breathing in to the count of 7 as you tense then out to the count of 11 as you relax, then pausing again. Doing this each night will retrain your brain to relax when it is time to go to sleep at night. Currently your brain will have been expecting the night to involve worrying or distracting thoughts etc… Some people may find that within a night or two of doing this they are sleeping properly others may take a week or a little longer before they regularly sleep well throughout the night.

Some tips to have the best chance of rapidly sleeping well; if you find you are in bed for a while and still not asleep then get up and go to a dark, cool room and sit there for 30 minutes. Always wake up early (don’t lie in). If possible don’t do shift work. Don’t watch TV or use a computer within an hour of going to bed. Don’t eat or drink too much within 2 hours of going to bed. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and other substances within 3 hours of going to bed. Avoid going to bed drunk. Have a hot bath 30 minutes before going to bed. Don’t exercise within 2 hours of going to bed. Another idea is attempt to stay awake for an hour longer than the time you would’ve normally ended up falling asleep. Many sleep problems are due to excessive worry or excessive emotional arousal. Learning to relax and be calm will help improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get. You can also write down everything that is on your mind before you fall asleep.

Drinking alcohol or taking sleeping pills to help sleep is generally not advisable because these disrupt sleep patterns, but if prescribed you should follow what your Doctor advises or seek further medical advice. They may help someone get to sleep quicker but they disrupt sleep that goes on a few hours later. This disruption upsets the balance of rapid eye movement sleep and deep slow wave sleep. Due to receiving less rapid eye movement sleep you don’t close off all of the emotional arousing patterns from the day before so you get a build-up of open patterns requiring more R.E.M sleep the next night and then more the night after that etc… This can make people feel worse during the day and be more prone to anxiety problems as the brain is already overloaded with emotional arousal. They are likely to also get very emotional very quickly at almost nothing and not know why. Deep sleep is required for healing. So with reduced deep sleep they don’t do the required amount of healing on their body that they need to be doing. The deep sleep is involved in keeping the immune system charged up and in growth so both of these areas will also be affected so people may fall ill more frequently due to lowered resistance to illnesses.

Below is a self help track to help you fall asleep and get improved nights sleep that can be played on this site or downloaded, there is also a comments section where you can share your experiences, comments and progress. If you know anyone else that would benefit from this article or self help track please share this article with them.

Track One

Help With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is often linked to ritualism and addiction. It is usually to do with anxiety or insecurity (see anxiety section). The behaviour is often very ritualistic and if it is not carried out or the obsessive thought is fought against then it can cause feelings of anxiousness or uncomfortableness. Normally people with OCD have one or more of their basic needs not being met. When these get met it will help the OCD lift.

The most common compulsions in adults are:

  • Thoughts of contamination (which can lead to obsessive washing or cleaning)
  • Doubt (E.g. Whether you have locked doors or turned off switches)
  • Thoughts of having physical symptoms
  • Symmetry (straightening pictures, lining pens up on a desk
  • Aggressive thoughts

Compulsions are usually carried out to prevent or reduce anxiety or distress. Often it is believed the compulsive behaviour will prevent something unwanted occurring. OCD affects not just the person carrying out the behaviour but also those around them. When a compulsion is carried out the person enters a trance as the compulsion takes control. This trance can be triggered by specific situations, thoughts, feelings or times of the day or by a heightened level of tiredness.

To help remove the compulsion, clients can imagine watching a screen with someone calmly NOT carrying out the compulsive behaviour. Notice what they look like, how relaxed they appear, how they know that person is relaxed. Notice how well everything goes before during and after they hadn’t carried out the compulsive behaviour. Notice what else is better for them as they continue to behave differently. Then take a few moments to relax deeply and gently into that person in the screen. Seeing through their eyes, hearing what they would hear. ‘Try on’ their behaviour and beliefs. ‘Pretend’ what it is like to be them. Enjoy the feelings. Notice how much calmer they feel. Notice the benefits of being this way. Go to some old familiar situations where they had carried out the compulsive behaviour and notice the difference in how they respond to those situations as this person. Notice how calm they feel, how unbullied they feel to be going through the situation being the one in control, calm and relaxed. Then imagine being this person in some future situations when they would expect to have carried out that old compulsive behaviour. Notice how pleasurable it is to respond in this more desirable way. Tell the client to practice this regularly. If occasionally they still get the old compulsive feeling which can happen for a short while as they adjust to not doing that old behaviour suggest they could do this experiment – each time they feel the need to carry out the compulsion treble it. E.g., if they have to check everything is locked 3 times before they leave the house then check it 9 times. Tell them to stick to this whenever they feel the need to carry out the compulsive behaviour. This won’t be appropriate for all cases but if you can set a task that will make the compulsion a chore or change it in some way it is more likely to lead to the compulsion stopping.

Transform the Lives of Those With PTSD, Trauma & Phobias

One of the main issues client’s present with are phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even clients who present with other conditions frequently have PTSD underlying the condition making it much more difficult to treat. Many clients who present with anxiety, anger, depression, self-esteem and confidence issues and some relationship issues often have some traumatic experience, or a series of traumatic experiences at the heart of the problem and without tackling this root cause the presenting problem can seem to stubbornly hang around. Often the presenting problem is the client’s own unconsciously attempted solution to the real problem.

You can learn to treat phobias, trauma and PTSD here for just $14.99 USD (usual RRP $149.99) in my new Treating PTSD, Trauma and Phobias With The Rewind Technique eCourse.

I remember working with a client who used to have angry outbursts at their husband. She didn’t know why she got so angry with him and did domestic abuse towards him. During our first session she revealed that as a teen she had been raped. She thought she had moved on from it, she could talk about it fine, she was aware that it was part of her history, but because she felt like she had moved on she hadn’t made the connection with her current situation. What led us to discover the connection was analysing what it was in the relationship which made her angry. It was specific tones of voice, specific ways she was touched and specific words and phrases. All of these were aspects of the traumatic experience from when she was a teenager. Once we de-traumatised the rape incident her anger stopped. The anger was a solution, it was protecting her on a primal level from being raped. If anything which pattern matched to that incident occurred it made her become angry so that she would fight to prevent coming to harm, even though now there was no harm going to happen, it was just her husband who she loved being loving.

It is very common for people with phobias – most commonly of spiders, flying (especially when someone is about to go on holiday), and dentists, to come for psychological therapy, but many therapists don’t recognise the traumatic roots of other stuck clients problems.

There is a fast and effective way of treating phobias trauma and PTSD and that is to use the Rewind Technique (you can access my Treating PTSD, Trauma & Phobias With The Rewind Technique course for just $14.99 USD (or equivalent price in other currencies plus any taxes) here – Usual RRP $149.99 USD).

The Rewind Technique is a rapid way of breaking the trauma pattern relinquishing its hold over the client. It is common for the Rewind Technique to work in 1-3 sessions. When treating phobias this means someone who perhaps has restricted an aspect of their life for years – like has always wanted to holiday abroad but has never been able to fly, or may have missed opportunities for this reason, or may have poor dental hygiene due to a fear of dentists, or may have restricted their life due to being scared to leave their own home – can suddenly experience freedom in as little as a single session, like the elderly lady I helped who had been involved in three accidents on the road and when out walking and had developed a fear of leaving her home. She hadn’t left her home for over thirty years and yet within 30 minutes we were both sat on the beach eating ice-cream discussing how life will be different now she can leave her home. This 30 minutes was life-changing for her. All I did was use the Rewind Technique with her, which you can learn to do here.

Some people have problems which seem quite complex, like a teen I worked with who had about 20 phobias, had anger problems at home, at school and when out with friends, had been seen by a psychiatrist for many years without any improvement in his behaviour, anger and anxiety or phobias and whose education was suffering due to poor behaviour and lack of attendance at school. In a single conversation with his mother I worked out that all of his issues stemmed from one school experience, I met with her son for less than 30 minutes, used the Rewind Technique on the incident from when he was in primary school and all of his phobias went away, his anxiety and anger problems went away, his school attendance improved, he became a happier and calmer teen and started doing well. This was a transformative moment for that teen and his mother and all it took was a single session with the Rewind Technique – which you can learn here for $14.99 USD.

An advantage of the Rewind Technique is that you don’t have to know any details. As long as the client knows what they are working on you don’t need to know. You can have a codeword so that you can say something and they will understand what you are referring to, but you don’t need to know what you are referring to. For example, I have worked a lot with teens and children who were physically, emotionally and sexually abused. There was a child who wouldn’t go in the bathroom, wouldn’t have a bath or shower. He was about ten years old and in a care home. I knew his background and why he was in care. Talking about sexual experiences with a stranger is uncomfortable for anyone, being a child and talking about them is even more uncomfortable. The child would get angry if you tried to get him to shower or bathe, he was getting bullied by other children in the care home for smelling and he would get angry if people tried to talk about what happened to him or tried to get him to talk about what happened to him. I used the Rewind Technique with him over about a 30 minute period. I told him he didn’t have to tell me anything about whatever has happened to him, he didn’t have to talk about it, I wasn’t going to ask him to tell me anything about it. I just asked him to give me a codeword for whatever it was that had happened that was making him angry. He said ‘bathroom incident’. I then did the Rewind Technique just referring to what we were working on as ‘the bathroom incident’. I didn’t ask him for any details about the incident, what the incident was, what happened, when, how often, how he felt about it. I just helped him gain freedom from what had happened. Within less than 30 minutes he was comfortable going into the bathroom and having a bath or shower. This meant he no longer got bullied in the home for smelling, his anger significantly reduced (he no longer got angry in relation to the bathroom or what happened to him) and his behaviour improved.

The Rewind Technique is an incredible technique for every psychological therapist’s toolbox. You can learn the Rewind Technique for just $14.99 USD here. (Usual RRP $149.99 USD).

The Treating PTSD, Trauma and Phobias With The Rewind Technique course covers:

  • How to treat phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and trauma that underlies many other psychological problems (like: depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and addictions) with the Rewind Technique.
  • What causes phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • How to handle challenges you may face with clients
  • The principles behind the Rewind Technique and how to effectively deliver the technique
  • How to get creative with those principles so that you can create your own versions of the technique, like creating stories around the technique
  • What other issues the Rewind Technique works well for treating

To aid your learning there are additional notes and I have included 12 of my self-hypnosis PTSD and phobia treatment mp3’s (worth over £95 GBP) that you can use yourself or listen to as examples of using the Rewind Technique to treat different phobias and PTSD.

The tracks are:

  • Fear of enclosed spaces
  • Fear of flying
  • Fear of going outside your home
  • Fear of needles
  • Fear of open spaces
  • Fear of puppets
  • Fear of rats
  • Fear of vomiting
  • Generic phobia cure
  • Fear of spiders
  • Fear of snakes
  • PTSD treatment for soldiers

This Rewind Technique course also includes five practice exercises and five quizzes to help test and embed your knowledge and comes with a 30-day no questions asked money back guarantee.​