Here I offer you a process and technique that is often overlooked by many therapists yet is one of the most empirically researched and proven ways of affecting progressive change within people.
A few years ago, I had a client who was experiencing anxiety for much of each day. He came to one session with me and was shaking, I mean shaking with dread, anxiety and was in one heck of a state. I asked him to run me through the cause of his anxiety and he explained in great detail.
His explanation was very vivid, he was almost inside of the experience while he talked about it. He was filled with tears and was sobbing in a way that made it difficult to understand what he was saying at first. So I asked him to explain it all again. He looked at me oddly and then proceeded to run through the entire thing again, though with no tears this time.
I told him that I was still unsure of all the details in my mind and so could he please explain it once more for me. He looked at me as if I was being heartless and unsympathetic.
When I asked him to repeat it all a fourth time, he nearly left the room. At the end of that explanation, he seemed bored of talking about it and was totally unaffected by explaining it all, whereas he was earlier sobbing while explaining.
I pointed this out and he realized what had gone on. it is this process that I want to explain in more detail today and show you how to use it for some amazing effect in your life.
if you have experienced anxiety in the past, it is most likely a learned response, an old habit.
Just like any other habit, physical tension and emotional anxiety can be learned over time and become associated to certain circumstances, events or situations in your life and those events stimulate that anxiety.
It is a core and fundamental belief inherent within modern personal development and certainly within my consulting rooms that anything that can be learned can also be unlearned.
That is, all habits can be broken. I am certainly not saying that it is easy to break an established habit…
Unless of course you have the right kind of help and processes at your disposal. This process is fabulous for dissipating those unwanted feelings.
When my wife first took in our cat Spooky because he had been abandoned by his previous owners and left without food or shelter for a long time, he mistrusted humans. he actually feared people, which we suspect was due to his poor treatment. You see, even animals can learn to be anxious when they do not necessarily need to.
Our own experience as well as much documented and researched evidence shows that animals can also be trained to overcome their anxieties. Spooky now loves the affections and attention of humans and loves being around people in general… So much so that when I am working from home, he jumps all over me and my laptop to get my attention!
One way to break an old habit is by replacing it with a new habit…
Anxiety and relaxation are two mutually exclusive states; they cannot dominate the same body at the same time, the stronger one tends to progressively cancel the weaker one out.
By training yourself to relax very deeply, and by facing your fears gradually and systematically, you can use the relaxation response to cancel out anxiety, in steps and stages, and replace it with feelings of calm. All it takes is a little patience and focus.
In the example I used earlier, it happened quite quickly and immediately, however, much continuance and consistency was required over the following weeks to maintain that and stop any sliding back into old ways.
So here I want to share with you a process known as hypnotic desensitisation which has been used successfully for over fifty years in clinical practice to help people overcome anxiety. It is used in hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and many others besides.
You’ll begin by easily and simply rehearsing some basic relaxation skills and then facing your fears in the safety of whatever comfortable room or place you choose at the same time. You just use your imagination to picture the things that you want to overcome and dissipate.
By running through such a process, you then find that the same feelings of relaxation remain with you outside in the real world when you have finished the process.
This is a marvelous process I am delighted to share with youI