The Physical Sensations of Stress and Anxiety – Hypnotherapy in Ely

Anxiety Stress and Panic Attacks

Physical Sensations Anxiety Stress Hypnotherapy Ely


The Physical Sensations of Stress and Anxiety – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Back when I used to struggle with anxiety, it was the anxious feelings that used to really trouble me and that used to quickly escalate to the point when they felt overwhelming and uncontrollable. There were times when I would be low, shaky and uncomfortable to the point that I just wanted to be safely back home and in a place where I felt calmer and safer (and then all the anxious thoughts would arrive to remind me of how useless I was for feeling that way). It can be hard to appreciate just how bad anxious feelings can get unless you’ve experienced it and had it affect your life. The avoidance, the escaping, the gruelling discomfort and the repetition of the unpleasantness can really start to get to you and limit your life.

And it doesn’t matter whether the anxiety is about something specific (like driving, flying or public speaking) or more generalised (where there seems to always be something that the anxiety latches onto). When those bodily sensations and feelings strike and get you, it can feel debilitating and crushing. Things you know you can ordinarily do become impossible to you. Every atom of your being seems to be focused upon how anxious you feel, how bad it makes you feel and how, in situations when you feel anxious, it seems inescapable until you flee to somewhere else and away from it all.

One of the issues that people with anxiety know all too well is how you then start to become anxious about the possibility of becoming anxious. Even when you aren’t in the anxiety-provoking situation or at the event, you can still feel the dread, the sense of approaching doom and you can still be overwhelmed with the worry. When you get there (in the car, on the plane, about to give your presentation etc.), everything becomes massively ramped up and amplified. The anxiety gets more and more linked, associated and embedded with the situation/event/person/place and so the next time a similar thing is looming, the worry, anxiety, stress and dread grow and repeat with ever increasing vengance.

Yet it is very possible to overcome those anxious thoughts and feelings and to take back control over what is going inside of your mind and body. I’ve helped hundreds of people to move on from unnecessary anxiety and to learn how to effectively manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Yet first, it’s important to understand and remove any confusion about exactly what is happening in your mind and body that leads you to experience those physical sensations of stress and anxiety.


What Happens When You Experience Anxiety or Stress?

The emotions that you experience in a situation, and the thoughts, feelings and sensations that go with it, are all linked to what happens in your brain and your automatic nervous system.

Very simply, information comes into your brain and goes to the amygdala and cortex of the brain simultaneously. The information is quickly processed by the amygdala and signals are then sent that activate your automatic nervous system. This can all happen very quickly which is why you can respond to something immediately before you’ve had a chance to even think. Your ability to assess the situation more logically can take a little longer, which makes sense when we remember that anxiety and fear (and other emotions) are about taking action to deal with an immediate threat. As humans, the last thing we wanted to do through our evolution, when faced with a threat, was to stop and have a good think about what to do. This is because for hundreds of years (when we lived in caves and all that), threats would harm or kill us. So we needed to act quickly, take action and either seek safety or engage with the threat (what we generally refer to as ‘fight or flight’).

Of course these days, most of us are rarely likely (if ever likely) to be in a situation where we are faced with an external threat of actual harm, yet we still respond to perceived threats in the same way, with the same anxiety and the same stress responses. These perceived anxious threats that can be all sorts of things such as an irrational phobia, worry what other people are thinking, fear of failure, anxiety about being judged or making an idiot of yourself and so on. Our brain and automatic nervous system respond with all the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of anxiety. For some people, this anxiety response will only happen when faced with particular situations, places, people or circumstances, whilst for others, it’s like their brain is on a constant state of high alert and seemingly everything is perceived as a threat that fires off the fight or flight response and leads to those uncomfortable feelings and sensations.

Our automatic nervous system is made up to two parts, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

The parasympathetic nervous system is sometimes referred to as the ‘rest and digest’ system. It’s all about conservation and maintenance of physical resources. It’s where your breathing and heart rate are regular, your appetite and digestion function in the usual way and you feel calm and more rested.

In contrast to this, there is the sympathetic nervous system which is all about action, speed, alertness and preparing your physical resources in response to anxiety and stress. Let’s take a closer look at this and the physical sensations of stress and anxiety.


The Physical Sensations of Stress and Anxiety

The sympathetic nervous system activates your physical resources in response to anxiety and stress. You probably think of it as the uncomfortable feelings and bodily sensations that you experience with your anxiety. As mentioned above, all of these physical symptoms are pretty helpful if you were faced with an actual threat, yet, when they are due to anxiety or unhelpful perceptions and thinking patterns then they become problematic and distressing.

This fight or flight response gets you ready to deal with a threat, or perceived threat. It gets you ready to move and take action. Helpful if you are say, faced with an angry, snarling dog and you want to get out of it’s way pretty sharpish. Less helpful if you experience it just at the thought that you might possibly, conceivably, maybe, perhaps see a dog when you leave your house to go for a walk.

When the sympathetic system is activated, adrenaline gets released into your bloodstream, your breathing rate increases so that you can take on more oxygen for your muscles, your heart rate increases to pump blood to your muscles, you start to sweat to get your muscles ready for action, the blood supply to your muscles increases and blood sugar levels rise. The goal of all of these changes is to quickly get your body ready for action and to make sure that your muscles have the blood, fuel and energy needed to tackle the threat.

Your pupils also dilate to take in more information about the environment (and to help with assessing threat and finding escape routes). This can sometimes lead to feeling a bit dizzy or disorientated.

Bodily functions that are less important for immediate survival, such as digestion, are down graded. Energy for digestion is not important when all of our resources are needed for our muscles to help us to deal with the immediate situation. This is why you can get a dry mouth, experience ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, feel sick or feel like you need the toilet.

On top of all of this, your ability to think logically and rationally is limited when you experience strong anxiety and stress so it’s hard to reason yourself out of things and gain perspective (until the emotion subsides). Everything is about action and physically moving and doing something rather than thinking.

Incidentally, the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety can be very similar to those when you take part in intense exercise, although there all the adrenaline and energy gets used up and dissipated and things quickly return to normal levels. One of the challenges with anxiety is how the physical sensations can just keep going around and around with no outlet because there is no actual threat to tackle (it’s all perception, thoughts and thinking). And the whole while, those uncomfortable feelings can lead to you feeling even more anxious and stressed about what is happening and whether there is something medically wrong with you.

And, having experienced such unpleasant sensations, you might find yourself starting to worry and feel anxious about further episodes of feeling anxious, thereby leading to more of the physical sensations you so dread (and the cycle of anxiety about feeling anxious).


Hypnotherapy For Anxiety Help

All of the physical sensations of stress and anxiety that you experience are things that your body is designed to do and more than capable of doing. In the right situation they can be beneficial yet, with anxiety, they become draining, dreaded and overwhelming. And prolonged activation of the sympathetic nervous system can also be linked to some adverse health impacts.

As you may have seen from the many reviews on this website, it is possible to find relief from anxiety and to lessen those unwanted physical sensations. You can learn the strategies that reduce anxiety and the triggers that go with it. You can take back control over your thoughts, perceptions and feelings in ways that will help you to feel better.

Hypnotherapy for anxiety can help you to reduce anxious thoughts and feelings, and to develop the skills and strategies to stay in a good place and we have the scientific evidence to support hypnotherapy for anxiety.

Valentine, Milling, Clark, and Moriarty (2019), brought together the results of all controlled studies of hypnosis for anxiety to quantify the effectiveness of hypnosis in treating anxiety. They found that hypnosis is a highly effective intervention for anxiety, and concluded from the evidence that:

The findings of this meta-analysis show that hypnosis is a highly effective intervention for anxiety. Our results indicate the average participant treated with hypnosis achieved more anxiety reduction than about 79% of control participants at the end of active treatment and about 84% of controls at the longest follow-up“.

This is hugely impressive evidence and really demonstrates the beneficial impact of hypnotherapy for anxiety. There’s a bit more on that research in this previous article of mine:  The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment For Anxiety and you may find this article of interest as well: Anxiety Help in Ely and Newmarket – Dan Regan Hypnotherapy

Your body is designed, in the right circumstances, to be able to experience all of the anxious physical sensations that you’ve been struggling with. Yet right now, it’s like your mind is overprotecting you and trying to keep you safe from a threat that isn’t truly there. If you were faced with a real threat and needed to take quick action (e.g you step out into the road and a car is coming and you need to move fast) then having adrenaline and oxygen going to your muscles is pretty useful.

With problematic anxiety, we need to work out the patterns of thinking and feeling anxious that are happening in certain situations and then using hypnotherapy and other strategies, we can change those patterns and habits to something more helpful where you can think, feel and behave in the way you would desire. You become able to deal with any physical sensations of stress and anxiety and feel better in yourself. That means feeling in control over your thoughts and feelings and so finding yourself more and more calm, confident, comfortable and in control. Which is a pretty positive and special place to be in your life.

To your stress and anxiety relief,

Dan Regan

Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket


Struggling with your anxiety and need some expert help to overcome your anxiety? Book your Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session with me now: Appointments

You can discover what many, many other people have said after their anxiety hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Testimonials

And check out these powerful anxiety hypnosis downloads that can start helping you right away: Anxiety Hypnosis Downloads


Reference: Valentine, K.E., Milling, L.S., Clark, L.J. and Moriarty, C.L., 2019. The Efficacy of Hypnosis as a Treatment for Anxiety: A Meta-analysis. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 67(3), pp.336-363.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Claim your FREE Consultation TODAY

Just call 01353 886158 to book your free 30 minute consultation. Discover how you can start feeling better quickly and effectively and ask any questions you may have before deciding to go ahead.

Call Dan today!

Get Your Copy Right Now…

Subscribe to Dan’s Digest filled with tips, strategies and techniques and get instant access to your free rapid relaxation hypnosis audio track.

Enjoy feeling and being more mentally calm and physically relaxed right now:

Rapid Relaxation hypnosis mp3 dan regan hypnotherapy

Dan in the spotlight!

Click below to see Dan in the media

Hypnosis Downloads

Powerful hypnosis for download that will help you to overcome issues and achieve your goals. 

Hypnotherapy Video Testimonials 

Click below to see dozens of videos from happy clients who have worked with Dan:

Copy of YouTube Channel Art Untitled Design

Copy of YouTube Channel Art Untitled Design