Think Like Sherlock To Tackle Anxiety – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket
We are into the start of the new year as I write this, and the Christmas festive period is now well and truly over for another year. I’ve written before about my love for A Christmas Carol and all things Dickens over the festive period and there was certainly some of that. However, things were certainly much more dominated this year by another character and his creator.
I’ve loved everything Sherlock Holmes since I was a teenager and I first picked up the books. I’ve re-read them dozens of times over the years, along with many other Sherlock stories from different authors. Over Christmas, I watched a couple of Sherlock films that were on, a fascinating documentary series about Sherlock and his creator, Conan Doyle, as well as a less fascinating programme on the same subject. And things certainly went Sherlock crazy at home when my daughter received a present of a Sherlock board game.
In the game you are given a case to solve and with the game afoot, you then move around the board picking up clues along the way. It’s one of the most enjoyable games we’ve had and we all got involved with a new case each day. It requires a bit of strategy and some thinking and then nothing beats that ‘a-ha’ moment when you can put the clues together and work out the culprit, the weapon and the motive. Elementary, my dead Watson! (Although that phrase doesn’t appear in any of the Sherlock books!).
One of the things I admire about Sherlock Holmes and his methods is the way he approaches issues and solves things using evidence, science and logical thinking. It’s exactly the sort of mindset that can help you if you need to tackle anxiety, fear, worry and overthinking. Rather than the feelings and emotions of anxiety driving your thinking towards worst case scenarios, you want to be able to think clearly, evaluate what goes on inside your head calmly and so then be in control of your own thinking and subsequent responses. Whereas most hypnotherapists sadly do not draw upon any of the science and evidence in their methods, thinking like Sherlock can help you to successfully tackle anxiety, feel better and stay feeling better.
Evidence, Science and Logical Thinking
In many ways, learning how to tackle anxiety is all about being able to manage when you think emotionally and when you think logically and rationally. Anxious, emotional thinking tends to be very black and white. You can quickly jump to interpretations, perceptions and meanings that may not be totally based upon objective evidence. And all the emotions will lead to wanting to act and do something straight away, which often just makes matters worse.
Sherlock, as you will know, is famed for his calm, methodical, reasoning style. Rather than jumping to conclusions, he calmly considers the evidence. Rather than acting with haste, he thinks and plans before action. He may have been too devoid of emotion at times, yet when it comes to orchestrating your own thinking then calm consideration is a useful resource.
In order to overcome your anxiety, you need to build the capability to stay calm and to be able to evaluate, dispute, challenge, take control over and change the thoughts in your own head. Rather than the anxious thoughts dictating how you feel and think and what you then do, you can build the calmness, confidence and control to lessen anxious thinking and to effectively deal with any unwanted intrusive thoughts that may pop up.
Throughout these articles I aim to share the latest science and evidence as far as possible so that you can be informed in taking care of your mental health and psychological wellness. For example, a while back I covered the research into the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in treating anxiety (have a read here if you want to know more about just how effective my approach to anxiety can be: The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment for Anxiety).
Of course, it’s also the science that tells me things like, no matter how much I hate it, running in the cold is better for me than running in the warm. I suppose it’s some sort of consolation to mull over while I’m getting wind swept, muddy, wet and cold over these winter months!
As humans, we are often told (often by those same therapists who ignore the science!) that we should make decisions based upon our feelings or by calling upon our gut instinct. And there is a place for this. However, our feelings are not necessary always reliable. With your anxiety, there will have been many times where you felt anxious and worried about something, only for it to turn out okay. There will have been times when your anxious feelings drove your thinking to the worst case and you felt bad, even where you knew that what you were thinking was unlikely to happen or just plain irrational. That’s why, in my hypnotherapy, we tackle these anxious thoughts and feelings so you can think calmly and clearly whenever you wish.
Adopting a bit of the Sherlock mindset, you can draw upon and develop the capability to think logically and rationally about whatever you may be faced with. You can tackle anxiety and the human negative bias that can cloud your thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions. In the Sherlock stories, he struggles with boredom and turns to injecting cocaine (not a recommended strategy for boredom or to help you tackle anxiety!). When he is mentally engaged in solving problems, interesting cases and thinking, he has no need for it. And anxiety certainly loves boredom, a lack of stimulus and times of inactivity. Anxiety loves a vacuum and the more time you have for thinking, the more anxious overthinking, ruminating and catastrophising you can find yourself engaged in. You then feel worse and so do less and experience even more anxiety. It’s another strong reason why you need to be able to orchestrate and direct your own thinking and what goes on inside your own imagination and self-talk.
And, if you are seeking to tackle anxiety, I’ve covered many strategies and concepts around how you can challenge anxious thoughts in these previous articles
To successfully tackle anxiety, you need to get the rational, more logical and clear thinking part of your brain doing more work, and to quieten down the emotional part of your brain. You can calm the emotions, and adopt a bit of Sherlock thinking to direct and orchestrate your thinking.
As a result of that, two good things happen. Firstly you will find yourself more often thinking more clearly and positively. Secondly, even when an anxious irrational or other emotional thought pops into your mind, you will have the freedom to decide what happens next, whether you engage with it and give it time, space and belief in your head, or whether you undermine, dispute, challenge, dismiss, change it or move it on in another direction that leads to feeling calm, confident and in control.
Even though we still have dozens of cases to solve in our Sherlock Holmes game, imagine my excitement when I recently saw that you can get an expansion pack for the game! The fun continues! And if your anxiety is afoot then it seems elementary to contact me to book a free consultation and to learn how to take back control over your own thoughts and feelings!
To your health and happiness,
Award Winning Anxiety Hypnotherapist in Ely & Newmarket
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