Two Stage Thinking Process – Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
Anxious thoughts can easily start to take over your mind until it feels like there is just a constant, uncomfortable, noise throughout your head. Those thoughts of what could go wrong and worst case scenarios fill you with fear and dread and they just keep coming back again and again. Anxiety will always find something to attach to and for you to worry and worry about.
I’ve written many times before about the cycle of anxiety. Your anxious thinking process leads to anxious feelings which then leads to avoidance and increased discomfort. And those feelings and behaviours of worry and anxiety just add to even more anxious thinking. It’s a self perpetuating internal cycle. And on top of that you may start to have other negative thoughts towards yourself and about your own capability to handle, deal, cope with things or to successfully take the steps to achieve your goals. You may start to think of yourself as less adequate than everyone else as they seem to cope so well with the sort of things that ramp up your anxiety. Your confidence and self esteem suffer, you feel even lower and then the cycle of habitual, automatic worry-some thinking takes an even firmer hold.
Anxiety affects how you feel in yourself and what you feel capable of doing. You can feel out of control over your own thoughts and feelings. You may avoid things, neglect relationships, struggle to be productive at work and find yourself wide awake and worrying at night.
One thing I deliberately seek to highlight through the many anxiety articles on my website is that, no matter where you are right now with your own thoughts and feelings, it certainly is possible to take back control and to start feeling better in yourself. You can learn to be able to orchestrate and direct what goes on inside your own mind, your imagination and self-talk and the sort of things you give belief, time and space to inside your own thinking.
Two Stage Thinking Process
Recently I was talking to a client about anxious thinking. Throughout our lives we develop a tendency to trust our own thinking and to engage internally with whatever comes into our awareness, whether or not it is helpful or accurate. We forget that a lot of what we think is perception, opinion, bias or learned from others and altogether not always correct and accurate.
No where is this more true than with anxiety and anxious thoughts. You think a worst case scenario, or it pops into your mind, and then you may very well engage with it, start to think of how catastrophic that thing would be and start to worry about all the consequences that would follow from that thing that just happened to come into the forefront of your mind occurring. Before you realise it you are filled with anxious feelings of dread and fear about how you imagine things will turn out. You start to flavour and colour that imagined scenario with all sorts of details and future fortune telling.
Soon, every time you are reminded about that thing or it crosses your mind, those associations of anxiety and fear kick right back in. You inadvertently get better and better at feeling bad about things that haven’t happened and that may never happen (and we can all list examples of things we’ve worried about only to discover that things didn’t pan out like that in reality after all).
And I’ve covered before ways of testing thoughts to check if they are indeed factual and an accurate account of reality (rather than imagined and made up) and how to dilute future orientated thoughts by also considering what else could happen in the future (and a lot of very different things could happen to what you’ve been imagining).
In essence you treat a thought that pops into your focus and imagination, and everything you imagine will follow from it, as one long stream of thought that just flows and flows inside your mind. That stream of thought carries you along and you are swept along and thrown from one anxious thought to the next. You start to focus, not on that first initial spark of thought, but rather on all the negative and catastrophic things that you imagine happening many steps into the future.
Yet really there are two stages to a thought and we have a two stage thinking process with anxiety. There is the initial thought that comes into your mind about some future situation or circumstance. And then there is what you then do with that initial thought inside of your mind. If you accept the thought and run with it, you start to canter down a mental pathway of anxiety, discomfort and suffering. If you pause at that point, remind yourself that you decide what happens next and start to contemplate, evaluate or dismiss that initial grain of a thought then you can calmly and confidently do what ever it is you need to do next.
It’s a two stage thinking process where you can’t always control what comes into your mind or which random thoughts come to the front of your awareness, yet you can learn how to decide what happens next and how you respond to your own thoughts. You can very much be in control of what you think, in the same way you think all sorts of other non problematic thoughts each and every day that allow you to function and get stuff done.
As I was discussing with my recent client, it’s rarely the subject of anxiety that is the issue. It’s the thinking that goes on about it that is the problem and needs to be addressed. And we can think of anything we call anxiety and worry as just a series of negative thoughts and feelings. Those thoughts are imagined (or as I prefer, made up) thoughts of what might happen in the future, usually based on little or no evidence that that things are going to happen in the way you have been thinking to yourself (or even that those future things are going to happen at all). After all, if you really could predict the future accurately then surely you’d be heading to the shop right now to buy a lottery ticket with a confident sense of certainty that the numbers you are predicting will definitely come up in the next draw.
And you definitely can think differently and imagine things differently. And this two stage thinking process means that you definitely can develop the capability to chose what you engage in inside your own mind and if and how you respond to any thoughts that happen to pop up and into your awareness.
To your health and happiness,
Award Winning Hypnotherapist in Ely & Newmarket
Struggling with anxiety, stress, worry and fear and need some help? Find out how I can help with a Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session. Learn more here: Appointments
Find out what dozens of other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Hypnotherapy Testimonials
And check out these powerful hypnosis downloads that can start helping you right away with anxiety, confidence and more: Hypnosis Downloads