We are all completely different – that much is evident when you study the faces of people as they settle into their seats on an aeroplane. For the cabin crew, the pressing issue is getting everyone seated and all the luggage stowed away. For people who like to be in control of things, they will probably have paid extra to board first, or charged to the front of the queue so that they can be seated directly beneath their suitcase. Some people will be listening to music and appear completely chilled. Others will be white with fear because they have a fear of flying.
Swap the words ‘fear of flying’ for ‘scared of dogs’ or ‘don’t like large crowds’ and you have the makings of a list of common phobias. When we find ourselves in these situations, fear rapidly rises. As a London hypnotherapist, some of the more common things I help people with are are fears of speaking at work, social phobias, and fears of terrorist threats.
All phobias can be made less of an issue and often erased completely with help from a trained hypnotherapist, but there are some things you can do at home, too.
Learn the Ha breathing technique
With roots going back to ancient Hawaii, Ha breathing is brilliantly simple to learn and it can be very effective when you are feeling anxious. Begin by breathing in through your nose and counting to three or four. Then, exhale through your mouth making a gentle “ha” sound for a count of six or eight. Just follow the 1:2 ratio.
Control your internal self-talk
If you’re feeling really anxious and you keep telling yourself there’s going to be a terrifying incident of some sort, then it’s possible to change the feeling of helplessness using positive internal self-talk. I recently discussed this in depth in another blog posting, but the gist of it is that you can retrain the thoughts you have so that they are those of a coach, rather than a critic. Most people simply never challenge the status quo, and so the gloomy old self-doubter in your head continues unchecked forever, causing nothing but misery. Wouldn’t you rather replace it with a big, bright, booming motivational voice instead?
Learn to relax
Having a good grasp of meditation and some relaxation techniques can help prevent those anxious flare-ups that so often lead you down a dark alley; FixMyMind offers a free download that can help. All you have to do is fill in our contact form and you will automatically receive this free two-hour download, which is designed to help you unwind and enter a state of deep relaxation.
Embrace peripheral vision
This is a technique that anyone can learn – it really is simple and if you try and practise it a few times a day then it’s something you can easily “turn on” when needed. In a nutshell, when we are anxious we often enter a state of tunnel-like vision known as foveal vision: the issue at hand becomes narrow and focused and feels overwhelming. Conversely, when we use peripheral vision – literally seeing the wider picture – the sensation changes, and it becomes almost impossible to feel stress. My colleague David does a Facebook live group every week and recently covered this. With practise, using peripheral vision is like having a little switch that can turn the stress off. It’s amazing.
You certainly don’t have to face your phobias and fears alone, however. FixMyMind offers a free, no-obligation consultation worth £50 to all new clients and it’s a great way to see if hypnotherapy is for you.