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30/07/2018 10:06 BST | Updated 30/07/2018 10:06 BST

Stressed Out? How Hypnotherapy Helped Me Feel More Breezy

My bucket is definitely less full than it was a few weeks ago

JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images

I’ve been a bit stressed recently and I’d fallen into a negative mindset. After deciding that I didn’t want to feel like crap anymore, it was either go to the GP or try hypnotherapy in the hope of bringing about a more happy-go-lucky me.

So I went for the latter. More expensive, granted, but, my friend said it made him want to practise his piano every day – and he used to hate practising his piano – so it sounded like it was worth a go.

Has it worked? To cut to the chase, yes.

Hypnotherapy is said to be able to help with a wide range of issues including anxiety, stress, self-esteem, sleeping problems, weight management and lack of motivation.

Here’s how it works: unlike counselling, which traditionally focuses on addressing the issues that are bringing you down, so they don’t bring you down anymore, “solution-focused” hypnotherapy isn’t interested in what’s come before, instead, it focuses on how you want things to be by changing your mindset, so that all the things that were getting you down before, don’t.

Scientific studies have shown that thinking positively literally rewires your brain, making you less likely to dwell on things and more likely to brush things off, breaking the debilitating cycle of negative thinking.

Hypnotherapy works by changing unwanted habits of thought, achieved by exercising the left prefrontal cortex bit of our brains – the prefrontal cortex is responsible for decision making and emotions, the left is more active when positive, the right more active when negative. So, in order to be more happy, we need to exercise the left part so it overrides the right. This is done by thinking healthy (positive) thoughts and avoiding unhealthy (negative) thoughts, and surrounding ourselves with people who make us happy.

Easier said than done? Really wanting this to work and being fully committed to putting the strategies to combat negative thinking into practice, has been key to it working for me.

My therapist, who has a decade’s experience, starts the sessions by asking me about the positive things that have happened over the last week. I just want to tell her about all the crap things that are going on, such is our inclination to need to get things off our chests in the hope it will prove cathartic. But the point is to kick this habit of giving any attention to the stuff we don’t like so we cope better with the bad things that inevitably come our way. Because, although we can’t change the negative things that occur in life from happening, we can change the way we respond.

One strategy, when negative thinking occurs, is to go through five things you are happy about in your life right now, instead. Sometimes I have found myself battling to push something that’s upset me out of my mind. 

Underpinning it all is the law of attraction, whereby you attract what you put out there, so, thinking positively puts you on a positive vibration meaning you attract more of the same. In this way, we are masters of our own destinies.

Hypnotherapy is much like guided meditation, whereby you are led into a state of deep relaxation blurring your conscious and subconscious minds. During the journey, Deborah weaves in various positive instructions, with the outcome of instigating more positive thinking, so when you walk out in a bit of a daze, your brain has somewhat been reprogrammed to be a bit more breezy.

She explains that all of this helps you empty your bucket, your mind being the bucket which we put all the stuff we need to process in. This gets emptied during our sleep state, which is why we wake up feeling less burdened by the things that were bothering us the day before. But if the bucket is overloaded, it never gets truly emptied, meaning it’s harder to cope with the smallest of things.

My bucket is definitely less full than it was a few weeks ago.

In between sessions, I’ve worked hard to stay positive. Sometimes, it’s felt like an outright battle, but I’m winning, because although the same issues are at play now as they were a few weeks ago, I’m not giving them the attention I did, and it is getting easier to let things wash over me.