Some people use ‘rock bottom’ to build a solid foundation and that takes amazing strength and courage! But you don’t have to reach those lows to start making changes. If something isn’t right, doesn’t make sense or is stopping you – make that positive change.
It doesn’t have to be big but you’ll be surprised how much easier it is than you thought.
The most difficult thing to get my head around when suffering from stress was my ‘mindset’. I know now that my amygdala was in overdrive and I was essentially looking for threats everywhere. Those of you who may have experienced something similar through stress, anxiety or depression may relate to just how exhausting it can be. For me and for a good few people I’ve shared my experiences with choices seemed to be limited to removing as much of the chaos as possible and finding a safe space. My safe space was my house and most probably my bed (although having insomnia soured that relationship to an extent).
This has massive implications on your life though. Not only are you not physically meeting people or going places that could be important parts of your life but you’re also limiting yourself mentally. I was closed for business! This meant that I couldn’t come up with new solutions or see opportunities that were directly in front of me. I was never good enough, we didn’t have enough money, I would have a migraine or panic attack… This list of things I would put in the way was endless and even when I did try to push myself I spent more time catastrophising than actually doing the task so even if it went well I’d have negative associations.
What changed? Well, I remember just getting out of the shower one day and asking my wife if I could have some time. Time to find where I needed to be. To her of course I’d always had this time it’s just I hadn’t seen it and had to ask for permission for it. This was a shift. I’m not even sure how it happened. I’ve always enjoyed a shower and now often talk to clients about mindfulness and indeed a ‘mindful shower’ – When you relax and let the noise of the water, the temperature and feel, the smell of shampoo just wash over you. Perhaps visualising it washing away all that stress. Those anxieties.
I see this change in clients (often a few times). The first is them getting in touch. This is a big deal and means that they are already finding strengths and opportunities. Then throughout sessions with every cognitive shift or penny drop moment I see a shift in outlook. Every-time a client says ‘it’s only a small thing but…’ I get a cheeky grin as I see what a big deal this is for them and how they are finding new solutions.
In the same way I used this tiny shift to look at things from a different angle. Although, if you’d have told me a few years later I’d have an amazing practice room and be not only a clinical hypnotherapist but a father too… (I’d probably have asked you to leave as politely as possible). Even today though, it’s these changes that matter – Trying running even though it didn’t feel right last time but with a new way of seeing it. Doing a bit of yoga in between. Saying yes even though something scares me because I know that it’s not going to kill me and I’ll actually probably like it.
I’m still learning.
One thing I did realise though is that I wanted to help people and strangely even though in the past I’d never liked public speaking and avoided meeting new people I don’t get nervous when meeting clients for the first time or when giving a talk. Why? Because I believe in what I do. Because I use it too.
Ben Gaskell is a Clinical Hypnotherapist working with clients who suffer from anxiety, stress, low mood and phobias. Based at The Remedy Lounge, Central Manchester and the Stretford area of Greater Manchester he serves the local and surrounding areas of Urmston, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Hale, Altrincham and Trafford. Further details can be found on ‘getting here’ or my ‘contact’ page. For more information on how Ben at Greater Manchester Hypnotherapy can help you please call 07756 932 702 or email [email protected].