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Thinking outside of your box

It’s your safe space. In here nobody wants anything from you, nobody expects anything from you, you can just be…

I think its important to have somewhere you can ‘just be’. We often create these spaces out of necessity as our lives become more chaotic or we feel a loss of control. They can help us to cope, at least for a bit. There comes a time though when we start to bring our worries and anxieties into these spaces with us, we can become negative. We can even be in our safe ‘space’ (read – our bed, the house, cleaning / organising, repetitive habits, daydreaming) so long that we stop seeing our friends, going out or are unable to see outside of the boxes that we created for ourselves all that time ago. This is exactly how I felt when suffering from anxiety and whilst it’s different for everyone – we do seem to share some common experiences (even if it’s just a few).

It makes sense that when the world becomes chaotic we look to control our environment. Even more sense when you realise that when we suffer heightened stress levels the primitive bit of our brain (the limbic system), that is trying to protect us, begins to see things from a negative perspective, gets us angry, ensures we’re on red alert and uses all of those survival patterns we’ve built over the years – hiding under the covers, eating, drinking etc.

I often meet people that want to move on. They have coped amazingly well under difficult circumstances – suffering with anxiety, low mood, phobias and addiction – but have lost sight of those strengths and want a future thinking outside of their box. We work together to build on the strengths they are already using and to take a peek outside. Having a look for those amazing things they’re going to do when they get outside. The people they’ll meet. The activities they’ll take part in and all of the things that a slightly more positive perspective will allow them to do. Then, we take that first step and as the sky opens up I’m privileged to see all of those solutions that they come up with. The excitement that opportunity and actually being able to picture a future in a positive way brings.

It’s not magic and it does require effort. Often though we find it easier than we could have ever expected it to be and much easier than the trauma of worrying about all of those things that might not happen anyway…

Title photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash edited by Ben Gaskell

Laptop photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

Ben Gaskell is a Clinical Hypnotherapist working with clients who want to take more control over 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.