Change: To alter or modify, to do something differently.
Our lives are regularly met with the challenge of change. Sometimes we purposefully choose a change: a new hobby, hairstyle or diet. Sometimes we are forced into the change, such as redundancy or a relationship breakup. Sometimes we welcome the change and sometimes we resent it. Our brains are perfectly formed to adjust to change but they are also hardwired to reject it. We have all been through significant and unpredictable change throughout this last year with new rules and restrictions placed on us. For some this has been overwhelmingly tough, for others it has been quite manageable. Exploring why the brain dislikes change can help us to understand what we can do to adapt more easily.
Our brains are constantly analysing information from our surroundings and making a judgment as to how safe we are in that moment. When we are going about our normal, predictable daily routines our brain pattern matches our behaviours, recognising we have done this before, and switches on our autopilot. If we consider our morning routines, we likely follow a fairly set pattern. Maybe something like; wake up, have breakfast, shower, dress and leave the house. We have ingrained neural pathways for these behaviours and they have been deemed safe. The brain is happy ticking along in autopilot. Our Primitive mind always remains vigilant and scans the area for any kind of oddity or change. This part of our brain we inherited from our distant ancestors and its job is to keep us alive and safe. Imagine a caveman walking through the forest, he needs to be alert to any unusual change in his environment. A bush moving or twig snapping may indicate danger. Our primitive mind is constantly scanning for errors in our pattern matching. Keeping us safe and doing its job. When we deliberately change something in our lives, we enter the potentially dangerous world of the unknown. It is no surprise that the primitive brain protests and resists this change. After all, our primitive brain is there to keep us safe and it has no pattern match on this change, no idea if this new behaviour is safe. As we embark on our change we have to switch out of autopilot and the prefrontal cortex, our intellectual mind, has to take control. We are learning something new. Our Prefrontal Cortex is fast and agile and very capable of learning new things but uses significantly more energy than our autopilot brain mode. The change therefore requires effort and if we become distracted or fatigued, our brain will attempt to slip us back into easy old behaviour patterns. As we practise the new behaviour new neural pathways are created, with repetition habits are created. Our brains are a bit like playdoh, and we are capable of changing the structure of the brains as we learn. So how do we help this process happen?
Most importantly we need to empty our ‘stress bucket’. If we are having negative thoughts and worries, we are filling up our metaphorical stress bucket and this results in the vigilant primitive mind interpreting a threat. The primitive mind takes control, switching on our survival mode and keeping us in a high alert state. We feel anxious or stressed or low – all survival modes. Trying to learn something new while our brain is preoccupied with keeping you alive is very tricky. To empty our stress buckets we need to be engaging in mentally healthy behaviours – the 3 P’s: Positive thinking, positive activity and positive interaction and we need to be sleeping well. If you are achieving the 3 P’s you will achieve the good sleep. If prioritise the 3 P’s we can achieve a mentally fit state and can absorb and learn the necessary changes.
We also know that Hypnosis and guided meditation help to speed things up. The trance state we achieve under these conditions is a state of learning, our minds become open and receptive, and we have a heightened focus and concentration. New behaviours can be embedded, and new pathways created, facilitating the change. Did you ever get into trouble for gazing out of a window rather than listening to the teacher at school? You were likely in a daydream. A similar state to hypnosis of alpha brainwaves. Your brain was most likely consolidating the new information you had been taught.
At Old Town Hypnotherapy we use a combination of solution focused therapy and hypnosis to help our clients achieve change. The solution focused therapy part of the sessions helps the client focus their conscious mind on what exact change they wish to achieve. The hypnosis part of the sessions helps the client embed that change in the subconscious. Both elements of the session help the client empty their stress bucket. As ever, we offer free face to face or online consultations for anyone interested in hypnotherapy. We are also available to answer any queries you may have.
Other blogs you may be interested in
Many individuals have a fear of spiders, the extreme end of a fear is a phobia.Why are so many of us scared by these creatures, are we born with this fear and how do we know if our reaction is phobic?
Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters that directly impact our mental health. This video explores what they do, symptoms of low levels and how to boost them naturally.
Intrusive thoughts, what are they? What do they mean and how can we learn to manage them?
Free Gift for February. Download the newest hypnosis track from Old Town Hypnotherapy absolutely free, no email address needed, no strings attached, just free.
Health anxiety is a form of anxiety where worrying, obsessing about health problems and fixating on sensations in the body manifests in a variety of physical symptoms which, in turn, creates anxiety that fuels the problem. However, anxiety in general does affect the body, so for those with health anxiety, these things become a particular concern.
Author & Video - Emma Triplett Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay Worrying about health and/or death are arguably amongst of the most common symptoms of anxiety but for some health becomes the sole focus of their anxiety and is given the term health anxiety....
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be hard to ignore if you’re living with someone who has it. The temptation is to buy into the OCD and either join the person helping out with their obsession by buying wet-wipes for the person with a germ OCD for example, or to try and stop them carrying out their habits or rituals, encourage them to resist the compulsion. What should you do for the best?
Can hypnotherapy actually help anxiety. A review of scientific studies suggests that hypnosis can help, but hypnosis is a tool that must be used alongside proven therapeutic techniques for anxiety to have any long term benefits.
One in four people, that’s a quarter of us, will at some time experience mental health problems during their life. It’s an astounding statistic from the World Health Organisation and according to a report by Mind there has been an increase from 15.5 per cent in 1993 to 26 per cent of adults reported having ever been diagnosed with at least one mental health problem in 2014. Many mental health problems including OCD, self-harm, eating disorders, insomnia and many physical problems are anxiety related, so why is anxiety increasing so rapidly.
At first glance anxiety and depression are very similar, they feel different; anxiety being fearful and worried whilst depression is feeling miserable, but you can have both at the same time. They are in fact interestingly similar and in this article we going to have a look at some of the similarities and differences both in the way they develop and in the way they are cured.