Anxiety, stress and depression share similar symptoms, but all are considered to be mental health issues, and they are very common. According to the charity Mind, 1 in 4 people in the UK will have a mental health problem of some kind each year, and this figure was reported before Covid-19, which has presented greater mental health challenges. Whilst the impact of the pandemic is reported to be affecting the wellbeing of more than two thirds of adults, the longer term effect of post Covid-19 is yet to be identified.

There is a fine line between anxiety and stress. Both are emotional responses, anxiety is normally caused by psychological worries whilst stress is typically caused by an external trigger.

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Anxiety can be defined as persistent, excessive worries that don’t go away. We experience anxiety when we are worried or apprehensive about certain events – particularly when we negatively forecast events in the future. Anxiety is a natural response when we sense that we are under threat and can be experienced through our thoughts, emotions and some physical sensations. It is part of our “fight or flight” response, so it is useful when we are in danger, but sometimes we become anxious and overwhelmed by excessive thoughts, worries and fears when it is not necessary. This then can impact on our quality of life, causing emotional and physical problems.

Symptoms of anxiety vary but may include:

  • Persistent worrying about a number of areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the events
  • Over thinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes
  • Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they are not
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty
  • Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision
  • Inability to set aside or let go of a worry
  • Inability to relax, feeling restless and on edge
  • Difficulty concentrating, or the feeling that your mind “goes blank”

Physical signs and symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches
  • Trembling, feeling twitchy
  • Nervousness or being easily startled
  • Sweating
  • Nausea, diarrhoea or irritable bowel syndrome
  • General irritability

A little stress can be beneficial at times as it can help motivate us, however, there can be times when stress becomes excessive and too much to deal with. If our stress response is activated repeatedly, or it persists over time, the effects can be draining on our mind and body; causing us to feel permanently in a state of ‘fight or flight’. It is often a reaction to emotional or mental pressure and may feel like you’re losing control. It can be as a result of problems related to work, family, finances, health or it can occur as a result of significant life events, such as buying a house or becoming a parent. Although the cause is often known, there are times that there is no obvious cause.

Symptoms of stress may include

  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sadness or depression

With the possible physical signs of:

  • Headache
  • Overeating or under eating
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Restlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Angry outbursts
  • Fatigue
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often
  • Irritability or anger

We all have times when our mood is low, when we’re feeling sad or miserable about life, and usually these feelings pass. But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression and you should consult your GP.

Mild depression doesn’t stop you leading a normal life but it can make everything an effort and you may lack a sense of purpose. When you’re depressed, it takes away your confidence and ability to feel in control and make rational decisions. Instead you tend to become focused on negative thoughts, forecasting the worst-case scenario, often leaving you feeling hopeless and unable to see a way out of the hole you feel you’re in.

At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel like giving up completely and can make you have suicidal thoughts, hence I strongly advise you to see your doctor.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Continually feeling down, upset or tearful
  • Restless, agitated intolerant or irritable
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, empty or numb
  • Unable to relate to other people
  • Getting no pleasure out of life or the things you normally enjoy
  • No self-confidence or self-esteem
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless or despairing
  • Considering self harm
  • Having suicidal thoughts
  • Avoiding social events
  • Having difficulty remembering or concentrating
  • Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • Have difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Having no appetite & losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight 

How I can help you

Hypnotherapy is known as an effective complementary therapy. Most people can use hypnotherapy in addition to other treatments for mental health problems to enhance an overall sense of well-being, lift mood, and create feelings of hopefulness.

A person with mental health issues may experience a wide variety of emotions. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be highly effective in helping in the management of these problems as it combines the power of psychotherapy and that of hypnosis. This combination of talking therapy and trance, can help target unwanted or unhealthy thoughts, habits and behaviours; aiming to replace them with positive thinking and healthier behaviours, by helping you focus on a better, brighter future. It can help you learn to reduce and/or give better control over feelings of anxiety, stress, and sadness.


Please Note:

If you are currently consulting your GP for depression or a personality disorder you should seek advice from them before undertaking hypnotherapy. The use of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy would not be advisable for anyone who has psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, or for someone who is using drugs or alcohol.

Paddy was very professional, explained things clearly and very easy to talk to! Since talking to Paddy I have been so much more positive, more confident, less stressed at the little things and even purchased a new car. (Which I thought I never would) I really do believe that was with the help from Paddy.
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