We all have had times in our lives when we feel down, glum, sad, dispirited and dejected. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t feel these emotions. Thankfully though we are also capable of feeling happiness, joy, elation and delight. If we can feel the later emotions more frequently than the former, we find we have the ability to cope well with our everyday lives. Using hypnosis for depression can help to bring a sense of balance. It can down the emotional parts of the brain and create a positive hormonal balance.
Hypnosis for depression – The solution-focused approach
I believe the happiest and most content people in this world are not the ones with the biggest bank accounts. They are the ones who are able to cope well with daily life. The tragic suicides of the rich and famous such as; Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe and more recently Caroline Flack would seem to support this way of thinking.
I believe the ability to bounce back from a bad day or even week is vital for our overall mental health and wellbeing. Hypnosis for depression is a natural and holistic approach that enables people to find relief from their symptoms of depression.
Solution-focused hypnotherapy uses a combination of psychotherapy and hypnosis. Hypnotherapy offers a way to equip people with the tools necessary for them to move forward with their lives.
Whilst we are not born with anxiety or depression we are born with a negative threat-based brain. The emotional part of our brain has evolved over millions of years. It’s commonly referred to as the limbic system. It’s a very simple, survival-based brain. Interestingly you’ll find the same structure in a rat. It’s our lookout brain. It’s constantly scanning for danger. It helps to protect us from it by activating our fight/flight response.
Unfortunately, it is said to have the intelligence of a 4-5-year-old child. It’s like giving a reception aged child a panic button and telling them only to use it in times of emergency. To an emotional toddler, someone pushing in front of them in a line can cause them to hit the panic button.
So what happens when the panic button is hit? Our bodies get flooded with stress hormones which then have the effect of increasing our breathing rate and heart rate. We prepare to run or fight. It’s an unconscious response which is designed to help us survive. If it was only used in times of real emergency, then it would be a fabulous thing to have. Don’t forget though we have left a toddler in charge of its use.
There is no ‘break glass in times of emergency’ cover to this panic button, so it can be activated at will. The negative emotional part of our brain will very often get things wrong; job deadlines, diets, social media angst, unpaid bills and fallouts with friends all set off our panic button.
As a result, we find our bodies flooded with stress hormones with nowhere for them to go. We don’t have to use them up running from or fighting a foe. Just like an unwelcome lodger they make themselves feel at home.
It’s a false alarm!
Once this panic button is hit, there is an instant response. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to instantly deactivate it. There is no one shouting ‘Stand down, stand down, false alarm’. I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where the fire alarm has been activated. Sirens are wailing as someone in a fluorescent jacket directs us to a meeting point.
We soon find ourselves joined by the rest of the disgruntled occupants of the building. The whole process is long and drawn out. It’s only when we’re standing in the car park on a cold rainy January morning that we find out that John from accounts burnt his toast. Bloody John.
So it is with our stress response. Once it’s activated we remain on high alert for an extended period of time. More stress hormones are produced which make us feel jittery and on edge. We’ve upset the equilibrium our body loves. Our brains would hope to supply us with a whole range of hormones.
However, just like a pharmacist, they will only deliver the chemicals requested. This is where Solution Focused Hypnotherapy for depression can be so beneficial. By helping you to reframe your thoughts and focus on the more positive aspects of your life it can redress the chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s a mind and body approach to treating depression through improving mental health and wellbeing.
Serotonin – A hormone with superpowers
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that gives us the power to influence our mood and control our thinking. It is a mood regulator, it gives us feelings of well-being, mental focus and clarity and happiness. Hence the reason for the nickname the happy hormone. It also positively impacts sleep, digestion, bone health and communication in the nervous system.
Though it’s labelled as our happy hormone it might be more correctly labelled as our coping one. Unless it’s chemically stimulated serotonin doesn’t often make us feel euphoric. It does help us to feel that ‘we’ve got this’. It provides us with the confidence to know that whatever life throws at us we have the ability to cope and bounce back.
For our ancestors it was vital. It helped them to cope with the harsh unforgiving environment in which they lived. They were rewarded with serotonin when they hunted and gathered, built shelter, ate and interacted with their tribe. It helped to relieve pain, made them braver and gave them confidence.
Serotonin – The thinking hormone
Increasing the flow of serotonin helps us to access the part of our brain responsible for problem-solving behaviour. Our intellectual brain. This part of our brain is amazing at finding solutions to our problems, it’s rational, logical and creative and usually very positive.
It’s clear to see how important serotonin is for our mental and physical wellbeing. If you are depressed, then it’s probable that you are not currently producing enough serotonin to lift your mood. This can feel like a dark cloud is always following you. At this point you probably really don’t feel like doing anything, just existing is hard enough.
Hypnotherapy sessions for depression can help you to lift your mood and help you to change the part of your brain that is currently driving your thinking.
As we know when we are depressed we don’t produce sufficient levels of serotonin to help us to cope well with daily life. As a result, we think from the negative, emotional part of our brain that has the wisdom of ourselves on our first day of school. To access the more intelligent, problem-solving parts of our brain we need serotonin. It quietens down our stress response so we don’t produce as many damaging stress hormones.
Once we are able to think from our intellectual cortex then the world seems a much more positive place to live. As we’re better able to think with clarity, we allow our negative threat-based emotional brain to do its job of looking out for real danger. Catastrophizing stops. We’ve effectively taken the panic button from the toddler’s hand. Instead, we’ve mounted it on the wall and surrounded it with a cover. It can’t be accidentally pressed.
How do we increase our levels of serotonin?
Our flow of serotonin is stopped by the abundance of stress hormones that are produced when we are stressed and anxious. We struggle to produce serotonin when we are feeling low and don’t engage in positive actions or interactions throughout our day.
There are things that we can do to naturally increase our serotonin levels. In addition to stress reduction medical research has shown that psychotherapy, exposure to natural light, exercise and a healthy diet can all raise levels of serotonin.
How does hypnosis for depression help?
Hypnosis or trance is a natural problem solving, relaxed state that we go into many times during the course of a normal day. You may have drifted off and gone into trance at several points when reading this article. During this trance state, your stress response is calmed. In fact, it is only during hypnosis or during your REM sleep that your supply of noradrenaline is completely shut off.
After hypnosis, when you come back to full consciousness there is a wonderful sense of calmness.
The light hypnosis that is experienced during Solution Focused Hypnotherapy mimics REM sleep. It’s a natural relaxation technique. It’s also known as our dream state. It’s only when our supply of noradrenaline has been shut off that we are able to effectively access parts of our brain that help us to visualise and problem solve. We produce the right conditions for our brains to help us achieve our goals.
What happens during Solution Focused Hypnotherapy for depression?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy combines psychotherapy and hypnosis and is very forward-thinking. It also uses beneficial elements of cognitive behavioural therapy. There is no need to analyse the past. Questions are focused on how you would like to think, feel and act in the future. As you are thinking of answers you build up a picture in your mind of your preferred future. How you would like to be when you are living without depression.
By using hypnosis after you have built up this picture in your mind, you allow your brain to work out ways in which to help you make this desired future a reality. Hypnotherapy can be a really effective form of treatment for depression without the risk of side effects that some medicines carry.
During your hypnotherapy for depression sessions, you will be helped to reframe your thoughts. Your brain has an amazing ability to develop and change. You become your own brain surgeon building up new positive pathways and connections in your brain. By focusing on the more positive aspects of your life, you can completely change your way of thinking.
Within the space of a few weeks, through the process of unconscious bias, you will expect positive things to be part of your daily life.
Focusing on the more positive aspects of your life helps you to increase your levels of serotonin. By lowering the number of stress hormones you produce and helping you to increase your levels of ‘happy hormones’ you allow yourself to reach homeostasis. Allowing you to cope and then thrive.
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