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Community, COVID-19

Why You Need a Mental Health Routine

Hypnotherapy is a versatile tool especially effective at helping people deal with stress, anxiety and depression.

Why You Need a Mental Health Routine
Despite its ability to facilitate powerful healing processes, hypnotherapy is surrounded by myths.

The COVID-19 pandemic took a momentous toll on the mental well-being of millions of people worldwide. It deprived them of many things that provide relief and mental rejuvenation, such as vacations, celebrations and basic social interaction. As a result, essential workers had difficulty finding an outlet for their stresses and worries, and they felt the pressure to maintain a brave face through one of the toughest periods of their lives.

For veterinary professionals, the thought that the eyes of the world were on human medicine is understandable, but the pandemic stretched clinic teams in many of the same ways. One report spoke of emergency animal hospitals seeing wait times of up to eight hours and appointments booked up to six weeks out. Others pointed to dogs waiting five-plus weeks for urgent chemotherapy.

Veterinary practice is an emotionally demanding vocation on the best of days. A 2018 Merck Animal Health study found that 50% of veterinarians with mental illness were not receiving treatment. The study identified high student loan debt, stress, depression, compassion fatigue, anxiety, burnout and suicide as critically important issues.

Feeling as though other people have it worse is easy, but what’s crucial is remembering that your worries, stresses and mental health needs are valid. During physically and mentally demanding days, establishing a mental health routine is essential to ensure that your mind and well-being are looked after in the long term.

The Body’s Mysterious Organ

Most processes in our body unfold below the radar of consciousness. You do not control your digestion, heart rate or breathing patterns consciously; your body self-regulates. Similarly, if you tend to catastrophize, you do not choose to do it consciously; an event triggers a series of negative thoughts and physical symptoms, such as faster breathing and sweaty hands. The brain remains a mysterious organ, but research is shedding more light on its functions and the benefits of self-care practices such as hypnosis.

Despite its ability to facilitate powerful healing processes, hypnotherapy is surrounded by myths that cloud the general understanding of this medically approved technique. The misconceptions about hypnosis have deprived many people who needed safe and efficient mental health solutions. Potential patients fear they will lose control or fall asleep, or perhaps just view the whole practice with skepticism.

The reality is that many of us experience episodes of hypnosis in everyday life without realizing it. If you have ever driven from points A to B and cannot recall the journey, you were in a state of what is called highway hypnosis. While completely in control, you settled into a trancelike state. Adults also can go into a state of hypnosis when they are hyperfocused on the task at hand or a monotonous daily routine.

Calming and Strengthening

Hypnotherapy is a versatile tool that is especially effective at helping people deal with stress, anxiety and depression. During the process, a hypnotherapist helps a person relax and enter a state of focused awareness. Then, suggestions are shared.

Researchers have found that in such a state, subtle suggestions can alter the way someone views and responds to external stimuli. Hypnosis allows more openness to new ideas and more beneficial ways of thinking. Its powerful potential is being realized now more than ever as hypnotherapists can record self-hypnosis audios for people to listen to at their convenience and integrate into their routines when they are in a safe, comfortable space.

For people with poor mental health, one of the most beneficial things is to dedicate a small part of the day to calming and strengthening the mind. While anxiety and depression are different conditions, they often go hand in hand. Not only can these conditions affect one’s day-to-day mental well-being, but they also can play a role in heart disease, addiction, strokes and cancer.

Your subconscious mind creates filters to speed your response to external stimuli, but it doesn’t always work correctly. Mistakes in automatic responses can trigger anxiety and irrational emotions. Prolonged anxiety can lead to depression. Hypnosis audios aim to interrupt the automatic responses that mire you in negative mindsets and then upgrade these subconscious patterns. Over time, the subconscious can become a supportive and positive partner to help process and deal with daily triggers.

Better Sleep, Reduced Burnout

Sleep disorders are a common side effect of depression and anxiety. The symptoms, paired with long, emotionally demanding workdays, can leave you tossing and turning at night, unable to get the rest you desperately need. Hypnosis can be extremely effective in making the default-mode network and sensory inputs less active. So, rather than programming you into falling asleep, as the myths might have you believe, hypnosis helps tune out the negative chatter of stress and anxiety and promotes a deeper, more rejuvenating sleep.

As for burnout, hypnosis can help tackle the collective symptoms — emotional, physical and mental exhaustion — by assisting people out of their work mindset and into a calmer state. Switching off the challenges you faced today can be incredibly difficult, but hypnosis can help you reach a state where the mind is clear and calm. Paired with better sleep, reduced stress levels and a clearer mind, it can help tackle the problems that feel impossible and intimidating in the moment.

Each person’s mental health practice will look different, but not knowing where to start can make it a daunting task. Mental health issues can be crippling and lead to feelings of hopelessness.

Hypnosis is a powerful solution because it facilitates the opportunity to step away for a moment and allows the subconscious mind to do the work for a short while.

These unprecedented times continue to be challenging for everyone. Just remember who is in control of your mind. Allow yourself the time to practice making your mind better and healthier every day.

Christine Deschemin is a certified clinical hypnotherapist with an MBA from Harvard Business School. She created the self-hypnosis app UpNow and founded the Renewed Edge Hypnotherapy Centre. She has helped athletes, executives and entrepreneurs overcome emotional and behavioral challenges.


DOES IT WORK?

A Mayo Clinic article posted at mayocl.in/3h1Zi4b stated that “Hypnotherapy can be an effective method for coping with stress and anxiety. … Hypnosis conducted by a trained therapist or health care professional is considered a safe, complementary and alternative medical treatment.”

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