Throughout the last 14 months, Coronavirus has spread across the globe, and daily stress levels have risen to new heights. Leicestershire based Clinical Hypnotherapist Emma Jane from EM Wellbeing, is doing her bit to help people cope.

Emma has compiled a free download designed to help people deal with the daily uncertainties they are facing about the virus and the roadmap forward. Studies have shown that facing uncertainty is often scarier than facing physical pain.

The human brain has developed an aversion to uncertainty. It is a carry-over from our inherent “fight-or-flight” reaction to threat. In our constant quest for certainty in our lives, we are wired to “catastrophise” – to view a given situation as worse than it actually is.

And this leads to worry, which in turn leads to anxiety.

“For many of us who have never experienced events that have an enormous impact on everyday lives, these are unprecedented times,” Emma said. “Some people may already suffer with low-level anxiety and have found their symptoms have ramped up; others might be feeling new physical and psychological strains for the first time.”

The lack of answers to questions raised by the current uncertainty – “What will happen?”, “What is in the future for us?”, “What if my livelihood is threatened?” – can lead to frustration, anger and aggression.

Emma says: “Awareness is the key. It is our superpower.”
She suggests that feelings of uncertainty can be mitigated by the following:
Be conscious of the “worry story” you tell yourself – and try to distance yourself from it; Focus on breathing – take long, slow breaths, breathing in for the count of 7 and out for the count of 11;
Recognise the need to rise above “fight-or-flight”;
Accept the uncertainty – and allow yourself to stop the struggle against it
Above all, focus on the positives, the solutions, small goals and the little steps you can take going forward.

“Having previously struggledwith my own anxieties, I am now focused and driven to help people to cope with and reduce their anxiety. The techniques I teach my clients, whatever the trigger for their condition, can also be applied successfully in this current pandemic. I’d encourage anyone who is feeling stressed or anxious, whether they are directly affected by Coronavirus or are just generally worried about it, to download my session and see if it helps.”

The 25-minute English-language audio recording simply requires the listener to be settled in a safe, quiet space, where they can fully engage with Emma’s soothing words.

Emma added: “Even just taking 25 minutes out of your day to focus on yourself, rather than the latest news update, can help you regain a sense of balance and focus. It’s all about relaxing your mind, deflecting the negative thoughts, and replacing them with calm, positive ones.”

She advises people to schedule a ‘worry window’, so they can better manage any negative thoughts and feelings by containing them in a predetermined time slot, and free up the rest of their day by banishing intrusive thoughts.

“To some degree it’s natural to worry, and we all do it – it’s how our brain handles problems or potential problems,” Emma explained. “But it stops being useful if we become stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts about things that are out of our control. We should instead focus on those things within our control, and how we choose to respond to them.”

One such way people have been trying to exercise control and diminish their worries is by the unhelpful practice of ‘panic-buying’ goods, such as hand sanitiser and toilet roll. Emma puts this down to an overload of the ‘fight-or-flight’ response that’s hardwired into our DNA and is being further fuelled by images of empty shelves in the media, and on social media.

She added: “It’s an exaggeration of a natural reaction – we think we’re fighting for our survival. Suddenly, certain items take on much greater significance than usual and just possessing them seems to calm our fears, that is until the next bout of fear takes hold about a different ‘essential’ item.

“This pandemic has many repercussions beyond the actual virus. One is the potential impact on mental health and wellbeing as people try to manage an increasingly stressful situation.

And if I can help ease that stress in just a small way, I believe it’s worthwhile trying.” To request a copy of Emma’s download, visit https://www.emwellbeing.org/hypnotherapy-in-leicester/