Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 – Avoiding Anxiety with NLP & Hypnosis

I wonder if you know that it’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

I had no idea until somebody else told me, although I work in the well-being trade and yet The Mental Health Foundation note:

  • Mental health issues are a causal factor in diseases
  • Behavioural problems including depression, anxiety contribute to disability in adults under 30
  • Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability and a major contributor of  suicide and heart disease

And it’s estimated that each week as many as 1 in 6 people will experience a common mental health problem, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders

No two people are affected in the same way by any of these problems, but hypnosis and NLP can be part of the solution whatever the problem.

Approximately 70% of my clients present with some form of Anxiety, so in this blog I define anxiety and share why the power of the breath [deep breathing] is a simple part of the solution and some of the reasons why Neuro-linguistic Programming [NLP] and Clinical Hypnotherapy are key to overcoming those unconscious behaviours that cause those unwanted feelings.


According to the charity MIND, anxiety disorders can be classified into 9 main sub-types:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder [GAD]
  • Panic disorder – sudden attacks of intense terror
  • Phobias – irrational fears and avoidance of a particular object or situation
  • Social anxiety – fear of being judged negatively by others
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder – compulsive thoughts that lead to compulsive actions
  • Health anxiety – obsessing about health issues and researching reasons the reasons
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder – anxiety and possibly flashbacks caused by past trauma

And all these start with a known or unknown trigger, such as the thought of speaking to an audience. It could be a smell or even a sound that triggers the anxiety response and you may not even be conscious of it. Oftentimes, clients tell me that their unwanted feelings [increased heart rate, panic attack, shaking or trembling, for example] “…just come out of the blue!” This is because we’re hard wired to keep safe and
your body will automatically go into “fight or flight” whenever there’s a threat. That’s fine if you need to escape or fight a major threat [a critical incident or attack] , but when the adrenals fire off adrenaline and cortisol for what appears to be “no reason” or for an activity like entering a lift that most other people take in their stride, it’s a different story…

Anxiety is like a false alarm! For example, you think or worry about doing the thing you fear [leaving the house, speaking to an audience, performing on stage or someone gives you a sideways look] and the adrenals and heart start pumping, and you enter a state of fight or flight, even though there’s no predator in the bushes or any significant threat to worry about. But, consciously or unconsciously, the unwanted feelings and symptoms happen all the same.

When clients come to see me, I ask them to share with me how anxiety works for them.

We then find solutions by:

  • Reducing the physiological responses – reducing and/or eliminating the feelings
  • Identifying the triggers and find ways to flip the clients focus

The great thing about hypnosis is that it supports a calm default mode. This helps you to activate the parasympathetic nervous system [rest and digest or the opposite of fight or flight] so that you can learn to stay calm, even when the challenge used to be high.

The Power of the Breath

“Keep Calm and Breathe” was a phrase coined by Britain’s propaganda department during the second world war and here’s why…

Deep breathing is a solution for stress and anxiety because deep slow breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and this in turn lowers the heartbeat. You can achieve this quickly by making sure that the outbreath is longer than the inbreath.

You can do this by…

Breathing in for a count of 4… and breathing out for a count of 7


In for a count of 7… and out for a count of 11.

Flipping the Focus

Dr. Richard Bandler, co-creator of NLP notes

When you change how you think, you change how you feel and change what you CAN do.

Summing up, anxiety is caused by an unconscious trigger or by worrying about a future event like sitting an exam, entering a lift or that fear that initiates those unwanted feelings for you.

Anxiety results in unwanted physiological symptoms such as a panic attack and a great way to take back control are to:

  1. Think differently: Working with an NLP Practitioner with help you to change how your thinking, so that you can ultimately think on purpose and achieve more. Flipping a negative thought to a positive thought will affect your emotional and physical state for the better.
  2. Learn how to induce calm and maintain a calm default mode – You can do this by controlling your breath as described above.

Finally, and most importantly NLP and Clinical Hypnotherapy are key because the thoughts that trigger anxiety become habitual. They happen once, fear is induced and thereafter people worry or obsess that they’ll happen again, and they do because you’ve inadvertently planned for it.

When you work with a mindset coach who has NLP and Hypnosis in their toolkit, they can support you to work directly with the unconscious, in trance, so that you can train your brain to do the positive behaviours that you want to instead – whether that’s calmly stepping onto a stage or an aeroplane, remembering past trauma without the unwanted physical response or whatever the change is that you seek.

About Tanya Bunting

Tanya is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer, and Student Liaison Lead for the International College of Clinical Hypnotherapy. She works flexibly as a therapist, coach, teacher/trainer in her hometown [Bournemouth] and wherever else her skills and interests take her.

Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is not not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of you GP or other qualified healthcare advisor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have seen on a website.