The exams period is starting and for some that means nerves, worry, disturbed sleep and eating patterns. If your nerves get the better of you and anxiety takes over, you may actually sit down and find your mind goes blank. You know you know the answer but the anxiety is causing a cloud making it difficult or even impossible to recall. The more you “try” to remember, the more anxiety you suffer.
But it does not have to be this way.
There is a well-known phenomenon in psychology - known as state-dependent memory. The state you are in determines what you can remember. If you are in a very different state to when you learned, it is hard to recall things.
If you are very anxious, your brain is simply in the wrong state for thinking!
Hypnosis helps by putting you in the right ‘state’ to learn and teaching you how to recall that state when the exam is about to begin.
In hypnotic trance, many situations seem different somehow. Things that were causing fear or phobic response lose their hold. Situations which caused panic such as speaking in public, attending interviews, giving important sales presentations all seem, well easier. By learning to relax at a very deep mental and physical level, the unconscious mind learns a new way to respond, a new behaviour in response to a trigger. It is the same with looking at exams. It is all too easy to say, “Don’t worry, you’ll do fine” to someone who is anxious. Consciously, we might know we have the ability but it is the unconscious which is sending negative signals. All permanent change has to happen at the unconscious level and that is where hypnosis beats visualizations, affirmations and lots of other techniques. By quickly accessing the unconscious mind, hypnosis brings the desired result.
Mental rehearsal in hypnotic trance of an exam, a test, an interview, giving a presentation or a speech just makes the event seem more manageable without any need for anxiety. Of course, a few butterflies in the stomach or positive stress can actually improve the performance.
Anyone with an IQ over 70 can be hypnotized and children over the age of 7 respond very well to the whole world of imagery and relaxation.
An 11 year old boy came to see me who was under a lot of pressure at one of England’s top public schools where the fees cost many thousands of pounds per year. He was failing in many subjects yet his parents knew he could achieve so much more. He sat in my “magic chair”, listened to my description of a visual journey and in a relaxed state, overcame the exams anxiety.
Last year an 18 year old girl came to see me with restless fidgeting, stress, sleeping and eating disorders, severe anxiety over her upcoming exams and to top it all, she was cutting herself: self-mutilation. This was quite a package of problems but after only three sessions, she sat calmly still, she was sleeping and eating as normal, the self-cutting had stopped and she coped very well with her exams. She passed every subject with even higher grades than her teachers had predicted.
Hypnosis helps people to be calm about exams but also tests such as driving tests and oral interviews.
Remember, “the past does not equal the future”. Just because you have suffered from anxiety in the past does not mean you have to do so in the future. Ask my clients who have overcome severe fear of flying! It is a fairly quick process to reverse the years of negative conditioning and expectation with a positive, calm approach.
© Antonia Harrison 2011. Antonia Harrison is the English Hypnotherapist in Belgium and helps people make positive change in their life through hypnotherapy and NLP.