Lifting the Lockdown Blues
Hands up who is struggling to get back into the swing of things as lock down measures start to ease?
Have you been enjoying elements of lockdown and are now dreading going back to “normal” life?
Don’t worry – you are not alone! So many of our clients and friends here at Inspired to Change are feeling conflicted as we start to come out of lockdown.
For some people the changes are happening too quickly for them and pushing them to go at a faster pace than they are comfortable with. For others they are raring to go and feeling held back by the restrictions still in place.
But many people are feeling somewhere in the middle – they want desperately to get back to feeling “normal” but something is holding them back, they feel a bit stuck, can’t get their motivation going.
So why are so many of us feeling stuck this way? Why on earth wouldn’t we want to get back to “normal”?
The conflict comes from the two key areas of our brain that are in control of how we respond to the events happening around us.
Whether we are in the middle of a pandemic or just deciding how to get through our “to-do” list we have two different options on how to respond.
Our intellectual, sensible, modern part of our brain makes a proper assessment of the situation. It weighs up the positives and the negatives of the situation, puts the information in front of us in to context, either with your own personal situation or the wider external situation. It goes back through your memory archives to see if there is any other useful information we could add in to the mix before it starts to create possible solutions. Often it will come up with a few different options and then help us to decide on the best way forward. All whilst remaining calm, unflappable and rational. And to reward us for our positive thinking and positive action our brain taps in to our internal reward system and delivers us a hit of our feel good hormone serotonin, which also makes us feel braver and more motivated to take another positive action and so the cycle continues building our confidence every step of the way.
Our primitive brain perceives the situation as threatening and steps in with its very limited responses of anxiety (over worrying and over analysing), anger (frustration and maybe a short fuse) or depression (let’s just avoid the whole situation, watch another episode of that box set and stay safe here in our bubble). Our primitive brain’s only job is to keep you safe and it can’t risk getting it wrong. So it tends to turn up the sensitivity dial on what it perceives as a threat just to make sure it doesn’t miss something vital. And all the news it’s been hearing has been telling it that there is something big and scary out there and the best thing to do right now is to stay safe here in our cave. It might be boring, we might not be having so much fun, earning so much money or planning for the future but it’s safe here, and for our primitive brain that is all that matters.
And whilst we are here, safe in our cave, we aren’t doing anything that triggers our internal reward system, so we get none of that lovely motivating serotonin that encourages us to step out of our comfort zone and do more. Even worse, if we are over worrying we may be producing an overflow of a different hormone, our stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol doesn’t just put us in a state of high alert and get us ready to run away (which, by the way, is a pretty exhausting state to be in all the time, which might be why you’re feeling so tired at the moment) but it also fogs our brain so we can’t think so clearly, it robs us of any precious serotonin we might have and worse still, prolonged release of cortisol can impact our physical health and immune system.
But did you know that the external situation is not what decides whether we go for option 1 or 2.
If you’ve ever seen paramedics at work you’ll see that regardless of the chaos and often frightening situations going on around them their response is clearly option 1. Whilst some of us go straight to option 2 just booking a holiday or doing something infinitely less life-threatening. So why is this?
Well, this primitive part of our brain really is primitive – it doesn’t understand our modern-day stresses so it tends to just presume anything we are worrying about has big teeth and scary claws, no matter how trivial! And it’s the volume of worrying thoughts that turns the sensitivity dial-up in our primitive brain. The more we worry the bigger it perceives the danger to be and the more likely it is to set those alarm bells ringing, keeping us stuck in that place of fear.
And these feelings aren’t unique to lockdown. Here at Inspired to Change these feelings of being stuck, of wanting to move forward but not wanting to move out of our safe space is something we help our clients with all the time so we are used to helping people turn down that primitive brain sensitivity dial and help them take Option 1 more often so that they can move forward.
Why is Solution Focused Hypnotherapy so brilliant at this?
The way we work is designed to allow your brain to go at your pace, guiding and supporting your brain to come up with its own solutions. People often think this means that progress is slower but far from it! By working in this way your brain is on board with the solutions it came up with itself – that means it’s always going to come up with a solution it feels happy to undertake. It’s never going to push you so far out of your comfort zone that you don’t want to give it a try. And our brain gains confidence from every positive action we take, setting a strong foundation for it to take the next step forward and the next. So progress with our clients is often quicker as our brain gains confidence that there really isn’t anything scary out there waiting to attack us, and the more we do the more we want to do. It’s a wonderfully positive cycle that is amazing to watch as our clients gain more and more momentum in their lives.
So, if you’d like to know more about how solution-focused hypnotherapy could help to lift those lockdown blues why not book in for a FREE initial consultation with one of our Inspired to Change Associates? Inspired to Change hypnotherapist. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Essex, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Somerset.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
To find out how you can train as a solution-focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information
Or you can check out our Top Tips to Lifting the Lockdown blues here.