Hypnotherapy Associates Blog

Oct 2011
  • Hypnotherapy helps with study and exam stress


    by on Wed 26 Oct 2011 15:29:26 GMT

    The Telegraph 23 October 2011 link here

    I recently wrote a response in the Telegraph on Sunday to a reader’s question about how to help with feeling stressed and depressed around studying in the final year of a PHD.  I would like to expand on that response here:

    Studying over a period of time can take its’ toll on health, both physically and emotionally.  Most of the time during studying we tend to eat the wrong foods, not exercise as much as we would like and also spend large amounts of time in relative isolation, reading and writing to try to take in information, either in preparation for an exam or writing a final thesis. Generally, the material we are studying is fairly serious stuff, along with large amounts of time alone, neither of these things are ‘serotonin’ producing.  Serotonin is known as the ‘happy’ chemical in the body.  It is produced from laughter, positive thoughts, exercise and certain foods.  When we are depleted of this chemical we can become depressed and start to lack energy and focus. Also, the pressure of ‘needing’ to pass exams and/or finalise a thesis, can cause negative thinking i.e. ‘if I don’t pass this exam / degree / doctorate etc I’ll never get a good job, so I’ll be poor’ etc etc..  This negative thinking if repeated enough can begin to produce the chemical ‘cortisol’.  If we produce enough cortisol over a period of time, this weakens the immune system so we feel less energetic and can be linked to a susceptibility to depression.  Learning self-hypnosis can help to alleviate stress and depression around exams and final years, firstly, learning self hypnosis to bring about relaxation will reduce physical stress and thus cortisol production, but also changing negative thinking to more positive, empowering thoughts can help to increase serotonin production.  Part of hypnosis is also utilising our ability to visualise, this can be useful to visualise a positive outcome, for example, visualising exams going well and/or a positive future beyond ‘final years’, so the mind can move from a short term focus to a longer term, positive one.  The ‘unconscious mind’ doesn’t differentiate between fact and fiction so by visualising a positive outcome, the body will correspond as if it is reality and produce the relevant chemicals associated with those thoughts – positive thoughts = serotonin!

    I see many clients for stress and fears around exams and studying. The teaching of self-hypnosis is just part of the therapy I utilise with my clients.  I also assess their study methods, this is how they take in information and recall it.  This can be adapted to suit each individual’s character and can make a real difference to passing exams or not.  We all have different ways of taking in information and recalling it, if you learn how you do this, you can study in a style that stores the information in the right way, not the wrong way! I will also help a client by removing any ‘unconscious’ fears which maybe acting as a barrier to focusing and feeling confident studying and passing qualifications.

    If you feel you are not performing as well as you could in your studies and need some help boosting your confidence and relieving any stress, hypnotherapy could be the answer your are looking for.

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