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What causes us to Repeat Unhelpful Habits and Thoughts?

Imagine … You are taking an enjoyable walk in the woods – the sun is shining, the sky is blue, it’s a beautiful day. Then suddenly you come across a rather large rock in your path with an adder curling around it. You freeze, your heart pounds, your palms begin to sweat – you experience a quick, automatic sequence of physical reactions. This reaction is fear. If you were to take that same walk again and you come across that same rock, a match may be made in the brain and the rock may elicit the fear response, even though the adder itself is nowhere to be found.

‘Pattern Matching’ is the formation of a template (behavioural pattern) in the brain when an event and aspects surrounding it are seen as having ‘life threatening’ potential. Whenever there is a match or potential match (the rock or even imagining snake) the Amygdala fires off an alarm reaction. Because this happens at a subconscious level the experience is often an incomprehensible state of alarm.

Through either repetition or a strong enough single event these patterns become locked into the ‘Primitive’ mind. Because you have survived, literally that you are still alive, your subconscious can see these patterns as successful and will keep them going. It won’t be very willing to change them, which is why people can repeat what seem to be destructive behaviour patterns.

In modern life, when our stress levels are high, due to excessive worrying, many people experience ‘fear states’ brought on by things, signposts or signals that stand for harm rather than things that are truly harmful – they are then encouraged to repeat sometimes inappropriate behavioural patterns/symptoms.

Solution Focussed Hypnotherapy helps to lower stress levels so the ‘Primitive’ mind opts out and we can choose how to deal with situations rather than react repeatedly in a manner which proves stressful to us.

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